I could never understand why there was always a panic as Christmas drew close to find people going to the UK so that they could bring back the ingredients to make mincemeat! I would think to myself: but surely Turkey has everything you could possibly need in terms of raisins and currants? Why would you want to bring that sort of thing back here?
|an abundance of dried fruits in Eminönü|
I do remember however, that the currants available at that time were full of seeds so preparing them was indeed a job in itself.
Suet wasn't available either. Well, that means suet in neat little packets like Atora. Well, now I am older and wiser and have learned that suet is actually the fat around the kidneys of a cow. What you do if you live here is ask your friendly butcher to save it for you which he will be only too happy to do and probably at no charge. When you get it home, wash all traces of blood away, pat dry and freeze. When you need it, take it from the freezer and allow to thaw slightly so you can grate it. If you have never worked with 'real' suet, you'll be surprised at how white and odourless it is! It really does the trick.
I will be forever grateful to those dedicated Corona ladies at the IWI Christmas Bazaar as they would always have jars of homemade mincemeat (made with those UK ingredients!), puddings and cakes too for sale. I never made the latter as my mother would always make them herself in her own kitchen in Camberley and bring them on her lap on the plane. I was too busy teaching and looking after hearth and home to even dream of making these traditional goodies myself.
Times have changed in more than one way: those wonderful kuru yemiş shops sell every possible variation of currant under the sun it seems to me, including nice black currants with no seeds! You can now find imported mincemeat at the upmarket supermarkets eg Macro but at a price. And on a personal level, at last I have the time to make it myself.
|the fruits of my labours: traditional mincemeat|
So this morning I made a batch of mincemeat following friend Lesley's New Zealand recipe from the 1950s and it worked beautifully. The recipe comes from a hugely popular radio personality of the time called Aunt Daisy. Have you ever heard of her?
Here's the recipe as Lesley sent it to me:
Aunt Daisy's Mincemeat (Old Fashioned)
- One cup each chopped currants/siyah kuru üzüm,raisins/sarı kuru üzüm, apples and suet/iç yağı, 1 lemon (grated rind and juice), 1 oz chopped candied peel/şekerli meyve, 1oz/50g chopped almonds/badem, a little nutmeg/hindistan cevizi and spice, 1 cup *brown sugar. Mix with a little brandy or rum, and keep in airtight jars.
- Originally all the chopping would have been done by hand as kitchen appliances were virtually unknown in New Zealand. Now, give the dried fruit a brief zap in your food processor and grate the apple using the largest holes. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
*if you don't have any soft brown sugar, simply add a little grape pekmez to regular white granulated sugar - it's widely available.
|combining all ingredients for the mincemeat|
There's still time before Christmas to make a batch or two so if you're looking for an easy mincemeat recipe to try, this is it!
Here are the links to earlier mince pie posts with an emphasis on the pastry rather than the mincemeat itself: