Monday, 12 October 2009

Sugar and Spice - Part Two....

Well, in preparation for Christmas baking preparations I made  another batch of marmalade last week - so with marmalade and cinnamon sugar all ready, this weekend was time to make  mincemeat and Christmas cake!

I  am sorry to say that I have never made either before myself as I have always been busy working but as we are having a 'Back Street ' Christmas not a high street one this year I have promised myself that I will make as much as I can and purchase what I need from individual traders this year whenever and wherever I can - I will keep you informed of how I do!
 I am determined to boycott the high street if I can. Not because I don't LOVE the likes of Marks and Spencers but because;
a) I live in rural community and want to support it
b) We are living on one wage so I need to make every penny count. 
c) because I want  to capture the true spirit of Christmas by making it as authentic as I can.  It will be my first festive season  not working(apart from markets) in over twenty years and  I want to make this Christmas a truly homespun one.

Homespun Christmas.......

So I started with making the Mincemeat, I am quite an adhoc cook at the best of times so generally only follow recipes quite loosely, but as I am a novice at this I decided to try and follow a recipe in MRS.BEETON'S CHRISTMAS  that I liked the look of  - though it did end up as a slight adaptation of what she actually writes!

I used: -
  • 2 cooking Apples
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1lb (450g) each of raisins and sultanas
  • 250g of Suet
  • 2lbs of Soft Brown Sugar ( I used cinnamon sugar)
  • 1/2 a jar of home-made marmalade
  • 5 fl oz (call it 150 ml) of brandy or Cointreau- your choice!(I use Cointreau because I like the orange flavour)
I then followed her instructions - pretty much! Starting with baking the apples in the oven for an hour - then adding everything else into a bowl and leaving it for two days - stirring occasionally before spooning it into sterilised kilner jars and popping in the fridge. 

The final result........

Now onto the Christmas Cake which this time I followed with only a few personal adjustments.....

Ingredients used: -
  • 7 oz Butter
  • 7 oz Sugar ( I used a mix of soft dark and soft light)
  • 7oz plain flour (with a pinch of salt and 2 tsps mixed spice mixed in - I used cinnamon and ginger too )
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 tbs of Brandy (or was it 6....)
  • 7oz of Currants
  • 7oz of Sultanas
  • 5 oz of Raisins
  • 5 oz of Apricots( instead of candied peel)
  • 3 oz of Marmalade with lots of the peel
  • 2 oz of Flaked Almonds
Cream the first two ingredients together, stir into the flour, then add the eggs and brandy and stir like crazy.  When it looks good, add everything else and stir thoroughly.  Then into a tin lined with greaseproof.....

and then set it to cook: -

  • 45 mins @ gas mark 3
  • And then 1 hour @ gas mark 2
  • And then 1 hour @ gas mark 1

Until finally.....!

It smelled wonderful - so fingers crossed that it tastes ok too...... I am sure as with everything else that I am discovering now I have the time to be a 'fifties housewife' that all you talented people have been doing all this for years while bringing up your families and working too! But as this is all new to me excuse my enthusiasm!!
This Saturday I am at Topsham Market but the following one onto Christmas Pudding....

Warm Wishes for a wonderful week

Cally xxx


Kelly said...

thank you so much for visiting my blog and for the kind words you left there!

I love Mrs Beeton books! I think I have them all! best not make anything from them for the time being though! ha ha

Lots of Love

Kelly xxx

Blueberry Heart said...


just popped by via the swap comments page and I have to say your blog is good enough to eat! Lovely! Popping over to your christmas one now for some early festive inspiration!!

BH x

Sal said...

Hi Cally,
Hope all is going well for you.
Thank you for your kind comments on my blog when I was ill...very much appreciated!
Love,Sal ;-)

Pixiedust said...

My you have been busy! It all looks scrummy, I really must get on with my xmas cake. Thanks for visiting my blog, its always lovely to meet new bloggers. ((((hugs)))) Pixiedust xxx

Chani said...

Thanks for your comment!
I should try your cake recipe, this looks so good! I love the Americana decoration you have.
Love, Chani