A tasty Christmas

18

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is only a month away and, as usual, I haven’t made my Christmas cake yet. I always leave it until after my son’s birthday on 27th November but, trust me, it’s not too late to have a moist and flavoursome cake.

If you fancy trying my recipe, here it is :

Ingredients:

For the cake:
– 450g (1lb) mixed dried fruit
– 60g (2oz) glacé cherries, halved
– Grated rind of one lemon
– 2 tbsp brandy
– 140g (5oz) plain flour
– 1 tsp mixed spice
– 30g (1oz) ground almonds
– 115g (4oz) soft dark brown sugar
– 115g (4oz) margarine
– 1 tbsp black treacle
– 3 medium free range eggs

For the icing:
– 3 egg whites
– 450g (1lb) icing sugar

Method:

1. Double line a 18cm (7″) round cake tin with greaseproof paper and tie a double thickness of brown paper around the outside of the tin, making sure both lots of paper rise 7.5cm (3″) above the rim of the tin

2. Put the dried fruit, glace cherries, lemon rind and brandy in a large bowl and mix together well (you can even leave the mixture to stand overnight)

3. Sift the flour and mixed spice into another large bowl. Add the ground almonds, sugar, margarine, black treacle and eggs and beat together for 2 – 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth and glossy. It shouldn’t be too runny, if it is you can add another 30g (1oz) of flour to thicken it up a little

4. Using a large metal spoon, add the fruit to the flour mixture and fold until the fruit is evenly distributed

5. Let everyone in the family have a stir and make a wish!

6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top over with the back of the spoon. Bake in the centre of a preheated, cool oven (140C/275F/gas mark 1) for two and a half hours. If the cake is evenly risen and starting to shrink from the sides of the tin, then it’s cooked. If not, pop it back into the oven for another 15 – 20 minutes

7. When the cake is cold remove it from the tin but leave the greaseproof paper in place. Using a thin, sharp bladed knife, make about a dozen holes in the cake and spoon over 4 – 6 tablespoons of brandy. Cover the top of the cake with a disc of greaseproof paper and fold sides over it to complete the wrapping. Then wrap in tin foil and store upside down in a cool place.

8. Two days before Christmas, unwrap and cover the top and sides with shredless marmalade, then cover with shop-bought golden marzipan

9. On Christmas Eve, make royal icing using the egg whites and icing sugar to form a stiff mixture, then cover the cake and decorate

I also make my own pastry for mince pies and quiches etc., but if you don’t have the time or the inclination, check out some of the delights from The Real Pie Company – their pastry is absolutely gorgeous!

We also sell Churchill’s biscuits and I was thinking you could use them as a base for making ‘melting snowmen’.

my-snowman-biscuitsI made an orange butter biscuit base but most flat biscuits would work and they are so simple to do.

Make up some glacé icing using icing sugar and a little water to form a fluid paste. Put a teaspoonful of icing on each biscuit, position a white marshmallow and decorate as pictured using tubes of coloured icing. If you’ve got children or grandchildren, get them to help with the decorating.

If you are looking for Christmas presents, our Black Friday event is a great place to find a deal or two. The event is 100 hours long, until midnight on Monday, and (as well as the on-air deals) keep checking our website for new additions throughout the event.

The beauty Today’s Special Value selected to be part of the event is from L’Occitane – and it’s a biggie.

loccitane-todays-special-value-214863

There are three fragrance options; Floral (rose and lavender), Fresh (verbena) and Warm (almond).

It is already available on our website here and is under £50. As you can see from my picture the gift box is packed with great products for a lovely Christmas present but you could also split it into smaller gifts if you wanted to. I have a show with our guest Alexis on Sunday morning at 11am, and I’m hoping that the Christmas crackers with hand creams in them and the stylish baubles will still be available.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a picture of my Christmas cactus in bud, so I thought I would follow it up with one in full bloom.

my-christmas-cactus

flowersIt’s a shame it’s a bit early as I think the flowers will have died off by the big day! And whilst on the subject of flowers, how gorgeous are these?

