Tag Archives: Obesity

Different diets for different times of our lives – trying Wheat Free

So I desperately need to lose about 1 and a half stones or 20lb. I’ve needed to lose this weight for a while now – ever since a 2nd unsuccessful pregnancy last summer followed by a load of consequent comfort eating. Plus, as many of you know, before I’d shed my extra weight, me and my husband set off on a year’s backpacking around the world. (We have a travel blog at www.middle-aged-spread.com). We’re living in hostels & cheap hotels so I’m unable to follow my own normal advice – my ’21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off’. So desperate times mean desperate measures. And looks like I’ve found winning solution. Going wheat free! 

Different times, different diets
I believe that different diets work for us at different times un our lives. We can’t assume that because one diet worked once for us or a friend, that’s the only possible answer. Our lives change and so I think the answers to managing our weight changes through time too.

Veg and protein. Perfect for wheat free

Veg and protein. Perfect for wheat free

I’ve really been struggling to find a diet I could do whilst traveling. Food replacement diets have worked for me in the past but are no good on the other side of the world. Slimming World has also worked for me but it relies on UK shops and being able to cook your own meals which I can’t do. Low fat isn’t going to work when it’s hard enough to order veggie food when there’s a language barrier and the shops just don’t stock it. Alternate day fasting could be an option – but to be honest it isn’t an option when meals are the only thing that break up our days. And really it’s not fair on Patrick during this trip. Even just eating wonderful, healthy Thai food and lots of fresh fruit for a month didn’t shift any extra weight. People back home have been telling me to just stop worrying about my weight. But I can’t as it makes me unhappy to be the size I am now. It’s how we feel ourselves that matters.

So I’ve decided to try and diet that is totally alien to me and what I normally do. And guess what? 2 weeks in its really working!!!

Gone wheat free
Strange as it may sound, writing this in Vietnam, but I’ve found this diet really easy here. Basically, I’ve cut out all wheat and most carbs and sugar, and don’t worry about fat or fried food. Whilst this means no rice or noodles (I know, sounds strange) its been easy for me to get meals that are veg and protein, like stir frys or omelettes. I’m snacking on low GI fruit and loads of nuts – including loads of fresh coconut and coconut water to drink – so never hungry. I’m even having full fat milk I’m coffee (just getting milk without sugar is a challenge here!!).

And I’m having a little dark 70% chocolate bar most days. Sounds alright doesn’t it. When we get to thailand I’ll also be able to have fabulous Papaya Salad too. 🙂

Changing my mind too

Hostel bunk bed living - listening to downloads on headphones is easy

Hostel bunk bed living – listening to downloads on headphones is easy

I’m also listening to a short download every day which is telling my subconscious mind that I don’t want to eat wheat or carbs and that I want to be slimmer again. It’s certainly having an effect. I have started to get bloated drinking fizzy pop and I’m getting full really quickly so want to eat a lot less. Mind you, eating with chop sticks might be helping with this too!

 

My make-shift waist measuring devise. The first week I could cut off a good piece!

My make-shift waist measuring devise. The first week I could cut off a good piece!

The results? Well I don’t have any scales so I’m monitoring my waist using a piece of string we used to tie up our mossie net in our last bungalow and a ruler app i downloaded onto the ipad! The first week I cut off about 4cm. This week just over 1. Not bad heh?

For ever?
The programme I’m following says you have to cut wheat out for ever. I’m not so sure as I successfully ate whole grains in moderate amounts whilst keeping weight off for a number of years ; indeed it’s one of my 21 Keys. So I’ll have to see what I decide to do once Im back to a size I’m happier with. But it sure is working for me at the moment.

Goes to show – different approaches work at different times in our lives.

Love your holiday and still watch your weight!

So, its holiday time again. I love summer holidays, but they can be a mare when it comes to managing my weight. And spending hours in shorts and a swimsuit isn’t good for my mood if I feel I’m bigger than I want to be. But at the same time, a holiday is not a holiday if I cant enjoy myself and food and drink is such a massive part of that. Some people even lose weight on holiday! So here are my top tips for having a great holiday and still watching your weight.


1. Got a smart phone, get an app!
My last holiday was in Portugal. So before I went I bought a translation app that could work without WiFi or 3G. I put in a load of phrases to be translated into Portuguese to help me ask for my food how I want it. So phrases like ‘Please cook in as little oil as possible’ or ‘Please do not put cheese on top’ made it really easy to order brilliant food.

