Saturday, 8 December 2012

Food Waste Friday - Christmassy things #3

This week I'm blaming my lack of height for all food waste issues.

I'm 5'2", and our fridge is at least a foot taller than me.

When I gaze into the fridge, it's no wonder that bowls like the one on the right, get overlooked. They're practically out of reach. A bowl of leftover salad and a bowl of leftover tuna pasta both hid on the top shelf. I've said it before, but still forget sometimes: transparent containers for leftovers are the best idea. It's much harder to forget about them that way. And to that I am adding my own proviso (if you're taller than me, you may not need this clause!): keep leftovers that need eating up quickly at eye level where they won't be out of sight, out of mind.

The good news is that the yogurt in the photo is nearly all used up, so no need for baking chocolate yogurt cake this week.

And whilst not all my Christmas plans may be coming together as quickly as I'd like them to, some mincemeat has been made (that's the big jar next to the yogurt.)

Usually, in true Everyday Life On A Shoestring style, I make the mincemeat recipe up as I go along, with stewed apple as a base, and a combination of dried fruit, and seasonal spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves or mixed spice, depending on what's in the cupboard at the time.

This year I decided to follow a recipe in case I wanted to share it on the blog. Rose Elliot is one of my favourite vegetarian cooks, and I always refer to her Vegetarian Christmas book at some point over the festive season. My copy is a no-nonsense, battered old paper back with a few colour photos in the centre pages. So I looked to Rose for a trusty mincemeat recipe. 

The verdict from the cook's point of view is that her recipe is very easy to make; it pretty much makes itself once you've thrown the ingredients together. But my taste testers report that although the fruit is succulent, and the flavour delicious, it lacks the gooey mush that they like around the fruit (despite the 450g of pears in the recipe). I reckon I will still add some stewed apple when it comes to making mince pies, which, from a frugal point of view, will have the advantage of stretching the more expensive ingredients further.

Rose Elliot's vegetarian mincemeat

450g ripe pears, peeled and chopped
grated rind of 1 lemon
grated rind of 1 orange
450g mixed dried fruit
100g mixed peel
100g glace cherries, halved
100g chopped dates
50g flaked almonds
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 tbls whisky

(I replaced the mixed peel and cherries with raisins and cranberries, which I had left over from the Christmas pudding making, and substituted brandy for the whisky).

Mix all the ingredients except the whisky together in a large bowl, and set to one side for 12 hours.

Cook the mincemeat in a covered bowl in a cool oven (120 degrees C, Gas Mark 1/4) for 3 hours. Cool and stir from time to time, then add the whisky. Store in an airtight jar until ready to use.

The recipe says it makes 1kg, enough to make 25 pies - I made 1 large jar and 2 normal sized jars; the smaller jars are in the freezer, as I may not use it all before Christmas.

Food Waste Friday was dreamt up by, to encourage people to use up food instead of waste it. This week you can find Food Waste Friday hosted by 
Simply Being Mum.


  1. Hi Sarah,
    So when you make mincemeat pie, is it one large 2 crusted pie? I've never had mincemeat before, but my mom would make a couple of small ones every year, when I was a child. I didn't care for the animal fat that was in the ingredients on the jarred stuff she'd buy. Do you know how long will the mince meat keep in the fridge, if the jars are not sealed?

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. What other ways have you had mincemeat that you liked? (Looking for holiday ideas here)

    1. That's a lot of answers to fit in one comment - I'll do you a blog post on it very soon! xx

  2. Do you have your freezer on the bottom? I'm taller than you and I have problems with things on the lower shelves getting lost in the back. I never liked mincemeat growing up, but maybe this new version would be better without the animal parts as Lili said.