Thursday, 12 December 2013

It's All In The Booklet #1 - Our Royal Mincemeat

I think I love Christmas time almost as much as Fanny does, and she gets VERY excited about the whole thing. For me it's a time to think about food, drink, friends and family... and Fanny! No matter how many times I have seen them, I still get so excited when her series Cradock Cooks for Christmas is shown on TV. This year it's being shown on the Food Network in the UK, so this special series of posts is in celebration of the shows, and of course the famous booklet which Fanny constantly refers to. So, grab your booklet, pop on your very best ballgown, pretend to decorate your tree, switch on the TV and cook-along for the perfect Cradock Christmas.


Fanny thinks it's such a pity that people only make mincemeat for one day in the year, and then forgot about it again until Christmas comes around next year. So, to reverse this trend she recommends making BUCKETLOADS of this 'Cinderalla of Christmas Cooking' and sharing with us a variety of special dishes to use it in... Aren't we lucky? Fannys favoured technique is to mix up the mincemeat ingredients, store them to mature and then cooking as required. When I've made it before I have cooked it then stored in jars, so chopping and swirling things 'pell mell' into a bowl, packing it into jars and storing it away well in advance is all new to me. Fanny insists this is done three months before required, and even better if it's left for a whole year. Lucky I was prepared!


Fanny gets very cross with folk who make those nitty little individual mince pies, which she claims are really just a waste of time. Millions agree with her, she says, men hate them, they are a dead bore to make and always end up like British Rail Sausage Rolls with the first bite up to the filling and the second bite over it. Whatever that means, Fannys solution is to make one big one!


No Cradock collection would be complete without reference to French cookery, and here Fanny tells us that her French twist on the classic mince pie is 'almost more popular'. She doesn't really sound convinced, however her Mincemeat Galette using discs of crisp and flaky puff pastry slapped onto trays, baked and served with cooked mincemeat in the middle, are lovely! I think the puff pastry twist must've caught on going by the offerings available in my local supermarket this year.


Continuing the French theme, Fanny would now have us combining mincemeat and home made pancakes, or crêpes, in a baked dessert. The pancakes can of course be made in advance and stored in between greased sheets of paper in an ordinary domestic freezer and rescued to be used when required. Roll up some mincemeat in the pancakes, dust with icing sugar and bake - or pass them to poor darling Sarah to do so - until piping hot! They are actually great, I had forgotten how satisfying pancakes were.


Fanny is so particularly proud of her next invention - a mincemeat filled Swiss Roll, using her never crack recipe to wow your guests over the festive period. It was the first recipe I tackled in this blog, and again worked a treat for this. Simply replace jam or cream with cooked mincemeat and voilá... Fanny says she uses one that is a fortnight old, but I made one fresh. Mine didn't crack, but don't look too closely at Fannys on TV, just saying...


Fanny saves the dish she is most pleased with in her mincemeat story until last, and despite her pride I doubt it went down well in the 1970's and still today seems quite stomach churning - the Mincemeat Omelette. It is essentially an omelette richly filled with mincemeat and dusted liberally with icing sugar quicker than you could snap your fingers and chastise poor darling Sarah for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, taking away the wrong equipment. It tastes as you'd imagine, no matter how much icing sugar is sifted on top. Perhaps this was made as a punishment for poor Sarah to keep her in line? Fanny shares all these recipes selfishly but gets great pleasure in doing so, as a salute to housewives everywhere who will try to feed their families well over Christmas. Although remember, there is no need to merely try, it's all in the booklet...


46 comments:

  1. I do love mincemeat but don't know if I could face it as an omelette!! Did you eat it all?? Everything else looks ace!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to confess I couldn't... It's just wrong!

      Delete
  2. I know mince pies are an acquired taste but really who on earth would eat a mincemeat omelette?! I feel sick just thinking about it!! The crepe filled ones sound lovely though :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Believe me it wasn't fun eating it either, but the pancakes were delish! Funny, isn't it, how sweet omelettes never caught on... :-)

      Delete
  3. I also count Fanny Cradock Cooks for Christmas as part of my festive enjoyment and like you couldn't work out who would ever eat the infamous Mincemeat Omelette or even when you would eat it. Glad you were brave enough to make and eat it for the rest of us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy to take that one for the team! It was as bizarre as it seems... Keep your eyes peeled for more omelette loveliness coming up!