2. I’ll manage the day so I can enjoy the evening….
Having lovely meals out and a fair few glasses of red wines is all part of a holiday for me. So I manage my breakfasts and lunches then I don’t worry about the evening. I took some sugar free muesli with me which I had with fruit for breakfast. I booked self catering so I could make my own lunch. When I’m not self catering I’ll buy salad stuff each day. Drink lots of water during the day and you’ll be set up nicely to enjoy your evening out.

3. Don’t compare….
Bad habit on holiday No 1. Looking at other women and thinking how much slimmer they are then me. The reality is always that some are, some aren’t. And so what?

What’s important is that we all feel good about ourselves and learn to love ourselves as we are. Remember no one else can be you. So what if they are a different size or shape?

4. When eating out still make sensible choices….
Some things are better to chose when eating out and managing your weight. Click here for a guide.

I’m a real pudding girl and holidays are no exception. In Portugal often I’d go to the ice cream stall and choose some fresh fruit covered in dark chocolate. Lovely. And I used the little freezer compartment in the fridge in our room to freeze some fruit to eat in the afternoons rather than ice-lollies. And of course I kept a nice stocked fruit bowl in our room.

 

Even with the most rubbish equipment you can still cook your own

5. Beware the all you can eat buffet….
The truth is that going all-inclusive or to all you can eat buffets everyday on holiday is going to make it really hard to manage your weight. So if you are all inclusive or going to all you can eat buffets, still try to watch what you eat and still bring your own more healthy alternatives. Use a small plate, only put small amounts on your plate at a time, take a break between going back to fill up your plate, and drink lots of water. Don’t eat just because the food is there. 

 

6. Stay active….
Even if you are going for a total chill-out holiday by the pool, its still possible to keep up some activity. Swim as much as you can and walk everywhere rather than getting lifts or a bus; in the sun its lovely and there’s nothing nicer than walking home in the sunset after a great meal and evening out.

If you can and its your kind of thing, go dancing to dance off your evening meal. And if your on holiday with the right person then remember that getting active in the bedroom uses up lots of calories; even more when its hot!!

7. Be grateful for all you eat and drink…
I believe that how we feel about things effects how our body responds. I’m convinced my body deals with food better when I feel good & not worried about what I’ve eaten. So be grateful for everything you eat or drink and for your brilliant holiday. Before you eat think about how good the food you’ll have is for you. Be determined to enjoy everything you eat and drink and to have a brilliant holiday.

x

Staying motivated when dieting

It’s sad but true that many people fall off the new year diet wagon by 14thJanuary. So if you are on a new year diet, or trying to keep weight off, and you are finding it hard to stay motivated, read on. Staying motivated can be a challenge but it is possible. So here are some tips to help you keep motivated and keep on track with your new year diet.

Courtesy of Will Merydith

  1. If you do go off course don’t give up or think that means you cannot diet. Just accept you wobbled a bit and decide to get back on track from this very moment. Don’t beat yourself up – instead concentrate your energy on keeping on with the diet in future.
  2. Remember that most people don’t lose the weight they put on each Christmas. So year on year it just piles on. So its important if you want to lose the weight to try and shift it right away.
  3. Have you lost any weight or bulk at all in the first two weeks? Smile and feel positive as you think about even the smallest amount that you might have lost.
  4. Write down all the reasons why you went on the diet in the first place. Keep this list to hand and add new ones as you think about them. When you are funding it hard look back at the list.
  5. Think about all the food on your diet that you do love. Smile as you think about them and the fact that you can eat them on your diet. 
  6. Remember a diet is not for ever. Take it one small step at a time. You don’t have to conjure up motivation for the rest of your diet – just the next few hours or day.
  7. Join in with group activities, go to classes, call on your friends, do a hypnosis CD, download an app to help you monitor your weight and food. Take inspiration from others. That’s what Fiona who regularly contributes to my Facebook page does; she recomends Dietgirl. Do anything that will help you keep on track. 
  8. Visualise your end goal – how you will look when you reach your target weight. Get out photos of you the size you want to be or get a picture of someone else and put your head on it so you have a positive image to concentrate on. Make this your phone home screen or computer desktop and smile and feel positive everytime you look at it.
  9. Up your exercise – even little things like doing  a short 10 minute walk or a quick swim can make all the difference. Exercise makes you feel better and helps to supress appetite. And obviously it burns off calories too!
  10. Lastly – if you are finding the diet you have chosen really hard work, have a good think about whether it’s the right diet for you. If you want some hints about this have a look at my last blog post.

