Month: November 2019

Family & Surgery Update…

So 9 days ago I went for my surgery to remove my skin cancer. My youngest sister messaged me with lots of irritating questions, “what time are you leaving for the hospital, what ward will you be on, will you go straight down to theatre when you get there, what is the latest time they take people to surgery, what time is your operation, how long will you be there, will you have many stitches, what’s happening after the operation, is it a day case, will you have to go back, whats the surgeons name” and many many more! She is one of those people who continually ask questions in rapid fire and never really take a breath, and asks many daft questions. I am not the type of person who likes being questioned and find it irritating, and usually close-down or give generalised answers when this happens as I prefer to tell when I am ready and not be under a spotlight.

After the surgery I drove home and replied to a few more texts from my youngest sister and one from my mother, mainly ones of “are you home yet”. Today I finally got a call from my mother asking how I was, but I could tell from her tone she was not really calling to know how I was, then it came. “The reason for my call, can you ask your mate how much a new computer……” When my phone rang, I said to M “oh! here we go! I wonder what she wants this time?” knowing it would be a “can you” type call and not a genuine call of concern.

One of my sisters has not bothered calling to find out, and my little brother has become an ass and does not think he has to ask about anyone, including his father when he was in hospital.

M and I are always suspicious now when we get calls from our family as it is either a call for help or in the case of M’s mum, a mistaken call as she is trying to call someone else. It would be nice to have parents like we see on the Hallmark channel, or to have family like my cousins, but coming from a broken home I realised that would never happen.

So, my surgery went well, and I got away with only 4 stitches. The surgeon said it was deep and he removed skin and what lies beneath in the shape of an ellipse. He said he thought it went well and for me to go back to see him at the end of the month. I removed (yes I did) my stitches on Thursday and boy was I glad to get them out as they were irritating me. I heal really fast, always have no matter the injury. Cuts tend to take about 24/36 hours to fully knit, and usually within a week they are pretty much healed and just faint scars. This is no exception, and on Thursday when I took them out you would not really tell I had surgery. There is a fine scar and very thin mark that will fade to nothing before I go and see my surgeon.

I thought I would share a photo of the surgery, this was taken about 2 hours after. Although 48 hours later I did have a slight black eye as can be seen in the second picture.

Mince Pies

With a twist…

I do love a good mince pie, and since Christmas is on its way, I decided to start eating them this month, and today I made my own version.

Now, I know that my American readers, and, thinking on, most readers that are not it the UK may not know what the hell a mince pie is. They go by other names of Christmas Pie, Shrid Pie and Mutton Pie, and date back to Tudor times. Although we now use sweet mince and not savory fillings. Sweet mince was also a favourite of the Tudors.

Mincemeat is a sweet filling made from fruit, spices and sugars and has many veriations, but all have the same base with currents and sultanas. My version has a lemon & rose twist to it.

Ingredients

  • 150g Currants
  • 100g Sultanas
  • 100g Chopped nuts (I used salted caramalised pican, almonds, cashew, hazelnuts, macadamia)
  • 150g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 100g Unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp Ground clove
  • 1 tsp Ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 60ml Lemon Juice
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Rosewater
  • 500g Short Crust Pastry
  • Lemon Curd
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

  1. Combine the currants, sultanas, chopped nuts, citrus zests, lemon juice, spices and salt.
  2. Heat butter butter together with sugar in a large saucepan. When butter starts to bubble stir in fruit mixture.
  3. Remove pan from heat. When cool add rosewater.
  4. Roll pastry out to about 2mm thick, cut discs and fit into muffin or small tart tins. Cut discs for the tops too, or have fun and cut stars for the tops.
  5. Place a few spoons of the filling into the pie cases and add a blob of lemon curd on top of the mixture, then add the pastry lid/star. You can use the whisked egg to bond the lid if you are not crimping the edges.
  6. Brush with a bit of egg/eggwash.
  7. I sprinkled the tops with some lavendar sugar that I had mad with culinary lavendar that I keep in a sealed jar.
  8. If using disc lids cut a few little holes to allow the steam to escape.
  9. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 200°C / fan 190°C / Gas mark 5 (adjust times for your oven) or until the pastry has turned golden brown.
  10. Allow to cool slightly and dust with icing sugar before serving.
  11. I like to serve with a dollop of extra thick double cream.

The three on the left of the photo with the slashes in are puff pastry ones I made at the same time. For this I cut out a disc of puff pastry, added the filling to the centre, brushed the edges with egg and added a puff pastry top and pressed it down, washed with egg, slashed the top and baked at the same time, but I did not add the lemon curd to these.

I hope you enjoy this recipe if you make it. But be warned, you may put on weight if consuming too many of these delicious mince pies.

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