Tag Archive | Christmas Recipes

Delicious Homemade Mince Pies

Yesterday I wrote about making mincemeat for mince pies.

Mince pies are traditionally eaten at Christmas time and children leave one for Santa at the foot of the chimney on Christmas Eve.


There are other traditions and superstitions that I have to admit I hadn’t heard of, until I did some research for my blog:

  • Did you know that when you make the mincemeat, you should only stir the mincemeat mixture clockwise, because stirring it anticlockwise is supposed to be bad luck for the up and coming year.
  • When you eat the first mince pie of the season, it’s traditional to make a wish.
  • You should always eat mince pies in silence.
  • If you eat a mince pie each of the 12 days of Christmas, it is good luck for the up and coming year.
  • Mince pies should have a star on top, depicting the Christmas star that led the three wise men and the shepherds to baby Jesus.



 At the weekend I made my mince pies, this is how I make them:



Sweet Pastry Mince Pies

1lb Plain Flour, plus extra for rolling.

10 oz. Hard margarine chopped

1 Tablespoon of caster sugar


A little milk

Icing sugar to dust the pies


Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 5 / 375F / 190C

Put all the ingredients in a bowl.


Rub the margarine into the flour using your fingers and thumbs, until it resembles breadcrumbs.


Add a little bit of water and mix with a round bladed knife.  Keep adding the water a little bit at a time and mixing until it begins to stick together.


Then use your hands to form a ball.


Put some flour on your clean work surface and begin to roll the pastry.  Every so often turn your pastry to make sure it doesn’t stick to your surface.  


When you pastry is approx. 5mm thick, cut rounds using a pastry cutter.


Put each ‘round’ into a pastry case.


Put a teaspoon of your mincemeat into the pastry cases.


Cut some smaller rounds using a smaller pastry cutter. 

Using your finger or a pastry brush, put a little bit of milk around the bottom pastry ‘round’ and then put the smaller pastry ‘round’ on top and firm gently around the edge.


Cut a cross in the top of each pie.


Bake for 15 minutes.

Leave to cool on a baking tray and then dust with icing sugar.


The mince pies freeze really well and only take half an hour to defrost if you have unexpected guests.


Thank you for reading my blog today





An Eco House Event And A Christmas Pudding Recipe.

I don’t normally advertise on my blog, but today I thought I’d talk about a wonderful place in Leicester, called EcoHouse.

Their website can be found here.  It says :

“Leicester’s EcoHouse was the first environmental show home to be opened in the United Kingdom. The House demonstrates how people can live in a more sustainable way, saving money in the process. Entrance is free to the House, although we welcome donations.

The garden is fully organic and demonstrates how to garden for wildlife and food.

The house, café and garden are open to the public Wednesday to Sunday to both look around and seek advice. Guided tours are offered and the training room may also be hired for events and meetings.  For school visits we can tailor tours and activities to a group’s needs to tie into the National Curriculum”


There are various events that take place at EcoHouse, that are well worth a visit.  One such event is:

‘Christmas Decorations From The Garden’

Sunday 2nd December 2012

2.00 pm – 4.00pm  

Rob Carter

Rob Carter will be running the event and this is what he says about it:

“We provide a range of green material from local gardens and people use their imagination to make things.  There are always folk who know exactly what they want to do and others copy them, while their own atrophied imaginations are kicking into gear.

The sort of material that will be used, is willow and hazel wreath frames, wooden roundels for table decorations, logs, conifer greenery, holly of various types, dried flower heads, pine cones, etc.”

I think it sounds fantastic.


Also, while I’m on the subject of EcoHouse, Rob Carter also runs an excellent organic gardening course:

“This friendly course has been running since 2001. It offers new organic gardeners a grounding in the basic principles and makes strong connections with the worldwide issues of resource depletion and sustainable cultivation. Established gardeners are also very welcome. New gardeners are often excitingly innovative and experience contributes great wisdom and intelligent criticism. The course hopes to encourage participation from the group at all times.  The course comprises of nine sessions in total.”

I personally know Rob and he is an inspiration with his knowledge of organic gardening practises.  I have learnt so much by listening to him.

You can read about the course he runs here.


‘Stir–up Sunday’


Last years Christmas pudding


This Sunday is ‘Stir-up Sunday’.  This is the traditional day to make your Christmas pudding.

The name comes from the opening words of the collect (the prayer of the day), in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer:

“Stir-up, we beseech thee” .

On Stir-up Sunday, families would return from the church and each give the pudding a stir and make a wish.  The pudding would be stirred from East to West  in honour of the three wise men who visited the baby Jesus.

As with many English puddings, Christmas pudding started out as a meaty dish but evolved over the centuries, via Plum Pudding, into the sweet creation that we know today.

The recipe I have written below is one my eldest sister gave to me.  She has been making this pudding since she was eleven years old, so it is definitely tried and tested.  It is an unusual recipe because it doesn’t contain any alcohol and it doesn’t use eggs.  If you are dairy intolerant, I’m sure it would be fine to use soya milk instead of the cows milk too.

I’ve got to say it is delicious.


Helen’s Christmas Pudding Recipe

3 oz. plain flour

3oz soft brown sugar

1 lemon zest and juice

1 orange zest and juice

1 small carrot grated

¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 ½ oz. white breadcrumbs

1 ½ dessertspoons golden syrup

6 tablespoon of milk

¾ teaspoon mixed spice

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

3oz suet

3oz grated apple

1 lb. mixed dried fruit


Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl.

Mix all the ingredients together and place in a greased pudding bowl.

Cut out two 12 inch squares of greaseproof paper.

Put the squares on top of each other and put a 1 inch pleat in the middle.

Tie the greaseproof paper over the pudding bowl with string.

Steam for six hours.

Either serve straight away or allow to cool and replace the greaseproof paper and store in the fridge.


My sister tells me that this pudding will keep in the fridge for up to a month.  However, the pudding tastes lovely the day you make it, so this pudding can be made much closer to Christmas.

I reheated the pudding in the microwave for approximately 13 minutes.  My microwave is only 700w so it may need less time, depending on how powerful your microwave is.  Just make sure it’s piping hot inside.

Thank you for reading my blog today