One month before Christmas – The countdown begins

Four weeks to Christmas and counting! Now is the time to make your Christmas mincemeat for those delicious mince pies which we all love.


1 jar of shop-bought Christmas mincemeat – any of the different brands are quite fine

4 Granny Smith apples (if available) or otherwise apples which have a tart taste

100g flaked almonds (one small packet)

50g Glacé cherries (chopped into small pieces)

Grated rind from two lemons

Half a box of Atora Suet (usually available at Checkers and Pick n Pay)

Half a small cup of brandy


Spoon out the whole jar of shop-bought Christmas mince into a big mixing bowl. Peel the apples and grate finely into the mince. Grate the lemon rind and add to mixture.

Add the flaked almonds, chopped cherries and suet, mix together and then pour the brandy into the mixture. Mix again.

You should get about three jam jars from this mixture. Spoon into the jars and keep in the fridge until needed. If you don’t have extra empty jars, use Tupperware containers or similar.

Next week I’ll give you the pastry recipe, which can be frozen until needed, saving you time on Christmas Eve.

Christmas gifts under R100 (Yes, you can still find some gifts)

Babies/ toddlers – Fisher-Price stacking cups R49.90; Fisher-Price Rock A Stack R99.90 (BabiesRus/ ToysRus); Fisher-Price Press and Crawl Lion R99.95, Twirl and Swirl Spinner R99.95 (Dis-Chem); Teething rings/rattles from R30 (Dis-Chem and Clicks). Soft toys from R40 (various stores). Childrens books from R40 (various stores).

Children (girls) – Dream Dazzler shoes R49.90 (+3 yrs); Mini New Born Baby R59.90; You and Me Talking Baby R99.90; You and Me Umbrella Stroller R99.90; Pop-Up Toaster R99.90; Animal Rescue Hospital R79.90; Disney Fairies R99.90; Wipe and Clean Activity books from R69.00 (ToysRus). Books from Bargain Books and CNA, assorted prices; Barbie umbrella R99.95; Barbie sunglasses R39.95; Little mermaid Dress-Up Bath Set R99.95 (all Dis-Chem). Oh So Heavenly Pretty Princess Shimmer lotion R29.95, Bubble Bath R49.95, Body Wash R39.95, Shampoo R34.95 and Detangler Spray R34.95.

Children (boys) – Wazooka –all time super fun water bazooka R49.90; Lego Mixels R59.90; Mighty Monsters R59.90; CAT Tough Tracks R99.90; Play Tool Creative Idea (assorted) R99.90 (all ToysRus). Books – Bargain Books, CNA.

Teens (girls) – One Direction Nail Polish R54.95, Cheek Tint R54.95 and Kiss You Lip Polish R54.95; One Direction Wayfarer Sunglasses R69.95, Aviator (pink or red) Sunglasses R79.95; Sorbet Cosmetic Bag R55.95; Body Spray; Body Butter; Make-up (all from Clicks). T-Shirt (strap top); Photo Frame.

Teens (boys) – T-Shirt; swimming shorts (various stores); Classic Sunglasses or Classic Lounger Sunglasses R79.95, Half Rim Sports Wrap or Steel Aviator Sunglasses R99.95 (Clicks); Deodorant Body Spray, Shower Gel, Toiletry Bag (Dis-Chem/Clicks); Bluetooth Wireless cellphone Head Set R99.95; Earphones R40.00 (Dis-Chem). Biltong and Nuts.

Women – Body butters, creams and sprays (various stores). Revlon Love Her Madly or Pink Happiness Gift Set R99.90. Maybelline Volum Express Mascara R89.95; Yardley Colour Attitude Nail Polish set R89.95; Bath Pillow R39.95; Studio 1600w Hair Dryer R89.95 (all Dis-Chem). Assorted candles in jars from R59; Scented Sachets R45; Potted bonsai (artificial) R75; Hand and Body lotions from R49 (all @Home); Chocolates; Sparkling wine; Costume jewellery; Strap tops R89.95 (all Woolworths).

Men – V Tee Shirt R99.95; Three pairs cotton socks R89.95 (Woolworths); Wine, biltong and nuts; for the sweet tooth a chocolate selection, or a car or gardening magazine with wine (make-up in cellophane); DQUIP Rubber Torch R39.95 and Aluminium LED Mini Torch 9 R19.95 (Dis-Chem); Axe Body Spray (various stores); Gillette Fusion Proglide Limited Edition R79.95 and Gillette Fusion Proglide Power R99.95 (Dis-Chem).

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