This post might just catch you in time if you were thinking about throwing away that lonely piece of marzipan that has been lingering around since Christmas and you just can’t bear the thought of making any more mince pies with the last of the mincemeat. If you use shop-bought mincemeat and you have any unopened jars leftover, in all probability it will still be useable next Christmas, regardless of the sell-by date, but I don’t suppose I’m allowed to tell anyone to eat out of date food for fear of repercussions. I’m still alive anyway, so it hasn’t done me any harm so far.
You may have noticed that since Christmas I have posted two dessert recipes and therefore you do not have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that my New Year’s Resolutions have nothing remotely to do with diet or weight loss. On that front I have totally and utterly thrown in the towel. I keep blaming my ballooning waistline on the menopause, which even though I do think is playing its part, is not really the main culprit. I have found myself on many occasions, whilst mouth stuffed full of cake, or chocolate or fresh bread with a thick topping of tooth imprinted butter, pondering the reasons I am two jean sizes bigger than a few years ago.
I don’t think I eat any more than I used to (fib) or exercise any less (another fib) but ounce by ounce the dial on the scales is slowly moving in the wrong direction. This insidious middle age spread has crept up slowly and stealth-like, gently turning me into a far rounder version of my younger self. Having said all that, muffin-tops or no-muffin-tops, I absolutely am not going to diet in January. With the dull anti-climax that follows once the festive season is over, combined with the dreary, damp weather, I am in no mood to start watching the calories. I don’t know about you, but I can honestly say I have never been out on a blustery, cold dog walk, traipsing through the rain with a frozen nose and numb fingers and thought to myself “Oh, I just can’t wait to get home to have a nice plate of cold pickles.”
No siree, there shall be no detoxification, calorie-counting or clean eating (I’m still not entirely sure what that is) in my kitchen until at least April. I like my comfort food in the colder months, whether that’s in the form of a warming bowl of soup with some crusty bread, a dumpling topped hearty stew or a steaming bowl of apple crumble, none of which I think are ‘bad’ for me. In fact, they make me feel positively warm and glowing inside which must be a good thing surely.
On the New Year’s Resolution front, I don’t ever actually set myself rigid terms and conditions I have to keep to, as from experience I know any good intentions usually fly out of the window with the arrival of the March winds. However, this year one thing I have started to take note of is the amount of food that inadvertently gets thrown in the dustbin that could, with a little time and imagination, get used. Things like the stalks of green vegetables, cauliflower leaves and those odd little carrots which for some reason never got picked for the pot. I don’t feel as though I waste much compostable food because what we do not eat gets either given to the chickens or put of the compost heap which in turn feeds the vegetable patch, thereby completing the circle.
It is things like this little piece of marzipan which are all too easily discarded which I am determined to make use of and find a more fitting home for than the rubbish bin.
If you are not fond of marzipan in a big lump you could cut it up into small cubes instead of leaving it in one large piece and it doesn’t have to be used in this mincemeat cake recipe, you could put it in your own favourite fruit cake recipe if you prefer. It just so happened I had marzipan and mincemeat to use up so I put these two Christmas bedfellows together.
- 275g self-raising flour
- 400g mincemeat
- 100g sultanas
- 165g soft butter
- 165g soft brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- Approx. 300g marzipan
- 1 heaped teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons flaked almonds
- Preheat oven to 160c.
- Put the first 6 ingredients into a bowl and mix together until combined.
- Spoon half into the prepared tin.
- Using your hands roll out the marzipan and make a round sausage to fit inside the tin, making sure you leave enough space around the edge for the cake mixture to cover the marzipan. Gently push the marzipan a little into the cake mixture.
- Cover with the remaining cake mixture and smooth down firmly.
- Sprinkle over the remaining brown sugar and flaked almonds.
- Bake for approx. 1hr and 30 mins until firm and a skewer comes out clean. Check after 1hr 15mins if your oven runs hot.