Although it is a very busy week at QVC for me this week, I'm on air six days out of seven, I don't mind at all. Why? Well I have just spent the last two evenings in the company of Marjolein Brugman and her fantastic creation the Pilates Performer.
It has made such a difference to my body, helping me to get back in shape over the last six months. If you ordered one this time with the great deal of 4 Easy Pay instalments plus free P&P, let me know how you get on. And don't be afraid to ask questions. If I don't know the answers I know a lady who does!
Tonight I have a double helping of Keeley from Elemis at 11pm and 1am. Even though the rain is pouring and it's cold, I will still be going out of the house with a smile of anticipation on my face because she is such a ray of sunshine. Plus, I think you'll also love tonight's TSV – party hair in seconds by Ken Paves.
Then 'the icing on the cake' for me is the Butler and Wilson TSV on Saturday at midnight with Simon Wilson, and two shows with him on Sunday. Keep your eyes peeled in advance as I will definitely wear it between now and Saturday!
Talking of the 'icing on the cake', in response to a couple of comments on my Cookie's Essential blog last week, here is my Christmas cake recipe:
- 450g (1lb) mixed dried fruit
- 60g (2oz) glace cherries, halved
- Grated rind of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 140g (5oz) plain flour
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 30g (1oz) ground almonds
- 115g (4oz) soft dark brown sugar
- 115g (4oz) margarine
- 1 tablespoon black treacle
- 3 medium free range eggs
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 pre-heated 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.
I usually make mine four weeks before Christmas, just after my son's birthday, marzipan it on the 23rd December and ice it on Christmas Eve.
I then let the children loose with the decorations while I make some mince pies. I've used the same recipe for over 30 years (hence the photo, that was me aged 22, the same age my daughter is now) and it has never let me down!
Hope it works for you.