I have resorted to draping a knitted rug over my knees as I type this...
Snow is falling, softly, damply, almost apologetically, along with a steady drift of leaves from the oak tree at the bottom of the garden. Nearly all the leaves have gone from the apple tree, so the bunting is visible now, all faded and forlorn. I should venture down there to see if the snowdrops are coming through - the first few snowdrops usually appear at the base of the tree just before Christmas Day, so that we can have a couple in a little vase on the table. But it is TOOOOOOOOO cold today. The back door step is near to 'outdoors' a I have gone all weekend.
And look! Hanging from the shed roof! Can you see them?
I am making mincemeat in the crockpot. When I investigated the cupboards and shelves I couldn't find any, but luckily I had enough ingredients to make a half quantity of Delia Smith's Christmas Mincemeat.
I only use two recipes, one dating bake to a cheap booklet I bought when we were first married, called 'Christmas in your Freezer', for mincemeat made with applesauce to be kept in the freezer, and Delia's recipe from her Christmas book - but you can find it online here. They really are the best recipes - if I can find the freezer one I'll post it in the next day or so.
The Delia recipe (which she says keeps for up to 3 years!) requires the mixture to be cooked in a low oven for three hours to melt the suet, coating everything in a layer of fat which is why it keeps so well.
Half quantities exactly fitted into my tiddly little crockpot, and an hour on high (it is cold in the kitchen) followed by a couple of hours on low seems to have worked. I'm at the stage of stirring it every so often as it cools down - if you don't, the liquid suet rises to the top of the dish and sets in a solid layer, not what you want at all.
Quite frankly I haven't yet bought a shop mince pie that I really like - the Waitrose beurre noisette pies are the closest to date - nor yet a jar of shop made mincemeat that is worth consuming the calories therein.
There is nothing to beat home-made mincemeat and home-made mince pies.