Christmas mincemeat

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October sees me getting ready for festive cooking: Christmas cake and mincemeat benefit from being made well in advance for the flavours to work their magic until the festive season. First up to be prepared is mincemeat which I make in the slow cooker. I use grated apples as well as dried fruit and less sugar than shop-bought versions. I love it in porridge too but not until we have had our fill on mince pies!

I make it with: 450-500g cooking apples (cored, peeled and grated), 115g glacé citrus peel, 115g glacé cherries (chopped), 115g dried apricots (chopped), 115g blanched almonds (chopped), 150ml brandy, 225g currants, 225g sultanas, 450g seedless raisins, 225g soft dark brown sugar, 225g vegetarian suet (grated), 2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp allspice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg, one lemon and one orange (grated rind and juice of both).

I put all the ingredients (except half the brandy) together in the slow-cooker pot and give it a good stir to mix them well. I switch the slow-cooker to high and cook for one one hour. After that, I give it another good stir, reduce to low and cook for a further two hours. I leave the mixture to cool down completely, stirring occasionally. I then add the reserved brandy and transfer the mincemeat into sterilised jars which I store in the pantry. When opened, jars should be kept in the fridge.

This recipe comes from The Slow Cooker Cookbook by Catherine Atkinson.