So good luck. And keep us updated about how you are doing or sharing any other motivation tips you have.
Love your body and love yourself.

Peg x

How to choose the right New Year diet for you

January is the month when most people go on a diet spurred on by new years resolutions to lose weight and regain a slimmer figure. Most of us will have put on weight over Christmas and sadly most will not lose it. The start of the new year is a great time to decide to, at the least, shift any new festive season weight, and maybe to shift a few extra pounds as well. But how do you decide what is the best diet for you? And how can you keep motivated when your diet becomes hard?

January is ‘diet month’
Research suggests that 30 days is enough time for most of us to develop new habits. So if you tell yourself that January will be diet month this may help. 30 days is really not a long time to try something different as this brilliant (and short) talk on TED.com explains.

Decide which diet based on your habits and likes and dislikes:
We also know that people are more likely to diet successfully if you do one of the formalised diets, and especially if you have a group to go to or a way to check in with your diet and actual weight loss progress. But how do you decide from the plethora of diets out there? I am not aligned to any particular diet as I think different diets work for different people. But we all need impartial information, so, bearing that in mind here are some ideas to help you decide:

  • Think about what you find hardest when dieting. If you can’t stand being hungry or find that when you are all you think about is fattening food then go for a diet which allows you to eat as much as you want of some foods – for example Slimming World, the Atkins or Dukan diets. Remember though that which foods you can eat will be restricted. So if you are the kind of person who needs to have a taste of lots of different foods and you can cope with eating just small amounts of foods you like then choose a diet which allows this in small portions, such as Weight Watchers or many of the diets you find in magazines.
  • Think about how much weight you want to lose and how long you want to lose it over. To lose a lot of weight quickly you’ll probably need to do what’s called a Very Low Calorie Diet (VCLD) such as Lighterlife, Cambridge Diet or Celebrity Slim. I did Lighterlife and it was brilliant for me because you get counselling as well but you do need to be really committed to not eat other food and you need to think about what you will do afterwards to not just put the weight back on afterwards.
  • Think about what happens after the diet. Do you also need your diet to help you change your eating and activity habits after you finish the diet? If so think about what it is you need to change and choose a diet which will help you do this. Or it maybe you decide to mix diets – to choose a diet which is not too challenging at first to get that initial weight loss and then to change to one which will help you change your habits afterwards. You could also choose a diet which has a maintenance phase such as the South Beach Diet, or a Low Gi diet which is a lifelong eating plan.

If you need support from others choose a diet that offers a group near you and at times that suit you. Most of the big diet companies have loads of local groups.

My choice:
Well I need to shift about half a stone so I’ve decided to start with a protein and veg based diet – I’ll try the Slimming World Success Express but with no carbs to speed my weight loss for a couple of weeks. If its going well and I’m finding it possible to stick to then I’ll stay with this. If not, I’ll go back to Lighterlife and do some counseling as well to support the weight loss.

Lastly – don’t give up!
If you choose a diet and you find it’s not for you, don’t assume that you can’t diet and just give up. Instead, sit down and think about what you find hard and then look at other diets to see if they might be easier for you to stick with.

Remember everyone has bad days when dieting so don’t let a bad day be the end of yours. Don’t beat yourself up, accept you’ve had a bad day, smile and just tell yourself it will be better tomorrow.

Good luck and let us know on here how you get on!

How to survive Xmas Tip no 5 – Dont panic!!

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 5:
Don’t panic! You always have January to deal with any extra festive weight.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

Even if you follow all these tips you may still end up putting on SOME extra weight. It’s pretty inevitable if you eat or drink more than usual, you eat different foods and do less exercise. So don’t beat yourself up or give yourself a hard time; accept it’s inevitable and decide that you will deal with it in January. BUT MAKE SURE YOU DO! Research suggests that most people don’t lose the weight they gain over Christmas – and year on year that could add up.

From just cutting things out through to a full-on diet
For some people, all they will need to do to get back to normal is to cut out the extras they’ve been having – such as cakes, chocolates, take-aways or even alcohol – for a few weeks.

