The “C” word (part 2) aka Christmas Cake

Some Christmas food preparation needs to be done long in advance of the day. And today, I am talking Christmas Cake!

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I am not usually a big fan of fruit cake, but after years of persevering, I found a Christmas cake recipe that I really do like.

This recipe is a two-day process – first the dried fruit needs to be soaked overnight in a mixture of port and mulled wine spices.

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I have only done minor tweaking on this recipe – I loathe glace cherries, and so instead I add dried blueberries and cranberries to the raisins, sultanas, candied citrus peel, prunes and fresh ginger. And I add walnuts. I mean, why, oh why, would you have a fruit cake that didn’t have nuts in it!!

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This recipe makes a huge cake, and one of the joys of it is that it doesn’t need “feeding” like a traditional Christmas cake does. Once it has cooled, it gets tightly wrapped up in baking parchment and tin foil, and put away to mature, whilst I decide how to decorate it. I usually bake the cake in September or October, and it will last – well wrapped – for months.

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It is a bit cracked, like me, but whilst cooking has filled the house with the lovely, spicy, warm delicious fragrance of Christmas.

 

The “C” Word (Part 1)

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Yes, it’s that time of year when the dreaded (or maybe not) “C” word crops up. Christmas. It’s really not long to go and so the preparation begins.

I am not religious and therefore Christmas holds no special relevance for me. However I do like to have certain days in the year which are unlike all the others. Whether new traditions are created, celebrated, new foods made, or it is a day for spontaneity. Life can drag us all down, and to have a few days here and there where your routine is different, you eat different food, and have something to look forward to is a good thing in my book.

So, back to Christmas. I enjoy the tinsel, the glitter, the lights and I love the food. Christmas cake (which will be my part 2 of “The “C” Word” and Christmas mincemeat are the two food items which need to be prepared in advance. Long in advance. And, before you ask, no, I don’t do Christmas pudding. Not in the traditional sense anyway. But watch this space for part 3…….!!

Mince pies are lovely, home-made mince pies are even lovelier, and so, too, I have discovered is home-made mince.

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I found a recipe I liked and have only done minor tweaking here. This one is a VERY boozy Christmas mince.

With raisins, currants, cranberries, sultanas, almonds, lemon, Bramley apple, dried candied citrus peel, cinnamon, mixed spice, Demerara and dark muscovado sugars, rum, brandy and Amaretto………..sigh.

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Now I just need the willpower to leave it for a few months.

 

Rhubarb Crumble

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I haven’t blogged for a few weeks. I’ve been struggling with what I wanted to say, and whether I should say it. I haven’t managed to haul myself out of that place yet. But I did bake. And when you are feeling low, tired, sore, confused, lost…..what better to bake than comfort food. In this case, comfort pudding.

A colleague gave me some rhubarb and so my mind was set.  Rhubarb crumble. A warm pudding, crumbly, crunchy topping and soft, comforting and slightly tart fruit filling. Served with custard of course. I do prefer not to add too much sugar, a little sharpness from the fruit is always good.

I threw some braeburn apples into the fruit mix because apples are always good to “flesh out” a crumble and rhubarb cooks down to almost nothing, so it needed something extra.

The crumble topping was standard, and I always add oats and walnuts because it helps with the texture.

The custard?  I confess I bought ready-made custard. No-one’s perfect!