Wednesday, 18 November 2015

out and about :: Christmas cake, blue eggs and Amaryllis

We've been to London and West Sussex, and I had flu or something. It was my birthday and I had lots of lovely gifts; a magazine subscription, tons of bulbs and garden things,  a hand painted silk scarf and expensive makeup (yes for me) a Persian silver pendant, oh and some of my favourite Burt's Bees products...Lots of nice things and the theatre and meals with sparkly wine, and it was lovely (except the flu bit). And back home we've been decorating again and things are feeling even more like home. We did our first spot of Christmas shopping in Hereford and had supper at my favourite Wagamama's, and don't faint, I've even made the Christmas cake. I've asked Ahmad to secret it away once it's cooled down and parcelled up, or I will be bound to cut just a little slice from it to try, and then it will be down the slippery slope again...

Christmas cake

  • 8 ounces of butter or alternative
  • 1lb of fruit. I use a mixture of green raisins and sultanas, chopped deseeded dates and undyed cherries. I also like nuts in fruit cake so have a handful of chopped walnuts.
  • 5 ounces of brown sugar
  • 1 level teaspoonful mixed spice. I also add ground cinnamon and a little ginger.
  • 1 level teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda
  • 10 ounces of SR flour
  • 2 beaten eggs.
  • 8 ounces of water
  • I add Vanilla extract and a little almond extract too.
  • It's nice if making for a special occassion to add some rum or liqueur or fortified wine to give a lovely deep grown-up flavoured cake.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan and add all the other ingredients except the flour, eggs and nuts if using.
  • Simmer gently for about twenty minutes
  • Allow to cool and then add the flour and eggs and nuts
  • Mix well
  • Transfer to an 8inch cake tin lined with 2 sheets of paper
  • Cook at 300f/150c for one hour, plus for fifteen minutes without the paper until nicely browned.
  • Place on a rack to cool.
  • Once cooled decorate to your hearts content...

...Oh and I know Christmas things are in order when it's still November and I've already got a white Amaryllis on the kitchen window sill...Happy days...

How are your holiday preparations coming along?

Love and amaryllis,


  1. Belated happy birthday wishes to you Deb! It sounds like you had a wonderful day (except for the 'flu). Your new house is coming along so lovely. I like the way you decorate. And that Christmas cake recipe looks scrumptious. I am knitting furiously for Christmas, and I have picked up a few small gifts, but there is still MUCH to do in the weeks ahead. No amaryllis here yet, but my Christmas cactus is blooming. : )

    1. Oh thank you Susan. The house is getting there bit by bit and hopefully everything will have found it's own place before Christmas. The fruit cake is really delicious, especially if I add lots of dates and un-dyed cherries and a little homemade wine. It's a good feeling when you manage to get things done slowly so you can enjoy the process. I bet the cactus looks beautiful.

  2. happy birthday and I hope you are all better now!! Gorgeous photos :)

  3. The cake sounds wonderful (and a lot like a holiday spice cake I grew up with, though ours was with mincemeat)...and happy belated birthday!
    I am horribly behind in Chanukah/Xmas knitting and making because it's such a busy time of the semester...well, I'll either somehow catch up or hand out some IOUs!!!
    Be well!--Erin

    1. Hi, good to hear from you Erin. Ooh mincemeat, that sounds amazing. I must try and look that one up. IOU's...what a good idea.
      You too thank you,