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THE IRISH KITCHEN
is perhaps the most prolific Irish-American writer of topics
dealing with Irish food and drink.
Holding dual citizenship in
the US and Ireland, Margaret is the author of ten Irish
Cookbooks, An Afternoon Tea cookbook titled 'Tea and Crumpets'.
Her most recent Irish books are 'Flavors of Ireland' (2012), 'Christmas Flavors of Ireland' (2013) and Favorite Flavors of Ireland (2015). She
has authored more than 200 food and travel articles in a number
of publications, including the "Irish Echo," "Irish America
Magazine," "CARA," "Intermezzo, " and Dublin's "Food and Wine"
To see what else Margaret has to offer or to order signed copies of her cookbooks, why not visit her website
Start Cooking some Irish Recipes
The Sweet Side of Christmas
Mincemeat is one of the oldest pie fillings and was esteemed as holiday fare the era of Henry VII, who proclaimed Christmas a day of feasting in England. Back in the days of ancient Rome, the first type of mincemeat made its appearance when Apicium, a Roman chef who wrote the first known cookbook, preserved meat with honey. This method of preserving meat, or retarding the growth of bacteria causing spoilage, continued throughout the years when other cooks found that meat could be kept for a number of months if it were mixed with fruit, spices, and sugar.
Some early recipes for mincemeat used veal or mutton, and gradually cooks added ingredients like apples, Seville oranges, and even red wine. In Elizabethean England, huge mince pies were made during the 12 days of Christmas, and it became customary for guests to be offered a piece whenever they visited.
The leap from England to Ireland was a short one, and mincemeat quickly became a favorite ingredient in an Irish Christmas as well, especially in mincemeat pies, puddings, cookies, and tarts. Commercially prepared mincemeat, like None Such which provided some of these recipes, is widely available, but you can make your own if you wish. Another important ingredient in holiday pies and cakes, especially the can't-do-without Christmas cake, is marzipan - a blend of ground almonds and sugar - and almond paste, which provides a stronger almond flavor in baked goods like almond apple pie and a cranberry-topped cheesecake.
Here are a few recipes to spice up this year's holiday dessert table.