Thursday 12 December 2019

Xmas is A Coming and the Pigs are Getting Fat

We don't eat geese here but pork is always centre on the  fiesta table. While others are fattening the pigs I am doing my own preparations for Christmas.




Pickled onions finished today.  They'll be perfect by Christmas.  We dont get tiny onions here so these are quite large.  Not a problem.

1 kilo of onions
Pickled in 1 litre of homemade wine vinegar
and
250 grams of local thyme honey

Heat the vinegar gently till the honey is melted.  Squash the onions into jars and pour over the vinegar.  Add pepper flakes or herbs as you wish.  This makes 4 quite large jars.  I put some baking paper over the top of the onions and this keeps them under the vinegar and not floating above the liquid.




And homemade Christmas mincemeat, fruit mince for those who don't know this english tradition.  In the colonies our traditions were the traditions of Mother England, back then anyway.   Things have changed since my childhood however.  No longer do the 'colonists' eat a hot, filling English Xmas dinner.  Salads and BBQs seem popular, logical considering it is summer in Australia and NZ.
My last Christmas dinner in NZ must have been in 1986 when we returned for a family reunion, at the beach.

Mincemeat is unavailable here in Greece, naturally enough.  I think there is a Marks and Spencers food hall somewhere in Athens which may stock such a thing at this time of the year but Athens is an urban jungle, far far away from my island.

Mincemeat is quite easy to make and I do so every year, freezing any that remains for the following Xmas.  This year the frozen remains were only half a small bowl so I did some shopping and searched the fridge and shelves and made a very pleasing new supply of xmas mince.

Thanks to Google and Youtube anything can be discovered and replicated, as long as you have the ingredients.  

I used  
blackcurrants and sultanas (both greek)
a good dollop of leftover quince jam
half a jar of chopped tomatoes preserved in sugar syrup*
some white sugar
2 grated apples
a good dollop of leftover orange marmelade
a packet of  candied orange peel I found at Lidls
A handful of pumpkin seeds
cinnamon, ginger and cloves
about a hundred grams of margarine
a couple of shots of whisky
a glass of orange juice

I just simmered all this till the margarine melted and the raisins and sultanas plumped up a little with the liquid and it was ready.

*Here in Greece anything can be made into a sweet. Cherry tomatoes and small aubergines are not unusual. No one in our house wants to eat them, including me. They still taste like tomatoes to me. Half the jar went into the mincemeat and the other half into the Xmas cakes

I really have no idea how it compares to mincemeat from a jar sold in Tesco's or Waitrose in England but it tastes darn good to me.

I make my own short pastry and have little xmas mince pies for all the holiday period.



My pies always look very rustic no matter how hard I try.  I have found the perfect size mug and glass to cut out rounds which fit exactly into my pattie pans but no matter how careful I am and how much I try to place them exactly and form pleasing little pies they always come out wonky.  Icing sugar covers a multitude of sins and no one has ever complained so I'm not sweating about it.  Wonkiness is my speciality.

Next will be the Christmas cakes.  



21 comments:

  1. I think your mincemeat will be tons better than any shop bought stuff that is probably packed with E-numbers. And the rustic mince pies look very edible to me!

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    1. They were very edible! Greek husband loves them. I'll be making another batch very soon

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  2. Does matter a whit, how a dessert looks! It's how it tastes, that counts!!!! -smile-

    I used to be able to get Mincemeat Pie Filling in a jar, at our grocery store. But this year, I had to send away for some. I'd never know how to make it, as I never experienced 'the real thing.'

    The _name_ puts a lot of people off, here. But my husband loves it. I like it too, but can't eat my pie crust.

    Guess the best way, is to refer to it, as "Mince Fruit" pie. -smile- For the faint of heart.

    "Good King Wenceslas looked out
    On the feast of Stephen,
    When the snow lay round about
    Deep and crisp and even."

    ♬ đŸŽ¶ ♫

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    1. Mince fruit. Yes that's what it is. Darn nice!

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  3. I would like some of those pickles. We bought some in Aldi the other day.

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    1. I was in lidls the other looking for cider and something else youentioned. Not available here darn it. Certainly no pickled onions. I got gherkins instead

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  4. The pickled onion and mincemeat look so good. The wonky tarts look delicious and I'm sure, tasted delicious!

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    1. I was a bit worried about the taste with all those leftover ingredients but they were delish.

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  5. I love it that you claim wonkiness as your specialty! When I make biscuits I deliberately make them all different sizes so that they don't look store-bought. I think homemade should look a bit rustic and it ALWAYS tastes better :)

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    1. Ha, you've caught on! Whether knitting or cooking or creating anything by myself it is never like the photos in the magazine. Wonkiness is indeed my speciality, but only the appearance.

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  6. Nothing wrong with Wonkiness
    Your really clever making your own. Well done xx

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    1. I have an English friend who lives mince pies so it's nice to give her some and enjoy them together. Same for the pickled onions

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  7. I can't get my usual 'pickling onions' this year, so have had to use Shallots. They're OK, but not the same. I've also done pickled Cauliflower with Turmeric, and will do Red Cabbage next week. You can't have cold Turkey without pickles. Lady M made her cake yesterday.

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    1. I was going to pickle other things, including walnuts, but I've stayed with onions.
      I've made two Xmas cakes but Ive found greek fans of fruit cake so I'll make 3 more to give away. People are becoming more open to trying different tastes now

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  8. Nothing beats home pickled onions.I've never tried ones done with honey, definitely one to try out.

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    1. These are terrific. I really like them and so do the english people on the island which surprises me. Onions in honey and vinegar. I used to give them to the xmas bazaar, alas there is no longer a xmas bazaar.

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  9. My other half likes to pickle onions, I'll show him your recipe cos it sounds nicer and easier to make.

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    1. This is very very easy and really nice. My mother always used this recipe. Have you ever heard of Aunt Daisy? She was a radio personality I think, probably in the 50s in nz. LOOOOOOOOOONG before your time lol, and I have one of her original cookbooks.

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  10. Your mincemeat sound delicious and the tomatoes and aubegines in the right place. My guide in Moldova sent me a recipe for pickled green tomatoes, I must take a look at it again but as I am not growing tomatoes I don't have a supply of green ones! I do pickles to have with cold meats particularly clear vegetables pickles with cauliflower, beans and pickled cucumber and, of course, pickled red cabbage which has to be home made and fresh.

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  11. Ive haven't tried pickled cabbage since an english school friend of mine served it to us at her home in the 60s. We've lost touch. I wonder what part of england she was from. I can remember enjoying it, even wrote down the recipe. May just try some.
    My mother always served tomatoes and onions in vinegar with a summer salad. Had forgotten all about that.
    Thanks Rachel

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  12. It all sounds very good. Mince pies should look rustic, it means they are home made and will taste all the better for it. Tomatoes sounds like an unusual ingredient but, I made a green tomato cake this year, which sounds equally odd, but tasted really good, so I do know they can just add a little extra something to the whole.

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