I can't believe I almost forgot to make these cupcake. I have been so busy with other stuff that they slipped my mind but am about to put that right.
Cupcakes are welcome at any time of year but these contain a large helping of sweet mincemeat and some of the same spices found in a Christmas Cake, so particularly good and in keeping with all the flavours of the season.
Ginger biscuits are so quick and easy to make, - whether cut into fancy shapes or just a good old fashioned biscuit - and are great for Christmas eating. Make them and store in an airtight box and they will keep well right through the holidays.
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If you don't want a traditional roast this weekend, then how about popping this Spicy Braised Pork with Rhubarb into the oven and leaving it to cook for a few hours.
This frees you up to do whatever it is you enjoy to do (a little Christmas shopping perhaps). No stress cooking, perfect.
Here in Britain we have been eating mince pies since the 13th century. Back then, the mince pies were made with meat, and later, the more familiar, fruits, spices and suet. Food North Wales have recreated the traditional recipe and it is especially interesting. The mincemeat is made with finely minced Welsh lamb shoulder to which the more familiar dried fruits and spices are added. A long slow cooking over 5 hours produces a thick fruity mince meat. It is intriguing recipe which harks back to those roots and is perfect for those who don't have a particularly sweet tooth.
Thanks to my mum ringing and discussing making a Gratin Dauphinois, I have been reminded of this fabulous recipe from Elizabeth David, one of Britain's most famous food writers.
Gratin Dauphinois is not a traditional British food but a favourite nonetheless. Eat it with seasonal vegetables, I even enjoy it on its own with a loaf of crusty bread.
So, I couldn't put it off any longer and made it my first job of the day. I was actually quite pleased as not much to be discarded, thus no guilt trip for me today.
The vegetable drawer was - and is - always the biggest culprit, with dribs and drabs of spinach, watercress, half carrots and onions and sweet potato, which are now all transformed into what I call my Fridge Soup. Vegetables are sorted by type. (root vegetables, leafy greens, peppers and soft vegetables like tomatoes) and decide what goes with what, then head on to the stove.
And, it means supper's all but cooked as well. A good job done.
The Rhubarb chutney will be a great partner to the traditional Christmas pork pie and no self-respecting British Cheeseboard would be complete without a good dollop.
Oh, the plopping in the title - this is the sound the chutney makes as it cooks.
It is true to say I am loving the new book, Big Table Busy Kitchen, from talented food writer Allegra McEvedy. Allegra is rated as one of the UK's strongest voices in food writing. Her new book is a celebration of not just food but also of home, love and life. Her journey through 200 enticing recipes is inspired by her mother's recipe collection handed down to her.