Other people may need to go a bit further and cut out foods like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice for a few weeks. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. A bolognaise sauce or a chilli can be just as good on a bed of salad leaves as on pasta or rice. Just swapping your morning toast for a bowl of porridge may be easier than you think, and it will keep you feeling fuller for longer. If you do have carbs such as bread, pasta or rice, always keep them brown as wholegrains don’t turn to fat in the same way as refined carbs.

You may decide you need to go on a formal diet. Research shows that people who follow a recognised programme where they are part of a group or structured programme do better than those who try to go it alone. Remember there are loads of different diets and different ones suit different people. So think about the diet you choose carefully and whether it is one that will suit you. If you try one and it’s not for you, look at others rather than totally just giving up; there’s bound to be one that suits you.

Go to rule no 4 -Dont slump – find ways to be active

Surviving Christmas & manage your weight – Rule no 4

 

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 4:
Don’t slump – still try and keep active.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

It’s just too tempting to be a couch potato over the holiday period. We’re often indoors for longer and our usual routines go out of the window. So be conscious of this and try and find ways to get as active as you can during the holiday period.

  • Try to avoid internet shopping – going to the supermarket uses up calories. See filling your shopping trolley as a workout and enjoy! Can you make shopping for presents a day out? Go by public transport, walk round loads of shops, carry bags and enjoy!
  • Go for family walks. Wrap up warm and all go out together and make it a lovely social occasion. Make it a part of your holiday.
  • Play games with the kids and get as active as possible – really go for it on the Wii. Choose active games rather than sitting watching the TV.
  • If you go to parties,  be the king or queen of the dance-floor. Boogie on down all night and burn off those calories.
  • Find other little ways to be as active as possible – if you’re on holiday from work,  you have more time – so use it! Park your car a bit away when you go out. Do small shops at local shops and walk. Use public transport as much as you can. Keep things upstairs so you have to keep running up stairs to get them. Get amorous! Having sex is a great way to burn off calories.

Go to rule no 3 – Plan, plan, plan!

Surviving Christmas & manage your weight – Rule no 3!

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 3:
Plan, plan, plan. Plan all your meals and food throughout the festive season, including the days after Christmas. Balance sugary, fatty high calorie food and drink with other low fat, high protein, high fibre fat burning meals.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

Do a meal plan for the whole festive season, including after Christmas. Think about your meals across a day and week so that if you know you’ll be at parties and/or eating out and eating high-calorie, sugary, or fatty food you can balance these against other meals which are fat-burning and slow-release. You can download a Festive Season Meal Planner here.

Remember that not all calories are equal. Some foods turn to fat more quickly than others (such as refined, fatty, sugary and many processed foods) and should be avoided. But others, like low GI foods and fat-burning foods keep you feeling fuller for longer, help boost your metabolism or take more energy to digest. So you need to fill up with these foods and plan meals that include:

  • Loads of fruit and vegetables – try to fill over half your plate with vegetables.
  • Lean protein – lean meat or veggie alternatives such as soya, quorn, pulses and nuts.
  • High-fibre – go for brown over white. Avoid all refined carbs such as white pasta, rice, flour, bread etc and instead choose brown pasta, rice, bread etc. Use oats and oatmeal in food where you can – it’s often easy to swap flour for oatmeal.
  • Low-fat dairy – such as skimmed milk or fat-free yoghurt.
  • Use as little fat as you can – choose virgin olive or coconut oil when you need oil.

Planning your meals will also mean you’re less likely to end up having take-aways. It’s easy to think they are quicker, cheaper and easier, but in fact I don’t think they are any of those things. They are also more likely to make you put on weight. So when you plan your meals, plan a number of really quick easy meals for the times you can’t be bothered – such as stir-fry, pasta or quick rice dishes like chilli. Another good hint is to make extra when you do cook and freeze it, so all you need to do is pop into the microwave.

Manage your sugar rushes
Remember that when you have a lot of sugar it brings on sugar rushes which means you are more likely to crave more sugary food. So on Boxing Day and the days after Christmas, plan to eat as much slow-release Low GI and fat-burning food as possible. This will help you manage your blood sugar and help to reduce sugar cravings. Get Low GI and Fat Burning foods here.

