Tuesday, November 30, 2010



The snow has the kids off school today so we are all at home and hanging about. I decided it was the perfect day to (rather belatedly for me) make the Christmas Cake. Luckily, I bought the ingredients weeks ago - there is no getting to the shops today.

I was tempted this year to make a "new" cake but I just love this one, so here goes again. I used it as my wedding cake in May and it worked a treat then too. People contact me every year to say they have made the cake, so if you do, I'd love to hear from you.

Get all your ingredients weighed and ready in advance. This recipe makes a lovely moist, boozy and fruity cake. We eat it plain but you can buy vegan marzipan and icing to decorate it if you like.



350 gr wholegrain spelt flour
175gr vegan marg
175gr light muscovado sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
150gr sultanas
200gr raisins
150gr dates
50 gr flaked almonds
1 tblsp treacle
100gr glacé cherries, halved
grated zest of an orange
2 tblsps ground almonds
120ml soya milk
2 tblsps red wine vinegar
¾ tsp of bread soda (bicarbonate of soda)
6 tblsps (90ml) brandy


• Preheat oven to 150˚C
• Grease an 8” cake tin and line with a double layer of greased greaseproof
• Sieve the flour and spice
• Rub in the marg until the mix is like breadcrumbs
• Stir in the flaked almonds and treacle
• Add the sugar, dried fruit, cherries, orange zest and ground almonds and mix
• Warm half the soya milk in a small pot and add the vinegar
• Dissolve the bread soda in the rest of the soya milk, then add
this to the milk and vinegar mix
• Stir this into flour and fruit mix until well combined
• Spoon mix into greased tin and smooth the top
• Bake for 2 hours, until a skewer/cocktail stick comes out clean
• Leave cake in tin to cool, then turn out and peel off greaseproof
• Prick cake with a cocktail stick and feed with a third of the brandy
• Wrap cake in greaseproof and store in a tin
• Feed with the rest of the brandy at weekly intervals



Monday, November 22, 2010


I was given free windfalls in a charity shop today. Isn't that nice and very recession friendly? I think I will make an apple crumble.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I had friends popping around unexpectedly on Friday morning and there was nothing to give them, so I needed a quick, tasty, gluten free biscuit that I could have done and cooling by the time they arrived. I went to my trusty Porridge book and of course good old Margaret Briggs had this recipe for School Dinner Oat Cookies. In a school she worked in years ago they served these with blancmange. How very Enid Blyton! These make a crisp, sweet, chewy biscuit. Impossible to eat just one.


125g porridge oats
125g butter or marg
125g caster sugar (I used half caster/half brown)
125g plain flour (I used wholemeal spelt flour)
2 tsps baking powder
pinch bread soda
2 tblsps + 1 tsp golden syrup


Preheat the oven to 180C
Grease two flat tins
Cream the sugar and marg
Add the porridge and the rest of the dry ingredients and mix
Mix in the golden syrup
Make into small balls (1 inch round) - this recipe makes about 18 - 20
Place on greased tins, leaving space - they spread!
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes

Monday, November 1, 2010


Happy World Vegan Day! Today marks the start of World Vegan Month. The website has some good downloads including a booklet called Vegan Catering For All.
In Ireland, November is traditionally a month of abstinence, in preperation for December's excesses. Lots of people give up alcohol for the month. But it would also be nice to try taking something up. I'm thinking of going vegan as much as possible. It's my husband who is the vegan in our family (I'm vegetarian) so I think I will join him for this month and hopefully health benefits (even more!) will ensue.

Happy eating, all.