One way to show hospitality during this season is by sharing food and recipes for your cultural tradition.


(adapted over the years from one in Reader’s Digest Farmhouse Cookery – Recipes from the Country Kitchen)

In a large mixing bowl combine:

  • 1 ½ lbs of firm/sharp apples
  • 1 lb raisins
  • 1 lb sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 12 oz currants
  • 8 oz each of dried cranberries or cherries –or any other dried fruit that appeals – you just want to ensure pieces are all roughly same size
  • 8 oz chopped candied peel
  • 8 oz soft brown sugar
  • 8 oz chopped almonds
  • 8 oz chopped walnuts
  • Juice and grated rind of one lemon and one orange
  • Good grating of nutmeg, cinnamon, crushed cloves
  • One jar of good quality mincemeat (Robertson’s luxury mincemeat or the like) – not essential but adds some “body”
  • Brandy – quantity up to you!


Peel, core and finely chop the apples into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the orange and lemon juice with their grated rind; stir in all the dried fruits, chopped nuts, sugar, spices, jar of bought mincemeat and mix thoroughly. Now stir in a good splash or two (make that three or four!) of brandy – and stir well…

Cover the bowl and put in the fridge. Stir over the next few days – adding more brandy to keep the mixture “moist”.

A week or so later – after more stirring and topping up w/brandy (this is not a precise science!) put into jars. Small jars are nice for hostess gifts. The rest keep for making small mince pies at the holidays.