Christmas! I can hear you exclaim. Already? It gets earlier every year... Well, yes, while I agree that the crass commercialism of mid year toy sales for Christmas laybys, along with decorations up by the end of September certainly take some of the magic out of Yuletide, preparing this certainly won't! Now is the time of year to make a really good fruit mince, so that it will mature over the next few months - and you won't want to buy it again. I love fruit mince tarts and pies. It is a major weakness for me in December, but unfortunately, most fruit mince is not vegan, or even vegetarian for that matter. Traditionally recipes call for suet or butter, and I don't know about you, but I don't relish the thought of chomping on a tart full of fat that was once around the kidneys of a cow. So for the last year or two I've been making my own. The advantage is, you can add the dried fruit you like and leave out the stuff you don't. This year I used some of our own apples that I preserved in vacola jars. Play around with the recipe to suit your tastes.
100g dried diced apricots
100g dried diced figs
100g goji berries
50g almond meal2 apples peeled, cored, grated, or finely chopped (or the equivalent in tinned apple)
zest of one orange
zest of one lemon
250g dairy free margarine
100g brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Put all dried fruit, spices, sugar, verjuice, port, and sugar into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Put margarine into a large saucepan and melt, and add fruit mixture, and apple. Stir over low heat for about 1/2 hour -45 minutes .
Spoon mixtures into hot sterilised jam jars and screw lid on tightly. Put onto a tray into a preheated 180C oven for approx 1/2 hour, then turn oven off and allow to cool completely inside oven. Your jars should be vacuum sealed.
Put all dried fruit, spices, sugar, verjuice, port, and sugar into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Put margarine into a large saucepan and melt, and add to fruit mixture, with apple. Leave for about an hour. Spoon mixture into vacola jars and follow instructions on the vacuum preserving unit to seal. (I use this method as I don't have to watch it, I just leave mine on for an hour and turn off).