Untitled, by Nicki Varkevisser
Food for Thought

It’s coming on Christmas…

Untitled, by Nicki Varkevisser … as Joni Michell would say. And somehow, it seems to be approaching with rather more speed than usual. With less than a month now until Christmas, I have finally come to the realisation that I have to actually do things to be ready for that.

(I’m still blaming the move for putting me so far behind on everything. What do you think is the limit on that? Maybe in the new year it’ll have to go back to just being my fault again. Shame.)

Anyway, I have ordered cards and wrapping paper, which feels like something of an achievement. I have written the dates for all the daughter’s school activities in my diary and instructed the husband to take the afternoon off for her Christmas play. I have heaved an enormous sigh of relief at the news that I do not have to make her a costume for said Christmas play.

Then I realised that I still have to, you know, buy all the presents and wrap them. And write and post the cards. And decorate the house. And do festive activities with the daughter. And attend Christmas meals and outings – ones that require me to actually dry my hair and wear makeup. And sing in a Christmas concert. And throw a birthday party for the husband’s 35th mid December. And prepare for the trek up to Wales the weekend before Christmas, and find enough clothes to pack to stay through to New Year.

Oh yeah, and I have to ascertain where we will actually be spending Christmas Day…

All of which seemed far too difficult. So I made mince pies, instead.

I wrote about my mother’s mince pies on the blog last year, and since that’s the recipe I always use, I’m just repeating it wholesale. Trust me, they’re the best mince pies in the world. And I don’t even like mince pies.

Bake 41: Mum’s Mince Pies


  • 8 oz plain flour
  • 6 oz butter
  • 3 oz caster sugar
  • 1 egg, separated
  • Cold water
  • Mincemeat


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C
  2. Sieve flour into bowl
  3. Add chopped up butter and rub in until like breadcrumbs
  4. Add 2 oz of sugar and mix
  5. Add egg yolk and water to form dough
  6. Split dough in two and roll out half to 1/5 inch thick and cut bases
  7. Fit bases to greased tins and fill with mincemeat
  8. Roll out other half of dough and cut out lids, dampen edges and seal
  9. Pierce centre with sharp knife, brush lids with beaten egg white and sprinkle with remaining sugar
  10. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes

The mince pies can be frozen for up to six months, and taste particularly good warm…