Getting into the festive spirit

Sorry that I haven’t posted in a while! I’ve been rather busy these past few weeks and haven’t had a chance to write a blog. Despite this I have been keeping up the gym in the early morning and I’ll be doing the parkrun on Saturday, which happens to be Christmas Eve. I’ve been eating out a lot and will be everyday this week I think, so once the New Year begins I’ll be working hard to lose body weight and think about training for the half marathon next year.

After my birthday (7th December) I really start getting into the festive spirit. I start wearing Christmas clothing and listen to carols/songs. I sang in a Christmas carol concert with the Leicester Philharmonic Choir on Thursday 15th December which was a lot of fun, and exhausting as well (the choir sang a total of 17 carols!). I’ve been to London for the past two weekends and visited lots of Christmas markets, as well as Winter Wonderland in Hype Park yesterday! It’s also nice to see London decorated with beautiful lights and various decorations. On Friday 16th December it was Christmas jumper day in the UK. I didn’t just wear a Christmas jumper- I went all out with wearing Christmas stuff (the only thing that wasn’t festive that I was wearing was my bra!).

work
Christmas jumper day

With another busy week ahead, I decided to make some mince pies tonight. I bought a decorative mince pie baking dish back in January this year and used it for the first time tonight. The dish can hold up to 6 large mince pies.

Festive mince pie dish

In the same way as last year and how I’ve always made them, I used plain flour, butter and lard to make short crust pastry. I measured 12oz of plain flour and used 3oz of lard and 3oz butter at room temperature. I rubbed in the butter and lard into the flour until the mixture became like breadcrumbs.

Breadcrumb consistency

I then added a little bit of cold water and used a knife to stir it into the flour/fat mixture. Once the water was incorporated I used my hands to mould the mixture together into a ball. I added a little bit more cold water to get all of the dry mixture together until I made a smooth ball of pastry. I left it for about 20 minutes in the bowl before rolling it out.

Ball of short crust pastry

I rolled out the pastry so that it wasn’t too thin, but not too thick either. With the amount of pastry I had, I managed to make 6 large mince pies and 6 standard sized mince pies. I had to use the lid for the flour container to cut circles large enough to fit the large mince pie dish!

Yummy mince pies

I decided to have a go at using egg wash on mince pies for the first time. I filled the pastry cases with quite a bit of mince meat and I didn’t want to end up with mince meat oozing out from the lids. I used one beaten egg and covered the lids using a pastry brush. I also pricked all of the lids with a fork before putting them in the oven at gas mark 5.

Smaller mince pies ready for the oven

The large mince pies took about 40 minutes while the smaller ones took around 30 minutes to cook. I must admit, covering the mince pies with egg wash made them look more like savoury pies! At least the mince meat didn’t leak out too much though.

Savoury looking mince pies!

I covered all of the mince pies once cooked with icing sugar so that they look more like sweet mince pies.

Looking more like mince pies now!
Large on the left and standard on the right

The next time I’ll probably get to cook something festive will be Christmas Eve during the day time. I’m doing something every weekday evening this week. I like being busy and I have lots of things to look forward to in the final run up to Christmas day.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear

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