      Delete
  4. so thrilled to have stumbled across this blog. we watched these shows again this last year with increased hilarity. what fanny does to the goose and turkey makes my eyes water. where did you get your booklet from? ebay has them from £75 which seems hugely expensive to be when the BBC just sent them out to viewers.
    thank you for attempting the mincemeat omelette, I did wonder if anyone would.
    thanks again

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, glad you found me and hope you stick around ;-) The booklet always sells for ridiculous amounts, certainly more than the original 50p price tag! The mincemeat omelette was a one-off, never to be repeated ;-)

      Delete
  5. I wonder... were nearly-raw omelets a thing in the 70s just like barely-cooked steaks are now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I reckon so! Thankfully omelettes with mincemeat fillings have stayed where they belong back in time!

      Delete
  6. i just love this blog , i would love to find a copy of fannys xmas cook book , i really need to to make her white xmas cake this year .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! The booklet is quite hard to find, but worth it if you do! The a White Christmas Cake is actually very very good! :-)

      Delete
    2. Could you post the recipe?

      Delete
  7. you would make our xmas if you posted the white xmas cake recipe , im so very greatfull you have this blog , i love fanny cradock !

    ReplyDelete
  8. i have just seen that you have posted the white xmas cake recipe for us , thankyou so very very much , so looking forward to making it this year you have made my xmas already :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me know how you get on, it's a smashing cake!

      Delete
  9. I have been searching for Fanny's swiss roll sponge recipe, when I have just come across your page , it is just wonderful ..loving it well done .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thanks! The Swiss roll works every time, never cracks! Hope you enjoy it! Let me know how you get on!

      Delete
    2. A friend and I made the Swiss roll for his birthday! We spread it with peanut butter and jelly, and it was so good!

      Delete
  10. It's seems so difficult to find her recipes and it really shouldn't be because although some were a little outrageous, there was a lot of good stuff there and with some simple updating of presentation and a pinch of common sense, they can be brought up to date. I would love to find a collection of her books sometime. However, I am planning a 'Christmas With Fanny' event at home in the spring (naturally!) and am planning to cook a turkey with the gammon and mushrooms stuffed under the skin as well as traditional side dishes and as a starter I am going to dish up the Crepes Bon Viveur, which sound divine. As it is a Christmas themed meal I will also make one of the round puddings and her mum's trifle, which despite my initial impressions, has grown on me. Plus with all that piped cream and chocolate leaves I think it will actually look quite stunning. I have a friend who had loads of 1970's serving dishes so a combination of the somewhat garish colours of the tableware and the unusual appearance of the food (to 21st century eyes anyway) I think it will go down a treat. Such a joy finding this site! Long may you continue it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, that all sounds like a whole lot fun... Please do share some photos! Let me know if you need any inspiration! And thanks, I plan on continuing for a VERY long time!

      Delete
  11. I would love to serve up at least one Cradock inspired side dish with the turkey and haven't been able to find one. I was certainly planning to pipe some potatoes out along with traditional roasted ones. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fanny recommends (for Christmas) side dishes which can be prepared in advance - and for beginners to keep things simple. She says Brussel Sprout Beignets are good, or cauliflower cheese (or anything in cheese sauce), or stuffed tomatoes ornately carved to look like flowers or baskets :-)

      Delete
  12. Fabulous, thank you for those suggestions. I have just spent the last hour delving into your website and am gobsmacked to find so many of her recipes here, simply a wonderful site and I am so glad I found it! One final request for the time being and that is, where can I find Fanny's recipe for her beloved crepes - the ones that were always layered between wax paper and in plentiful supply? I have not been able to find that. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you are enjoying it! I'm a little behind in updating the recipe section, but I made a lot of her pancakes a wee while back - search for crêpes (with the ê) - her basic recipe is 4 oz flour, 1 egg, 1 extra yolk, 2 tablespoons olive oil (all beaten together to a paste) and enough milk to make a consistency of single cream. She strains it through a nylon stocking before making the pancakes... More luxurious versions add icing sugar, brandy, wine, and even real cream instead of milk. Let me know how you get on!

      Delete
  13. hi , do you have a recipe for apricot puree for fannys mums trifle or you use apricot jam ? many thanks jase

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fanny tends to just use Apricot Jam, heated gently with a little water to make it a bit thinner... Sometimes she does just mash up some tinned apricots and mixes them wth sugar syrup - or the syrup from the can - to make a puree - you could try that?

      Delete
  14. I used apricot jam from Lidl, which is very good quality. I used my kenwood chef sieve attachment with the finest screen to purée it but a regular sieve works too and I have done that. I thinned it down with a little stock sugar syrup because, as we all know, it has hundreds if uses!! That worked for me but water works as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great tips, thanks! Sieves, as well as stock syrups, have hundreds of uses too - especially for perfectly round puddings...

