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Cooking for Christmas

Right, seriousness over, fun and frivolity begins.

Once upon a time, there was a Christmas cake recipe from my husband’s gorgeous grandmother who brought him up. (And if you wonder where Keturah Conway (aka Kit) in my Christians Cross cosy paranormal series got her name from, then it was this amazing lady, and my daughter has it as her middle name now.)

She made the a brilliant Christmas cake to a recipe she’d got from an Australian serviceman who’d become a family friend while he’d been over here in the war. She was very protective of the recipe, so I knew I’d been accepted when she gave me a copy of it when she got too old to bake.

Sadly, things didn’t go anything like as well with his Aunt who also lived with her and my husband when I met him. I tried so hard. I really, really did. I went and made a fuss of her beloved three legged cat, and as she purred, I said ‘aren’t you gorgeous, Tripod.’ The atmosphere iced over, and his Aunt said icily, ‘her name is Penny…’ Have I mentioned my beloved husband’s evil sense of humour?

Anyway, back to the cake. It’s a classic boil and bake fruit cake, like this one here except that I replace the water with beer, 2oz of the sugar with extra fruit and add extra mixed spice, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and just a little bit of ginger. I don’t ice it because we have to be a low sugar family for medical reasons, but I decorate it with different nuts before it goes into the oven, then brush it with a little apricot jam.

I wrap it in newspaper and bake for a few hours, and my family reckon that the start of Christmas is heralded by the smell of gently cooking newspaper!

Most importantly though, I follow Grandma Keturah’s example and make one for me, and one to give to someone else because she reckoned it wasn’t Christmas unless you shared what you had. Wise words from a wise lady, who taught me a lot, and I remember her and smile every year as I make it.

Here's hoping that you're smiling too.


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