I love Christmas, but I've been resisting throwing myself into preparations a bit this year. Resisting, that is, until I received my first homemade gift.

It came from my creative intern Anwyn and her mum Bec... A jar so full of homemade festive cheer that just holding it in my hands opened my heart to all the warm, lovely possibilities of this time of year.

The recipe I'm about to share with you is slow. Preparing the mince is a Saturday afternoon activity, set aside for when there's nowhere to rush off to and you have the luxury of music on the stereo paired with a good, old fashioned kitchen potter. The fruit takes time to steep. But when you do open the jar closer to Christmas day to spoon warm mince over ice cream or baked it into tarts, the pleasure circle will be complete and I promise it'll feel a whole lot like Christmas.


Home Made Christmas Fruit Mince


375g seedless raisins 250g mixed candied peel 185g sultanas 3 medium apples, peeled and cored 60g glace cherries 125g blanched almonds 100g dried apricots 185g currants 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar Grated rind and juice 1 lemon Grated rind 1 orange 2 tsp mixed spice 1/2 tsp nutmeg 125-185g butter, melted 1/3 cup brandy or rum


1. Finely chop or mince raisins, mixed peel, half the sultanas, the apples, cherries, almonds and apricots.

2. Add remaining sultanas and currants.

3. Stir in brown sugar, lemon rind and juice, orange rind, spices, butter and brandy or rum.

4. Mix well and put into a large jar. Cover and place upside down to allow the liquid to run evenly throughout the mixture.

Mince can be left for a few weeks in the refrigerator. Makes 6 cups.

NOTE: Brandy can be replaced with the juice of 1 orange, in which case mixture should not be made in advance.

Catherine Roberts