Christmas swirl scones

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Last year I shared my Cinnamon Swirl Scone recipe with you and was blown away by the positive feedback. This is an even more Christmassy version of it, using good old Christmas mincemeat. Like most of my recipes, it’s quick and easy, and can also be made ahead of time and chilled or frozen raw ready to be baked when impromptu, but welcome, Christmas guests turn up.

Make a basic scone dough like the one in the Cinnamon Swirl Scone recipe (I doubled it for this recipe as I was feeding a crowd), and roll out to a rough rectangular shape.

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Spread roughly 450g mincemeat over the dough leaving about an inch gap at one side.

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Roll up, wrap in greaseproof paper and chill for an hour, or freeze for use at a later date.

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Slice and bake at 180oC for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden.

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Slather in icing, or if you’re feeling very indulgent, icing sugar mixed with Baileys for a proper taste of Christmas.

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Our first Contact the Elderly tea party

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Well, this afternoon I hosted Preston’s first Contact the Elderly tea party in conjunction with Full Life Church . It was such a privilege and so incredible to see just what a difference a simple afternoon tea with others in similar situations can make to an elderly person who perhaps isn’t able to get out and about, or who doesn’t have local friends or family.

As you may well know, I love to bake, so used the opportunity to make a few different things to ensure there was something for everyone to enjoy.

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Scones, of course, are a given at any tea party, and I served mine with raspberry jam and dollops of clotted cream.

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These mini filo and creme pat fruit tartlets are also a crowd pleaser, and are so easy to make. Check out the recipe here.

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I came across a recipe for a Bakewell Cheesecake this week which I thought I’d have a shot at and it turned out pretty well. The recipe is from the BBC website here.

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Cute little chocolate fudge cupcakes added an extra touch of kitsch, while a blonde spiced fruit cake brought an element of old school.

As for savoury, I kept it simple just doing finger sandwiches with classic fillings to suit all tastes. Ham, mustard and cucumber, egg mayo and cress, smoked salmon and cream cheese and mature cheddar and tomato. A few sausage rolls, cheese straws and pork pies finished it off nicely.

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Six guests arrived escorted by their volunteer drivers, and they enjoyed a tot of sherry in the lounge before sitting at the table for tea.

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The food was enjoyed almost as much as the conversation.

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I was presented with a Contact the Elderly pin, which I will no doubt wear with pride!

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This afternoon highlighted a few things to me:
1) Even the simplest things, such as inviting someone to your home for tea and cake can make a huge difference to them.
2) It’s a sad fact, but there is a demand for this, and there are far more isolated and lonely older people than we might think.
3) Contact the Elderly really does provide a lifeline for so many, and you can be involved. It doesn’t take much. If you think you might be able to host a tea party once a month, or drive a guest to and from the host’s house  then please have a look at the Contact the Elderly website and do something amazing! You won’t regret it, I can vouch for that.