Tuesday 8 February 2022



I confess, for the past few years I've been lazy, and I've used shop-bought mincemeat. Seduced in part by the interesting-sounding additions advertised on the labels, no doubt. And I did the same again, this year, last time we were in London, before Christmas. Except that the security gremlins at the airport intervened, and my jars of whisky-laced mincemeat were all seized as being a security risk. Apparently because it is 'spreadable', and anything 'spreadable' constitutes a terrorist threat. Go figure...

Even more debatable, though, was their reaction when I suggested that the security cohort might enjoy digging into the stuff, now it was safely in their possession. "Oh, no," I was told. "It all gets sent to the local food-bank - we don't keep it." 

So...it risks blowing up a 737...but, it seems that it's fine to feed it to the poor? (Or, could it be, maybe, that they recognise that it represents no risk to security whatsoever, and that it's a question of just slavishly and witlessly following rules which even the security mavens know have no practical application? Yet another reason to despair...)

Anyway. I'd promised a batch of mince pies, as usual, for a seasonal gift, and so I had to get on and make some. To the following recipe:


750g mixed dried fruit and peel

175g suet

zest of 1 lemon, juice of half lemon

250g brown sugar

half tsp nutmeg

2 medium apples (peeled and grated)

100 ml (plus a bit more, if the mixture can take it) brandy


Mix everything together. Pack into sterilised jars, and keep at least for a week before using it.

Doing the sights...


Can be exhausting...

Tonight's dinner:

Salad of Beetroot, Feta, and chickpeas

Poached salmon; buttered spinach

Apple-Vanilla- Calvados Tarts