Go to rule no 2 – Christmas is a social time.

Surviving Christmas & manage your weight – Rule no 2!

 

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 2:
Christmas is a social time – so think about how you will deal with people who you know find it hard when you are careful about your food and drink. Just because others are eating and drinking doesn’t mean you have to.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

Unfortunately we all know someone who finds it hard to accept other people’s decisions about food and drink. For example people who want you to eat loads – like Mrs Doyle in Father Ted (Go on, go on, you will, you will, you will!) This can be really hard if you are staying with others over Christmas and you feel you have to follow their food and drink habits.

So remember that mostly, this is THEIR issue, not yours. Think about anyone in your life with whom, when you spend time with them, you find it hard to keep to your food and drink decisions. Have a think about why this is and try to talk to them BEFORE the holiday period about why you want to make certain food and drink choices, about how important this is to you, and ask them to help you keep to these decisions. Offer to sort out your own food if this will make it easier. How about asking for this as your Christmas present! Remember, just because other people eat or drink to excess this doesn’t mean you have to.

Go to rule no 1 – Christmas dinner is not the problem.

How to survive Christmas and keep weight off! Rule No 1.

Peg Alexander worried about XmasAre you dreaming of a Lite Christmas? How not to be the Christmas pudding!

Christmas is the hardest time of year for many when it comes to watching your weight or keeping weight off. And if you are dieting you may as well forget it! Putting it bluntly, many people will put on weight over the festive season (studies suggest an average of around 4lb with some saying up to 10lb!). So is it possible to still have a brilliant Christmas and New Year without becoming the Christmas pudding yourself? Can you indulge without the budge?

Of course it is!!!!
So how do you make sure you don’t become the Christmas pudding but don’t feel like you are missing out on everything? I recommend following my Five Golden Rules of Christmas….

You can hear a lighthearted short radio interview about the Five Golden Rules by clicking here.
You can also check out a more factual interview by clicking here.

So what are the Five Golden Rules of Christmas?

Well over the next few days I’ll be sharing a Golden Rule each day….. in writing and on video. So here goes.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 1:
Christmas dinner is not the problem – it’s all the parties, events, mince pies, chocolates, alcohol and extras that happen during the festive season.

Click here to watch the video.

In the weeks running up to Christmas and between Christmas and New Year it’s party time! But that means nibbles, buffet food, mince pies, cakes, sweets and chocolates – and loads of extra alcohol.

So you have to think about how are you going to deal with this. Staying at home is not an option. Instead work out which of these things you can’t do without, and then make deals with yourself about what – and how much – you’ll have. So for example I’m not bothered about crisps or buffet food but I find it hard to resist chocolate and cake. So I’ll allow myself one or two per party and not eat the stuff I don’t really want just because it’s there. And when I do have cakes and chocs, I really enjoy them!! And fill up with low fat food before you go to parties so you are less tempted to pick.

Are mince pies a problem for you?
If so, accept it and work round it. Many shop-bought mince pies have high levels of sugar and fat. Processed food is more likely to turn into fat on you than home-made. So if you love mince pies, make your own and take them with you to parties. Click here for a quick and scrummy no fat or sugar added recipe. Then you can still have them – but manage your weight. You might make yourself popular with your host as well!

You really need to watch alcohol intake
Alcohol represents empty calories. It has no nutritional value at all but contains plenty of calories. It’s very easy to drink too much over the festive period. So monitor how much you are drinking and think of ways to cut down. Alternate between alcohol and soft drinks – just watch out how much sugar there is in some fruit drinks.

Think about what else you will be eating
Try to fill up at breakfast with a bowl of home-cooked porridge with fruit and nuts (avoiding quick cooking oats). If you go to a lunch or tea-time party and there are loads of snacks but you know you’ll probably end up going out to eat that night, then avoid the snacks. And when you go out to eat, think carefully about what you choose. Click here to some advice about what to choose.

Don’t be scared to ask for your own version of the Christmas menu
If you go to a party with a set menu think carefully about what you choose, by using the eating-out guide. Even if you have to chose from a set Christmas menu don’t be afraid to ask for your meal to be adapted so its lower-fat. Choose a low fat option for your starter and pudding (or at least one of them, such as salad without dressing to start or fruit for pudding).