I won’t embarrass her my mentioning her name, but one of our beauty guests sent me these because she knew I was anxious about a hospital recall I had after a recent mammogram.

Thankfully, the further X rays and ultrasound scan revealed nothing untoward, but it reminded me of the importance of regular checks – early detection usually has a better outcome.

The flowers reminded me that I am very fortunate to have met some truly kind and caring people through my job at QVC.

Before I finish, The Shadow of Her Smile is now available to read for free on my website www.juliarobertsauthor.com if you’ve got a spare few minutes to fill.

Enjoy the weekend,
Much love,
Julia xx

18 Comments

  1. Christine November 25, 2016 at 5:47 pm -  Reply

    Hi got my TSV thanks for tip. Cake looks easy to make. Got mine m&s. Ha Ha.

    Take care x

    • Julia Roberts November 30, 2016 at 2:50 pm -  Reply

      Hi Christine
      I hope your L’Occitane TSV has arrived by now & that you are enjoying it, unless of course it is a gift for someone else. Maybe try my Christmas cake recipe next year?
      Love
      Julia x

  2. candy November 25, 2016 at 7:28 pm -  Reply

    Julia i have been making your Christmas cake for the past 4 christmases it is lovely, but this year i have a new oven electric is the temperature of 140c for a fan oven which mine is. or is that for a conventional oven sorry to put you on the spot but i don’t want to spoil what really is a lovely christmas cake.

    • Julia Roberts November 30, 2016 at 2:55 pm -  Reply

      Hi Candy
      I’m pleased to hear you have been having good results with my Christmas cake recipe. The 140c temperature is for a regular oven – the normal recommendation is to reduce the temperature slightly for a fan assisted oven – maybe 5 or ten degrees? Hope it will still taste as good
      Love
      Julia x

  3. Irene delamere November 26, 2016 at 12:44 am -  Reply

    Thanks for recipe will make my cake on weekend glad you are ok after your check up x

    • Julia Roberts November 30, 2016 at 2:57 pm -  Reply

      Hi Irene
      I hope your cake turns out okay – haven’t done mine yet as feeling a bit under the weather.
      Only mentioned the check-up to remind other people to do the same but thanks for your kind thoughts
      Love
      Julia x

  4. Liz November 26, 2016 at 9:18 am -  Reply

    Julia I know just how you feel being recalled for extra X-rays after a Mammogram its happened to me, and such relief when you know you are OK… its a very frightening experience for all Women, but pleased to hear you are OK!

    I noticed on your recipe on the snowman biscuits you have put on a Marshmallow, these are not usually Vegetarian as they have gelatine unless you have found Vegan/Vegetarian Marshmallows? I know they exist but hard to find!

    Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year!

    Liz x

    • Julia Roberts November 30, 2016 at 3:02 pm -  Reply

      Hi Liz
      Yes it is quite scary being recalled ( they say 1 in 20) but good to know they are doing their job so efficiently.
      Like most things these days you can get veggie marshmallows – didn’t mention it as I think some people get tired of me saying I’m a vegetarian ( technically a lacto-vegetarian as I do gave some animal produce). I actually made those for a charity cake sale for Bloodwise a couple of years ago so I didn’t actually eat them – they looked nice though & the biscuits were yummy!
      Love
      Julia x

  5. Susanne November 26, 2016 at 3:01 pm -  Reply

    Julia – IMPORTANT INFO FOR YOU.
    If you pinch the flowers out of your Christmas Cactus the moment they start to shrivel, the plant will be rejuvenated and produce even more flowers. Mine is absolutely huge and gets bigger every year – do try it.

