Star light, star bright
On the 364th night
Lovechef, at last, posts a blog,
Emerging from a mighty fog.
No grand tale of where he’s been,
No year in view, no glossy sheen,
But just a simple ode to what
We’ve known so well from our year dot,
A pie of mince, fruit sweet and true,
And with a pie, we’re born anew.

That was Charlotte’s appeal; ‘write an ode to the mince pies’ she added. Not quite the same as Shakti luring Shiva back after 10,000 years of meditation, but, I needed a prod. A cattle prod. So..

Ode to a mince pie

Oh my lord i scarce believe
Th’extent of modern poetry.
Our resurrection’s credit lies
In bake’d goods, not Jesus Christ.
But doesn’t that perfectly fit
our contemporary predicament?

When east is west and truth is lies,
When war is peace and foes ally,
It shouldn’t come as much surprise
To find salvation in mince pies.

Call me an absurdist, but aren’t we in the era of the absurd; when we have to laugh but we should be crying. If we didn’t need the anaesthetic then by rights we should have cancelled Christmas this year, because our grandchildren won’t believe their forebears just sat back and watched the box while all this was going on.

I won’t go into it. I can’t go into it. There’s too much. That’s why I fell off the radar for a year, because I didn’t know where to start. I’ve been suffering from ‘modern syndrome’; overwhelming pessimism resulting from over-exposure to current affairs. It felt ridiculous to be presenting longevity-gastronomy alongside pithy commentary on… slave camp earth! Criminal government, wanton ecocide, thermo-nuclear TV-advertised corporate buggery, with all-new coconut palm sugar – buy some today!

Then suddenly, out of the darkness of the solstice night, the mince pie of salvation! Of course; don’t let the absurdity get you down, let the absurdity be your guide! Nought will be done pondering the depths of the abyss. I was almost going to say – keep calm and carry on – but I’d have to suffocate myself in a Cath Kidston shopping bag.

So Gung Ho! Raw pigs, macro pigs, paleo pigs and light eaters, breathers and intergalactic stellar-breeze-feelers. The only way out, is in. And we’re all in it together.


A very windy walk


up a very lumpy hill


with a thingy on top.

Instant spelt mince pies with sugarless Mead mincemeat.


We’re almost off gluten these days. Scary, gluey gluten. But where’s there’s rules, there’s going to be trouble! So a little bit of what kills you isn’t going to kill you, or something like that.

Spelt not wheat; the centuries of hybridisation and selective breeding – although we cannot yet explain why – has made all the difference. Use wholegrain, or a mix with half white spelt, to include the vital mineral constellation that makes things digestible.

Organic, local butter from pasture fed cows. Milk is made from the condensed goodness of wild grasses and weeds. Milk made of the condensed ‘goodness’ of GM grain produces self-harming human cells and helps promote global soil decimation. Organic standards of animal rearing also ensure far better lives for livestock: vote animal! Buy organic.

Sugar-free mincemeat is a sinch. We used Mead instead of brandy as we have a fantastic brewer just down the lane right now. The sweet of the Mead and the dried fruit was easily enough to carry the recipe. What makes these pies so epicly good is the savory pastry. The contrast brings out the sweet and keeps the pies on the right side of sickly.

300g spelt flour (white / wholegrain mix)
150g butter
2-3 tablespoons cold water
1 egg yolk

300g mixed currants sultanas raisins
125g finely chopped apple
50ml honey mead
2 tablespoons softened butter
zest and juice of half an orange1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch allspice

First mix up all the mincemeat ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Rub the butter into the flour, pinching it with your fingers to make breadcrumb texture. Mix in the water, egg yolk and mead then knead into a ball. Roll it out on a floured surface ’til it’s 1/2 cm thick.

Turn on the oven to 190 degrees. Then with a cutter or an upside down glass cut out the baserounds and press them gently into the mini-pie-tin thingy. Cut star shapes for the tops, either with a cutter or by hand if you’re a glutton for painstaking tasks and you like things a bit wonky. Spoon mincemeat into the pastry cases and put a star on top. Brush the tops with the egg white then bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly tanned.

See you next year, wriggly friends..