On average, people consume 4000 calories on Christmas day
On Christmas day we drink lots and eat endless snacks, sweets – plus the big dinner. Just a few small chocolates add up – there are between 40 and 60 calories in many individual chocolates, so keep a count of how many you munch; it’s just too easy to pop them in your mouth without thinking. I keep them out of reach, for example in a cupboard. That way you have to think about everyone single one you have.

Make your Christmas meal that bit kinder too
It will always help if think about the calories of your Christmas dinner and to try and reduce the impact of your Christmas meal. Some handy tips for stuffing the turkey, not you, include…..

  • Turkey is a fat-burning food. Avoid the skin and fill up your plate with turkey breast and veggies.
  • If you are vegetarian think about a low-fat alternative, such as quorn or soya. If you have nut roast, watch how much butter you put in and use wholemeal bread crumbs.
  • Think about mixing roast potatoes with lower GI boiled new potatoes or sweet potatoes. You can roast potatoes using low-fat spray. Always avoid potatoes cooked in goose fat.
  • Don’t put butter on your veggies even if everyone else is having them.
  • Cook some extra stuffing outside of the turkey so it’s not soaked with turkey fat.
  • Avoid sausage stuffing and also cut back on the sausages and pigs in blankets.
  • Make some low-fat gravy for yourself. Or if you have gravy made from the turkey juice, reduce the fat by putting it in the fridge and removing the fat.
  • Make your Christmas pudding lower fat – avoid beef suet and use extra fruit instead.
  • Think about the sauces you have on your pudding. Can you swap your normal custard for low-fat? Try yogurt rather than cream or ice-cream or only a small amount of brandy butter or even brandy custard.

And finally – remember just because there are certain foods and drinks around, it doesn’t mean you have to consume them!

Keep checking to see the other five Golden Rules.

Love mince pies? Then make your own!

mince pie muffins cookedOne of the many lovely things about Christmas is mince pies. They are scrummy. And very plentiful. From now on there may well be mince pies at meetings, at gatherings, when you go for a cup of tea or coffee at a friends. But sadly, many will be very fattening and will turn to fat on you! It really is the case that one mince pie could hurt. Indeed, you may need to walk about 4 miles to walk off just one mince pie! So if you are watching your weight then you need to think carefully about how many you can eat this festive season.

Many mince pies will be shop bought, and most shop bought goods come with more calories which turn more quickly to fat than home-made or unprocessed food. But as we know Christmas is not a time to deny yourself everything. So here is my solution. If you love mince pies, make your own, and take them to places where you know there will be.

This is just one suggestion from my new 5 Golden Rules of Christmas which I’ll be sending out in coming days. In the meantime, here is a lovely, quick, easy and lower fat/sugar free mince pie recipe.

So enjoy!

Low fat and sugar mince pies

For the mincemeat:
500g apples (use cooking apples if you can)
900g mixed dried fruit
3 tsp mixed spice
600ml cider
2 tbsp brandy, whisky or rum.

For the pastry:
1 packets of filo pastry sheets

 

To make the mincemeat:

mincemeat1. Grate the apple and put into a pan with the mixed dried fruit. Add the mixed spice and cider and stir well.

2. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has almost gone and the mixture is soft and pulpy.

3. Stir in the brandy, whisky or rum and leave to cool.

 

To make into mince pies:
You can either use a small muffin tray to make open pies or you can make parcels.

Using a muffin tray:

mince pie muffin with filo pastry1. Spray with some fry light.

2. Cut the filo pastry into squares. Then use 2 or 3 squares depending on the size of your muffin cases. Place the first square over a cup and mould. Then take the second and put at an angle to the first and again mould. Do the same with any third sheet.

3. Bake at gas mark 4 or 180c for 10 mins.

4. Spoon in the mincemeat.

5. Bake for a further 12 to 15 minutes. Keep checking to see when they are ready. If your muffin tin is large you may need to bake for a further 5 minutes.

 

To make parcels:

mincepie parcel uncooked1. Spray a non stick baking sheet with fry-light

2. Use 2 or 3 squares of file depending on how thick you would like your pastry.

3. Place a couple of spoonfuls of mincemeat in the centre of the square.

4. Bundle up into a nice parcel.

5. Bake at gas mark 3½ or 150c until the tops are brown but the bottoms of the parcels are also cooked. I baked them for around 20 minutes; larger parcels may need more time to bake the bottoms.