And as if any of this weren't bad enough then there are the traditions! Over here there are many traditions that can be followed at this time of the year, one of them is called the First Footing. First Footing is when somebody calls on the household ~ preferably a tall and dark male, women allegedly bring bad luck (!!!!) and the male needed to be tall and dark as this is the polar opposite of vikings who were invading the country at the time this tradition dates back to. Traditionally the tall, dark male would call unexpectedly carrying a bottle, a lump of coal, some shortbread and a silver coin.
According to this tradition, my Father In Law lucked out when we went to visit yesterday! I am tall and dark but very definitely a female, I did bring food but it was in the shape of this Mincemeat and Apple Tart and not shortbread, there was no booze except for that in the mincemeat, no lump of coal either (the man has brand spanking new gas central heating system after all!) but the tart was still warm from the oven and no silver coin either, although the tart was carried in on a silver tray. Do you think the tradition will be fooled?
This recipe comes from Nigel Slater's latest book Tender Volume II which Santa very kindly left behind for me on Christmas Day. He left me quite a few cook books actually (must have been that Rum and Raisin Pudding lol), but this was the only book I managed to smuggle in my overnight bag as we hurried off to Sis In Laws for Christmas. As soon as I saw this recipe I immediately thought of the two large bottles of Rhubarb and Vanilla Mincemeat sitting in the fridge, rhubarb and apple is a match made in heaven so I knew I had to give it a try!
A Tart Of Mincemeat and Apples
400g cooking apples
2 heaped tbsp caster sugar
500g puff pastry
Peel the apples, core them and cut them into small, thin slices. Put into a wet saucepan with the sugar and leave to simmer gently till the sugar has melted and the apples are tender but not quite collapsed. Set the oven at 200C.
Cut the pastry in half and roll out each piece to measure 36 x 16cm. Place one half on a non stick baking sheet, or one lined with baking paper, then place the mincemeat in a wide line down the centre of the pastry, leaving a margin around the rim. Place the apples on top (any juice should be left in the pan), then brush the edges of the pastry with some of the beaten egg. Lay the second piece of pastry on top, pressing the edges firmly to seal. Trim any ragged edges, crimp them with a fork, then decorate with any trimmings of pastry. Brush with more of the beaten egg, cut 4 or 5 small slits in the top of the pastry and bake for 20-25 mins, until golden and crisp. Serve warm with cream.
Taken from Tender, Volume II
Nigel never fails, this was delicious! We had it without cream (cause I forgot to pack any!) and it was still lovely, the Rhubarb and Vanilla mincemeat worked a treat. This one is being filed away for future use ... and in some perverse way I've managed to stick to one of my resolutions before the first firework is even lit ... the cook books will once again be getting more of a work out this year (as will my backside)!
And now my Grinch like ranting is done all that is left is to wish you all a very happy New Year! I hope 2011 sends all your hopes and dreams your way ;0)