28 October 2007

Christmas is a-coming...

And if I don't be careful, it won't just be the geese getting fat. Ah well. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I had acquired a glut of rhubarb, which I finished off today while making Nigella's Rhubarb Vanilla Mincemeat from Feast. I don't like it when Christmas starts tooo early (particularly in areas of retail) but I didn't want the rhubarb to wilt and mincemeat can only improve on sitting. Nigella says it would make an excellent gift, and after tasting some of the end result, I'm inclined to agree. So if you like what you see, take a number, stand in line...

First of all, I chopped up my stash of rhubarb-
Above: It's really that colour! To paraphrase Anne (she of Green Gables, that is), you could say "pink" a thousand times and it wouldn't describe how pink this rhubarb is.

I then did something that falls into the category of "silly but not surprising for Laura." I measured in the brown sugar, and the spices, and the dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants) before realising that the rhubarb and sugar needs to be simmered alone first before adding the fruit. So I spent a good ten minutes fishing out 300g of raisiny things out with a spoon, before I started simmering the rhubarb.

Above: A darkly fragrant vanilla bean, sliced in half and then into bits. All the seeds are scraped into the rhubarb and the pods are chucked in for good measure.

Above: Once I had simmered the rhubarb, I returned the fished out raisins, currants and sultanas to their rightful place! This needed simmering for half an hour, and filled the flat with a gorgeous, spicy fruity aroma.

Above: Mincemeat! The rhubarb sort of "melted" into the fruit. The final step was to toss in some brandy (which I don't have and so used the more-than-worthy substitute of Marsala All'uovo)

The mincemeat is now cooling, along with some black beans which I boiled and left to soak in anticipation of tonight's dinner (I'm thinking something Mexican-esque.) Once the water heats up, the beans turn everything black:

Above: Oh, you sinister beans!

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