Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Christmas Cake Stage 1

Today is the day that I join in on the 'Christmas Cake Bake Along'...at the Down to Earth Forum......
This is the first time I will be baking a Christmas Cake....Until my Nan passed away, family members were all given a steamed Christmas Pudding from her....I can remember her having them hanging everywhere...even in the old laundry...If you know Nan, you will know where I mean.

If you would like to join in, please do so...You can view the three steps in the following links....

As this is the first time I have baked a Christmas Cake; I really have no expectations, but looking at the recipe, I'm sure it will be lovely and moist.....

There is a lot riding on this cake; as next year I will be starting a new tradition within the family....I will either be making this Christmas Cake or I will be making Steamed Puddings.....the way Nan used to make them....hanging in the cloth for a few weeks leading up to Christmas......Either way, I wan't to be able to make individual ones to share out to family members...It's what I do!

I have started the Christmas Cake bake off; 
but I did change a few things in the recipe to suit us. 

Fruit soak:
55g (2oz/ 1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
55ml (1.75 flz oz) water
160ml (5.25 fl oz) brandy
90g (3.25oz/ 3/4 cup) sultanas (golden raisins) (I like to scan through and remove any stems left behind)
80g (2.75oz/ 1/2 cup) currants (I like to scan through and remove any stems left behind)
80g (2.75oz/ 1/3cup) pitted prunes, chopped (I replaced these with dried apricots)
80g (2.75oz/ 1/2 cup) fresh pitted dates, chopped
150g (5.5oz/ 1.25 cup) raisins (I replaced these with dried cranberries)
55g (2oz/ 1/3 cup) mixed peel (mixed candied citrus peel) (I replaced these with dried apple)
135g (4.75oz/ 3/4 cup) chopped dried figs

Here are some photos of the beginning of my Christmas Cake fruit soak....Day 1.

Left to Right: Currants, Apricots, Figs with the stems removed too, the fruit mix which I moved to the side in the dish so you could see the brandy, and the mix sitting on the kitchen cabinet...Yes, under the doily is plastic wrap...it's sealed well.

Here you can see I am sorting and picking out the stems....
I hate picking them out of my mouth...so we get rid of them before baking

Cutting the dried apricots up with scissors

It pays to check the packaging....you never know...
you may find a really great recipe...I'm off to email them.

More stems being removed off the dried figs,
before cutting them up with scissors too.

What lovely colours....
I pushed the fruit to the side, to show the brandy

Pride of place....see you tomorrow!

Yes there is cling wrap beneath the doily...
but doesn't the doily look much better.
Now I will stir it everyday for the next week.....then I will allow the fruit to soak for another 4 weeks...stirring the fruit mix once a week. 
Are you going to follow along and join in this bake off.....? 
Do you make a different Christmas Cake? if you do...and you blog about it...come back and leave a link to your Christmas Cake.


  1. Your blog is a wealth of information! Keep all your posts up for a long time so I can try some of them out! love,andrea

  2. Hi Andrea: don't worry, I plan to stick around....I love the blogging world....the way we all share our ideas, is fantastic!
    thanks for reading my blog. Welcome!


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