    Happy pinching
    Susanne x

    • Julia Roberts November 30, 2016 at 3:05 pm -  Reply

      Hi Susanne
      Thanks for the tip re pinching which I already do – hopefully it will keep on flowering although I’m not sure I want it much bigger, it’s pretty huge already.
      Love
      Julia x

  6. Jill November 28, 2016 at 12:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Glad you are ok after the x-ray recall…………………….
    Are the trousers/leggings you were wearing on sunday a QVC item? They looked good with the B & W top!
    Take care

    • Julia Roberts December 7, 2016 at 3:13 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jill
      Thanks, it’s always a bit nerve-wracking waiting for the appointment after a recall but all good in the end.
      The leggings are not QVC – they are also approximately 3 years old so probably no longer available – sorry
      Love
      Julia x

  7. Sandra November 28, 2016 at 2:20 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia thanks for the Christmas cake recipe. I used it and made my cake and it’s wrapped up and in the tin. It looks the best one I have ever made ! thank you :). Is there any chance you could put up your pastry recipe for your quiche as it’s something I have been looking for. Maybe even a quiche filling !
    Glad your second results came back fine. It’s a huge relief.
    love and hugs Sandra xx

    • Julia Roberts December 7, 2016 at 3:22 pm -  Reply

      Hi Sandra
      So pleased you have used my recipe for your Christmas cake – I finally got around to doing mine last Saturday so hoping it will be as good as usual.
      Re pastry: I use a mix of plain wholemeal flour & white self- raising. For 8oz flour use 2oz of Trex (or white Flora) & 2oz butter or margarine. Rub fat into flour with a pinch of salt until it resembles breadcrumbs then bind together with 3 tablespoons cold water. The tip then is to put it in the fridge for an hour before rolling out.
      I think I did put a recipe up previously for broccoli & walnut quiche – check some old blogs and if you can’t find it, I’ll put it up again.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  8. TINA S November 29, 2016 at 11:44 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    So glad everything was OK with your mammogram after being recalled. The very first one I had l was recalled. The absolute fear and terror I felt was inexplicable especially as my mother had had breast cancer and unfortunately died when I was only 12 years old. So I know how important these tests are and how we should take advantage of them when we get the appointment’s but I still dread every time I have to go!
    I can’t believe December is really here again. It’s my hubby’s birthday on the 9th then our wedding anniversary on 12th of January. So I’m keeping the card shop’s in businesses. I should be like my sister who makes all of her card’s. I don’t have many presents to buy these days. Usually I tell hubby to order whatever he wants from a well known on line store and l pay for it. Saves me the hassle of wondering what to buy!
    Your photo of the Christmas cake reminds me of when we had to make one in school. My father didn’t like marzipan so he ended up giving the whole cake to the dog. Needless to say it didn’t agree with him and you can fill in the rest as to what happened in the back garden.
    Well, I hope everything else is well with you and you do not have any other things to cause more stress.
    All the best , Tina S x

    • Julia Roberts December 7, 2016 at 3:31 pm -  Reply

      Hi Tina
      Happy birthday to your husband for Friday.
      January is my worst month for family and friend’s birthdays, particularly the first nine days of the month – somebody every day apart from the 7th!
      I think we are even more worried by recalls when there is a history of breast cancer in the family – both my mum and my sister have had it so I have to be extra vigilant.
      Your poor dog! The dried fruit would play havoc with his tum! Love a bit of Christmas cake and Christmas pudding too.
      The only thing causing me stress at the moment is my cold/flu bug – and apparently I’ll have it for another fortnight. At least I don’t feel too sick with it now just bunged up.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  9. ann cain December 10, 2016 at 1:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia so pleased everything is ok,each time I have a mammogram I am always called back but thank goodness it is clear.Julia is there away I can donate to your charity,you do some wonderful things and I would love to donate.

  10. janice reeves December 12, 2016 at 7:44 pm -  Reply

    Thank you for the Christmas cake recipe I have made it and my husband has already cut into it even before it got the marzipan and icing on, its delicious, so I have tonight started another one, and this time will marzipan and ice it, thanks, so glad all is ok, and always look forward to your blogs ,

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