Category Archives: Preserves

Pickled Shallots


Who doesn’t love a pickled onion with some gutsy cheese?

Start this recipe a couple of days ahead.

Fills a 1 litre jar.


500g shallots, peeled and topped and tailed

600mls water

60g salt

150mls sherry vinegar

500mls white wine vinegar

4 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon peppercorns

2 dried chillies


Pour the water into a large bowl, add the salt and swirl around until the salt has dissolved.

Add the shallots and pop a plate on top to keep the shallots under the brine.

Leave for 48 hours.

Sterilise the jar and lid.

Add the remaining ingredients to a pan and bring up to a simmer.

Turn the heat off and allow the vinegar mix to cool.

Drain the onions and pat dry.

Place the onions in the sterilised jar.

Pour over the vinegar, make sure all of the coriander, pepper and chillies go in too.

Seal the jar and keep for one week before eating.

Christmas Mincemeat – Fruit Mince


Middle son lifted the pan lid once this was made, cooled and the brandy added and assured me it definitely smelt of Christmas, always a good sign!

Traditionally made for filling mince pies, it’s also fantastic in cakes, scrolls and even apple crumble.

I use suet, from the butcher, as the shop bought version has gluten in it, however, for vegetarian options or non Coeliacs this is fine. I also don’t add nuts to my mincemeat, just one less allergy to worry a bought!

Makes 12 jars.


500g suet

300g currants

500g raisins

600g sultanas

200g mixed peel

4 oranges, zest and juice

2 lemons, zest and juice

5 large cooking or dark green apples, cored, chopped into a very fine dice, skin included

20g mixed spice

2 teaspoons cinnamon

a really good grating of nutmeg

600g brown sugar

180mls brandy


In a very large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the brandy. Leave to soak for 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 120 degrees Centigrade.

Pour the fruit mix into a large oven proof pan and slide into the oven.

Bake for three hours, by which time the suet will have all melted and be coating the fruit.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Once cold, stir through the brandy and spoon into sterilised jars. Seal and label.

The mincemeat will keep for a year.

Lemon Curd


The lemon tree is full of fruit this year so it’s time to make lemon curd.

This is one of the easiest preserves to make and the curd doesn’t just belong on toast! Stir it into basic muffins, use in lemon meringue pie and top fairy cakes with it.

I don’t strain my curd, it’s laziness on my part, I really don’t mind a bit of lemon zest, in fact, I reckon it gives it more of a home made taste.

This is gluten free, because we use no thickeners, Mother Nature does it for us!

I triple this recipe, it doesn’t last long with my boys! Triple quantities makes four jars as photographed.

I do sterilise the jars and lids and this will allow the curd to then keep for at least two months in the fridge. You can use unsterilised jars, the curd will last 3 weeks in the fridge.

To sterilise my jars I preheat the oven to 100 degrees Centigrade and boil the kettle.

Pop the jars in the oven for 10mins, place the lids in a heat proof bowl and pour the freshly boiled water over.

When ready to use, remove the lids with tongs, do not touch the inside of the lid.


2 lemons

85g butter

225g sugar

3 eggs, beaten


Grate the zest from the lemons, only the yellow zest, the white pith will make your curd bitter.

Juice the lemons.

In a heavy based pan combine the zest, juice, butter, sugar and eggs.

Over a low heat warm the curd mixture, I use  a whisk to mix constantly but a wooden spoon works just as well.

Whisk until the curd has thickened, it will coat the back of a spoon.

Pour very carefully into the sterilised jars and seal with the lids.

Allow to cool completely before storing in the fridge.