On making the first mince pies of the season (or ever)

I don’t remember the last time I waited until this close to Christmas to start making mince pies…

Last night, a friend came over. She’s German and had never even heard of mince pies, let alone thought about making one. That obviously had to be rectified. Here’s the process of rectification:

Pre-rolled puff pastry. It was supposed to be specially amazing with extra butter, but it was sticky and soft and just generally hard to work with – next time I’ll stick to the usual stuff ๐Ÿ™‚
Normal sized tray – miniature moulds
6 rolls of puff pastry later there was still mince meat left in the first of 6 litre-tubs…
No way I’m going to faff about with a pastry brush – I dunk the lids in a mixture of milk and beaten egg, push one side into the top of a pile of sugar and hope they land sugar side up when I throw them towards the cases…
The first plateful (proper sized) – mostly straight out of the oven

๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ I think she done good ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
(Photos feature my friend’s hands – I was wielding the camera :))

On mince pies and cheesy trees

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Line the tins with pastry circles
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..and fill with mincemeat
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Cut out circles...
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..and trees
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Brush the lids with egg
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Sprinkle sugar on top - I like the crunchy granulated stuff, but caster's fine too
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Bake

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Et voila!

*****

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Leftover pastry
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Coated in Parmesan cheese and baked, then coated with a gouda tree and baked again..

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On Flying…

A new year, a new habit. Why not flying? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Except I don’t mean flying in either the jumping-off-cliffs-and-flapping-your-arms-about sense, or the more civilised sense, elbowing my way through the masses of small children and tense parents into MY seat on an aeroplane. I do a fair bit of that as it is.

I mean the kind of flying coined by the Flylady, Marla Cilley. It means ‘Fully (or finally) Loving Yourself’ and is (as far as I can tell) a programm to get your house and life ‘sorted out’ without ending up a nervous quivering wreck.

The basic idea behind it (again, as far as I can tell) is that if you’re happy and you know it, and not tired, you are more likely to get stuff done, and if you get stuff done, you’re more likely to be happy. Which I guess I agree with. She says a lot about getting rid of perfectionism, and that doing something is better than doing nothing, even if you can’t do whatever-it-is perfectly right now. Waving a wet mop at the floor is better than nothing, even if it isn’t as good as getting down on your hands and knees and scrubbing. Twice. With some kind of cleaner. And then polishing it. It’s about starting, then continuing in ‘baby-steps’ instead of crashing and burning and giving up. It’s about getting more sleep and giving yourself permission to stop rushing about finishing things before it gets to 3am. It includes motivation to cook better andย excercise more which is something I struggle with, as my shortage of posts in December will testify to. It’s about attending to your own oxygen mask loving yourself first, so you can love other people.

At the end of it all, or more as a result of it all, the idea is to be a happy, rounded, fit, healthy, awake person, the sort who isn’t tired or stressed out and who has time to bake cookies and go dancing, who remembers to post birthday cards in time for them to get there, and who can invite people over at the drop of a hat because she has such a clean, tidy, welcoming house.

Not much of that sounds like me. Yet. *cackles*

– I don’t remember the last time I posted ANYthing on time, went to bed before midnight, had a tidy house for more than an evening or made biscuits (Ok. I made mincepies while I was at my folks over Christmas, but that doesn’t count). I have a huge problem getting up and to work on time. I have far less energy than I think I ought to have. I get home and can’t be bothered to cook, because I’d have to wash the saucepans from the night before first. Eveytime I want to go dancing I have a minor breakdown because I can’t find anything clean and/or presentable to wear. When I invite anyone over I have to work out how long I need to get it presentable before I suggest a day. Having cleaned like a wild thing, so that whoever’s supposed to come over can, it takes less than a week to get back to the way it was before.. ARGH. –

I found the site a year or so ago, and even signed up for it and read [some of] the emails. BUT. I didn’t ‘jump on the bandwagon’ as they say. I picked up [some of] the cooler tips (like leaving the roll of new bin liners between the dustbin and the current bag so you don’t have to look for them when you take the rubbish out), but I didn’t rush off and clean my fridge when they said “clean your fridge”, and I never really bothered with ‘decluttering’ or shining my sink.

This year… I’m going to try it out. Itย  feels a bit crazy, and if I’m honest, a little bit like a strange non-religious cult, but since this woman, the Flylady, has been going for over 10 years and has about a million followers she must have something going for her. Besides. I read yesterday, that the best way to prove something doesn’t work/isn’t true/is stupid, is to try it out and see instead of talking about it..

So. I’m going to do it. The beginning of a year seems a good place to start and my house could really do with it. Or I could. Or both.

I’ll write the missions on here, and maybe put before-and-after photos up if I think they’re interesting.

Watch this space.