      Delete
  15. thanks for the tips both xx

    ReplyDelete
  16. I made 'Mums Trifle' on Saturday and encountered a few problems with the chocolate. I was wondering if you could help? I used milk chocolate chips and initially melted them gently over hot water. Once they had melted I beat the chocolate and then added some stock sugar syrup and the chocolate immediately seized and was unusable. Twice more I tried although I resorted to using the microwave. Each time the chocolate seized and was wasted. Fanny doesn't mention or even appear to wait for the chocolate to cool on the video although you don't see her add the syrup. I know how temperamental chocolate is. Do I wait until the melted chocolate has cooled right down? In the end I had to go and buy a sachet of chocolate sauce ready made. The confectioners custard was very good. The trifle was demolished but I am annoyed that the chocolate didn't work. Can you help??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fanny melts her chocolate (she collapses it in a low oven) then adds the sugar syrup BEFORE beating, which may make a difference to the seizing? She doesn't let the chocolate cool at all...

      Delete
  17. Thanks for the reply - I will experiment with that method and see how I get on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me know how you get on, it was her very favourite recipe so hope it works out in the end - I'll do some more research across her other books for more clues!

      Delete
  18. In regard to Fanny's treatment of Christmas poultry, in particular Turkey, she states that she used wafer thin slices of raw ham or gammon to stuff under the skin with the mushrooms. I can easily buy gammon steaks but not slices of raw ham without buying a whole joint, which I don't want to do. Do you think that I would be ok to simply use raw unsmoked back bacon or bacon medallions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meat is not my strong point I'm afraid, but I would've thought so?

      Delete
  19. Well, I finally held my 'Christmas with Fanny' party last Saturday evening and it was a massive success. I started with the Stuffed Olive Canapes, cooked the baked mussels and seafood crepes from the Adventurous Cooking series in 1966, Fanny's Christmas turkey, Petit Pois a la Francais, duchesse potatoes (dyed green and piped), as well as some non-Fanny veggies and roasties, her bread sauce recipe and finally her Mum's trifle.

    The baked mussels were a triumph, beautiful flavour, which had guests fighting over them and the liquor left in the dish, The crepes were equally well received and all eaten. The turkey was, in my opinion, a bit disappointing. Not sure if it was my fault or the turkey's fault but despite the Fanny treatment it was rather dry. Petit Pois a la Francais were stunning - I deliberately used fresh peas instead of frozen. Fanny discards the lettuce at the end but a the authentic recipe would shred the cooked lettuce and stir it back into the peas so I did this and there were none left. The bread sauce recipe is the BEST I HAVE EVER TASTED and EVERYONE agreed on that point. I spent a long time on the trifle - I solved the problem of the chocolate and I found a local shop that sells Angelica! All in all I was really pleased with it ALL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for letting me know -I'm glad it all (mostly) went well - shame about the Turkey! Did you take any photos? How did you solve the chocolate issues by the way? Was it something Fanny had said wrongly or not explained well? It all sounds like so much fun, and Angelica too!

      Delete
  20. I do have a few pictures, unfortunately not of ALL the dishes but the canapes, trifle and duchesse pots as well as the table before it was trashed by the guests! I did a lot of research about the chocolate and we are very lucky in Swindon to have a fabulous shop called Sugar Celebrations which is filled with experts in all things to do with cake making, decorating, filling etc etc - they sold me the Angelica. I spoke to them about the problems I had encountered and they gave me some great tips however, I found something online and followed that:

    I weighed out 6oz of chocolate - I deliberately chose mainly bitter chocolate but only had 4oz so made it up with scraps of chocolate I found in the cupboard. Great way to use up odds and ends!. I broke them down in to small pieces, put them in a glass bowl then measured out almost a cup of whipping cream and a quarter cup of golden syrup. I heated these in a pan until they were almost at boiling point then poured it over the chocolate and left it to stand for about 15 mins, without stirring it. By the time I came to stir it, the chocolate had melted - slowly, and the heat had dropped considerably. It mixed beautifully, didn't seize, was glossy and smooth.I was still convinced it would set but the following morning I gingerly checked and sure enough, it was liquid. Having wasted so much chocolate following Fanny's method I will stick with the one outlined above. If I was to follow Fanny's process I would simply heat the sugar syrup to boiling point and pour over the chocolate instead of adding cold syrup to hot chocolate, which is what she did in the TV show.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if chocolate recipes and ingredients have changed since Fanny's times meaning a change in how they react... Glad you got a recipe that works!

      Delete
  21. I have some photos of dishes I have prepared in various stages if you would like to post them on your website, I would be more than happy to send them to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to see them - you can email me keepcalmandfannyon at gmail dot com :-)

      Delete