Home-made Christmas Mincemeat

In preparation for Christmas, this year I am making my own mincemeat. You can store mincemeat in a dark and cool place for up to 6 months. I am using vegetable suet from Tesco so I can use with gluten free pastry to make mince pies; however you can use beef suet or chopped up butter.

Mincemeat pies originated in the middle ages. Originally it is thought they were filled with chopped up meat, fruit and a preserving liquid or confitied in salt and fat. Just like many recipes, these big pies have evolved into the delicate little pies we know and love today.

Homemade Mincemeat

Easy fruity mincemeat

Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword mincemeat
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 60
Calories 70 kcal
Author SharonBye


  • 100 gm Dried apricots chopped
  • 200 gm Sultanas
  • 200 gm Raisins
  • 125 gm Currants
  • 100 gm Dried cranberries
  • 50 gm Flaked almonds, blanch and roughly chop Dry until slightly brown, then lighlty chop
  • 120 gm Suet I used Tesco vegetable suet as it is gluten free, but you could use beef suet or butter
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 200 gm Light brown or muscadova sugar
  • 1 Lemon Rind and Juice
  • 200 ml Brandy


  1. Weigh out and place all the ingredients apart from the brandy into a large saucepan.

  2. Heat very slowly and stir regularly. The suet will melt and coat the fruit. Continue to simmer on a very low heat for another 10 minutes and keep stirring regularly.

  3. Cool completely then stir in the brandy.

  4. Store in sterilised jars. You can sterilise the jars (old jam jars; coffee jars will be fine) by popping in the oven for 20 minutes on 140 degrees, Gas 1. Place the lids in boiling water.

  5. Mincemeat should keep well in a cool dark place for 6 months. Or you can use straight away for Mince Pies.

Nurients per portion

Calories 70,    Fat 1.7g,     Carbs 12g,     Protien .5g

Gluten Free Banana and Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I had two over ripe bananas in my fruit bowl this morning to use up. I have promised my niece I’d make some cakes for tomorrow, so why not throw the bananas in too. What better to add to bananas than chocolate.

When I was in the Girl Guides, I remember fondly one of our camp puddings (I think it was a treat on our last night); we would slice a banana still in its skin length ways, stuff in the slit as much chocolate as we could using a small Animal chocolate bar; then they were wrapped in tin foil and placed in the embers of the camp fire. Once cooked the bananas were all soft and gooey and of course the chocolate had melted into them. What a treat!

As I have used gluten free flour I have added xanthan gum to help the ingredients combine. If you use flour which is not gluten free then just leave out the xanthan gum too.

Banana and Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Made with gluten free ingredients

Course Snack
Cuisine British
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 247 kcal


Cupcake Batter

  • 2 over ripe Bananas mashed
  • 1 tsp Baking powder, gluten free sieved with the xanthan gum and flour
  • 1/4 tsp Xanthan gum
  • 225 gm Gluten free self raising flour
  • 100 gm Butter or Margerine make sure it's softened
  • 2 medium Eggs
  • 175 gm Caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp Milk or milk alternative
  • 50 gm Chocolate chips, gluten free


  • 50 gm Dark Chocolate, enough for 6 cakes
  • 50 gm Butter or margarine, softened butter cream for the other 6 cakes
  • 150 gm Icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Milk



  1. Pre-heat oven on Gas 4 or 180 electric (160 fan).

  2. Place 12 muffin/cupcake cases in a muffin tin.

  3. Measure out all ingredients APART from chocolate chips, into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your food mixer.

  4. Whisk ingredients together until all ingredients incorporated and mixture resembles a thick batter.

  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.

  6. Divide mixture between 12 cupcake/muffin cases. Mixture should be about 2/3 rds of case.

    Level of batter in case
  7. Place in the centre of oven for 25 minutes. You may need to turn the tray around after 20 minutes to ensure an even bake. Leave to cool on wire rack.


  1. You can simply melt the chocolate either in the microwave or over hot water; then using a teaspoon, drizzle the melted chocolate backwards and forwards across the cake.

  2. Or you can top with butter icing. For the butter icing, simply whisk or hand beat the sugar, margarine and milk until smooth. Pipe or simply spread and fluff with a fork. If they’re a bit uneven, as mine are, then slice the top off.

  3. This is what I have left over from the ingredients listed above.


English Trifle

An English Trifle is the quintessential British dessert. It is the go to dessert that every family at some occasion or other will serve when they have a large family dinner. Traditionally a proper trifle will be layered with sponge soaked in fruit, sherry and jelly, followed by a traditional egg custard and topped with whipped cream.

For this low carb version I am going to make sponge using almond flour; sugar free jelly; sweetener to replace sugar and strawberries as my fruit as they are not too high in natural sugars so lower in carbs than some fruits. Oh and no sherry. The sponge is quite dense but this is perfect for the jelly will soak into it and make it nice and moist.

Although this is a low carb version of this dessert, please be aware of the nutrient value as it has very few proteins and is high I need calories so it should still be considered a treat item and not something you should eat as part of your low carb life style daily.

There is quite a bit of making and cooling and setting so make sure you plan to make ahead of time. I have individualised the preparation time next to each component so you can plan. I normally make the day before, minus the cream layer so the trifle is completely set.

Continue reading “English Trifle”

Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies

These delicious Peanut Butter Cookies provide a sweet tasting snack.  Whilst I find eating low carb does not actually leave me needing to snack often, it is still nice now and again to be able to have a “biscuit” with your cuppa. I tried a range of different ingredients but often found cookies or biscuits dry, that was until I found these little beauties. Net carbs 1g per cookie (appx.5cm diameter).

I am not sure which website I found them on so apologies for not citing but I have been making these for a couple of years now so I do not need to refer to a recipe, they are that simple.

Continue reading “Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies”

Panna Cotta with Red Berry Sauce

This Italian dessert lends itself to a low-carb option. Replacing the sugar with sweetener and then you have a delicious authentic low-carb dessert. 8 net carbs per portion.

I have used a fresh vanilla pod in the past which is the traditional ingredient; today I experimented by using vanilla extract and although I would happily serve this to guests as it is still yummy, I would suggest that you cannot beat using the real thing.

Continue reading “Panna Cotta with Red Berry Sauce”