Sunday, 18 October 2015

Suma Bloggers Network - Getting Ready For Christmas

Oh my golly, can you believe it we're in the middle of October already, which means that there is less than 10 weeks till Christmas! In fact it's 68 days away, that's all!

As you can imagine I was delighted when my parcel arrived from Suma Wholefoods and I opened it up to find these goodies.....

Let the Christmas food preparation begin! Amy at Suma had done me proud, this time I asked for a pot luck box so I really didn't know what I was going to get. When I opened it up I actually let out a squeal of delight! My box contained the following ingredients:

  • Organic Demerara Sugar
  • Organic Dried Sweetened Cranberries
  • Organic Almonds
  • Organic Figs
  • Organic Apricots
  • Pitted Prunes
  • Ground Cloves
  • Vegetarian Suet
  • Almond Orange Chocolate

My mind flooded with Christmas ideas, and I'm going to share with you not one recipe but two. I haven't blogged for quite some time and I must admit I had lost my mojo for a while, but this little treasure of goodies soon got my appetite back (excuse the pun) for creating, cooking and blogging! 

The first thing I decided to make was a batch of home-made mincemeat for all those delicious mince pies over the festive period, or if you're like me they start appearing back in my kitchen around Haloween or just as the nights are drawing in. Once the cold dark nights arrive, there's nothing like curling up on the sofa mug of tea in one hand, mince pie in the other.

Quick & Easy Home-made Vegan Mincemeat


100g Dried Figs
100g Dried Apricots
55g Dried Sultanas
50g Dried Cranberries
50g Dried Prunes
25g Raisins
20g Mixed Peel
50g Alomnds
75g Vegetarian Suet
200g Bramley Apples, peeled, cored and chopped
150g Demerara Sugar
1 Tsp Ground Cloves
1 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
¼ Tsp Ground Ginger
¼ Tsp Ground All Spice
100ml Brandy


Chop the dried figs, apricots and prunes into the size of a sultana and add to a large bowl.

Add the sultanas, cranberries, raisins and mixed peel and give the mixture a good stir.

Add the almonds to a plastic bag or fold into a clean tea-towel and with a rolling pin bash the nuts into smaller pieces. Add to the bowl of mixed fruit and stir through.

Add the vegetarian suet, chopped apples and sugar and stir again making sure everything is thoroughly combined.

Add the spices and stir once again before adding the brandy. Now it should start smelling like Christmas!

Give the mixture a final stir and transfer to a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge. The mixture should last till Christmas and beyond, but I doubt you will have any left by then.

All you need to do now is make your pastry and you're 15 minutes away from taking your first bite out of a mince pie!

Now with all those goodies it really would be rude not to make a Christmas Cake wouldn't it? And yes, even the chocolate went in this cake, not all of it mind you as it was rather tasty!


150g Dried Figs 
100g Dried Apricots
100g Dried Prunes
75g Sultanas
50g Dried Cranberreis
50g Raisins
25g Mixed Peel
125ml Brandy
300g Plain Flour
200g Demerara Sugar
50g Almonds, chopped
25g Dark Chocolate 
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda 
2 Tsp Baking Powder 
1 Tsp Mixed Spice 
½ Tsp Ground Cinnamon 
½ Tsp Ground Cloves 
100g Vitalite 
6 Tbsp Puréed Apple* 
1 Orange, zest 
1 Lemon, Zest 
50ml Fresh Orange Juice

* To make your own puréed apple, peel and core a few cooking apples and add to a pan, add a splash of water so they won't stick to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples start breaking up. Use a potato masher to finish the purée. You can either store in a sterilised jar or freeze the mixture. 3 large tablespoons are the equivalent to 1 egg in recipes. I bag mine up in 3 tablespoon measures and store in the freezer.


Chop the dried figs, apricots and prunes into the size of a sultana and add to a large bowl.

Add the sultanas, cranberries, raisins and mixed peel and give the mixture a good stir. Pour over the brandy. Let this mixture sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

When you're ready to make your cake, sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the chopped almonds, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and all the spices. Grate in the chocolate and give everything a quick mix.

In another bowl melt the Vitalite and add the puréed apples, zest of the lemon and orange and the orange juice. Whisk until all ingredients are combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix to combine, if your mixture is a little dry add a little more fresh orange juice. Be careful not to add too much though as you still have the fruits and brandy to add.

Top the cake batter with the dried fruit and brandy and stir to evenly distribute the fruit.

Pour into a greased cake tin and bake in a low oven for 1½ hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave in the tin to cool before tipping out onto a wire rack. 

Once the cake is completely cold wrap in greased proof paper and then tin foil and store in a cool dry place. 

Now I will be "feeding" my cake for the next few weeks with a little Brandy so it's not the finished article just yet. I will add a photo once the cake has been iced, so you can see the cake finished. 

To 'feed' your cake make tiny holes with a skewer in the top of your cake and pour in a little brandy. You can do this as often as you like dependant on your taste. Do you like your Christmas cake boozy? Then add more brandy.

After a few weeks of 'feeding' your cake you're ready to ice it.

I still have some ingredients left, so I will be making a third recipe for Christmas and there is only one thing that could be........Christmas Pudding!

So keep an eye out for that recipe too..........................

Jasmine x