A recipe for tubercular mince pies which would grace any 18th century costume drama kitchen

I am peering at the screen with stinging, watery eyes due to a streaming cold, and I am sneezing every 33 seconds, and the dripping of my nose would shame a Chinese water torturer, but don't you worry, Isabelle and Frances, about pressurising me to write a new post while I am suffering thus.

No, don't you fret, my dears.  I am sure you are both sitting there with your feet up, sipping mulled wine, healthy and thriving, while you fire off your comments about it being time I shifted my carcass and wrote something.  No, I'm not bitter at all.  I am very pleased for you, that you are not victims of The Worst Cold in History and can enjoy your Christmas holidays without using up enough Kleenex to soak up the Indian Ocean and leave its bed dry and all its sea life flapping about wondering FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, WHO PULLED THE PLUG?

I have been making mince pies.  No, this isn't my excuse for not having written a post since early December, although the way I make mince pies (bake 6, eat 4, bake 6, eat 4) could well account for such a mammoth pie-making session.

I discovered this afternoon that making mince pies with a streaming cold makes the whole process far more complicated.  You have a nano-second, when the nose begins to drip, to grab a tissue before you glaze the mince pie with something less acceptable to most people than the usual egg yolk.  [Most? Don't you mean all?! Ed.]  [You ARE Ed, idiot!  You don't have an Ed!]

Any relatives reading this who are due to come and stay and may be offered a mince pie ... I SWEAR TO YOU I got away from the pies just well in time.

Then (to continue with my method for Tubercular Mince Pies) after you've blown your nose, you have to wash your hands again, in the interests of anti-slobness, and washing pastry-plastered hands is not just 'washing hands' as any cook will know.  It means scrubbing away at them with a scourer or a vegetable brush, and then pretending you weren't the one who made the scourer/brush unusable next time the washing up is done.

Any relatives reading this who are due to come and stay ... you are NOT to use this as an excuse not to do any washing-up.

What slaving over home-made mince pies for your family despite being near death does mean, though, is that you feel completely justified in partaking of that well-known medicinal remedy: the newly-baked mince pie.  You deserve some reward for such sacrificial service.

Mind you, I now have, as well as the streaming cold, a missing upper palate, its skin stripped away by mincemeat-flavoured lava.  This is rough justice, in my view, as all I was trying to do was comfort myself in the middle of my suffering.  It was nothing to do with greed.  *coy expression* *annoyed expression at having used the asterisk thing after vowing never to*

The pies are all baked and packed away and will need to be put on a Very High Shelf, just in case any of my family who are reading this arrive on Boxing Day, and wonder why I have bought several packets of mince pies with dodgy use-by dates from the corner shop rather than making my own ...

Merry Christmas to all, especially to Isabelle and Frances, who wrote especially to say they were missing me.  On the other hand, after my earlier venomous diatribe, they may not even have read this far, and may have just unfollowed. *Bites lip in regret*  I feel regret about that, and DON'T NEED ASTERISKS TO EXPRESS IT.

Fran was in such a hurry to find which High Shelf the pies were on that she didn't realise
she was scattering tissues as she ran


  1. Fran, I'm so sorry about the cold, but are you sure it isn't man flu? In which case a week/fortnight in bed with a (female) slave in attandance should do the trick (is usually does).

    Have a lovely Christmas, anyway!

    (And in case anyone wonders, I am not the Frances who was cruelly badgering her to return to the keyboard.)

  2. I've never made a mince pie in my life *bold stare*. That twitters got a lot to answer for with it's inventive use of the english language. (its'?)

  3. I'll be sure dad tries one tomorrow.

  4. Frances - it can't be man flu. I actually went shopping and made mince pies. If it were man flu, I would be prostrate on a sofa, going, 'Nggh, nggh, nggh, I'b dyig.'

    Invisible - its in that case. I will forgive you for that, but not for never having made a mince pie. You must start immediately.

    rnt - I will bring some along just so that you can all get infected, I mean, enjoy their lovely taste.

  5. I don't like mince pies.

    But please don't sneeze on the sprouts. They are green enough and do not need augmentation.

    Have a wonderful Christmas. May your tissue box never run dry (though may your nose).

  6. Wow! An entire post about snot! You are one courageous blogger.

  7. Steve - I never said anything about the colour green. That stage has not yet been reached. Although I cannot vouch for the immediate future.

    Stephen - I think you will find that I have mentioned mince pies at least once, so not enTIREly about snot.

  8. Oh, THERE you are! Sorry you got the dreaded Christmas Cold. The manic hand washing-maddening to try to cook when slugged by the Snot Fairy. Hope you feel better and have a fun holiday!

  9. Get well soon and havea very Merry Christmas!

  10. Hmm This is something to tryout this weekend. Thanks for making me busy in something new to try.

  11. Hope you're fighting fit for the festivities, Fran. I make the mince pies around here. In fact, I even make the mincemeat, and the Christmas cake! What a clever boy. Here's wishing you and yours a happy holiday, and all the best for 2012!

  12. Be sure to pass your mince pies round the minute everybody arrives and , by the end of Christmas Day , there won't be a dry nose in the house .
    Merry Christmas !!!

    ( I'd read tubular , instead of tubercular , and was expecting a Mike Oldfield/Nigella cookery extravaganza... )

  13. I'm Crayon - many thanks. Slugged by the Snot Fairy is such a good description of how I feel. Have a good one yourself.

    Nana - you too, my dear, and thank you.

    Wine Club - your dodgy grammar makes me suspicious that you are spamming me. No, I'm not going to look you up.

    Martin - You make the mincemeat?! And the cake? Do you hire yourself out?

    SmitandSon - Thanks for the advice. I am sure my family will all be most grateful to you.

  14. Wondered where you were, you being on holiday and all. Can't be man flu - you're far too busy - but hope the 'sea' dries up soon! Haven't made any mince pies yet, mincemeat muffins though. Hope you're feeling better on the day: Happy Christmas!

  15. Well done, that Fran. And - in the interests of making you feel better ('tis after all the season of comfort and joy)- you may like to know that I have the same cold. Or at least its cousin. Merry, if drippy, Christmas to you and yours.

  16. hausfrau - what's a mincemeat muffin? I'm fascinated. Happy Christmas to you, too!

    Isabelle - You know, as I was writing that, I thought sod's law would be that you had it too. Am waiting to hear from Frances ... x

  17. Hi..... Cruel Frances here, so far in the best of health..haha! Prob should not have said that but have touched many woods!! The dog has been sneezing all day though!. Glad to have you back, and glad that I will not have to eat your mince pies. Just about to get the turkey out of the oven...much easier to cook the night before, carve, and then only the veg to worry about tomorrow. Sliced turk gets heated up in the microwave..sacrilege I hear you all cry...but if it makes life easier I'm all for it! Hope you will be feeling Ok for tomorrow Fran. Thanks for all the great posts, and look forward to many more next year.....and wish you a very happy one too. X

  18. Frances - I don't call that sacrilege - I call it common sense. Thanks for your comments, and I wish you a happy 2012 too.


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