Well Christmas has well and truly arrived in the Freddie’s Food household with a decorated Christmas tree, Carol singing and even a ride on a camel. To say Freddie is excited would be an understatement!
I stumbled across a creative advent idea in The Imagination Tree, a great blog with heaps of ideas to do at home with little ones. Instead of or as well as having a calendar with pictures, gifts or chocolate you have a family activity for each day. I thought I’d give it a go and as there are so many delicious Christmas foods I have popped a few of those in along with craft activities, outings and general Christmas fun!
If you think this is something you might like to try out next year I would definitely recommend it as it has made us all feel very Christmassy already! Lots of the activities I did as a child and some of the recipes are top secret so I’m afraid won’t be featuring on the blog but lots of them I will be sharing in the build up to Christmas to help you and your little ones get in the Christmas Kitchen mood. Here are the foodie activities we will be doing:
- Christmas Cake
- Marshmallow Snowman
- Gingerbread House
- Salt dough Christmas tree decoration (one from my days a s a teacher not edible but very pretty!
- Mince Pies
- Edible Christmas tree biscuits
- Top secret family biscuits
- Hot Chocolate
When I moved to New Zealand 6 years ago Mum wrote down all our family recipes. They come from both sides of the family and include recipes that had become family recipes while we were growing up. I love flicking through it and remembering making, eating and sharing the different recipes. Maybe that is one of the reasons I love cooking for people so much? Good food has always been a part of family celebrations.
This Christmas Cake recipe is a Delhi Smith recipe that she makes most years. You can store your cake for up to three months so I probably left making mine a bit late. However it was a fun 1st day of advent activity and if it tastes good I think it could become a Freddie’s Family Food tradition! If you haven’t made a Christmas Cake yet don’t be put off just make sure you feed it lots over the next few weeks.
For a 6 inch round cake
Cooking Time: 3 1/2 hours
Preparation Time: Fruit has to be soaked at least the day before.
40g glace cherries (halved)
40g mixed candied peel
3 tbsp of brandy
110g plain flour
1 pinch of salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground mixed spice
110g unsalted butter
110g soft brown sugar
40g almonds (chopped)1 tsp black treacle
the rind of 1/2 a lemon
the rind of 1/2 an orange
The night before place all the dried fruit, glace cherries and candied peel in a bowl and mix in the brandy. Cover and leave to soak for 12 hours (you can soak for longer Mary Berry soaks her’s for 3 days – for children this could taste too boozy!).
Sift the flour and spices in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Next beat up the eggs – a tablespoon at a time – add to the creamed mixture, beating thoroughly. Add a little flour if the mixture looks slightly curdled.
Fold in the flour and spices
Stir in the soaked fruit mixture, nuts, treacle, lemon rind and orange rind.
Spoon into a greased, lined 6 inch tin. Tie a band of brown paper around the outside of the tin and cover the top of the cake with a double layer of greaseproof paper.
Bake for 3 1/2 hours at 140’C until the cake feels firm to touch and is a rich golden, brown colour.
Leave to cool in the tin.
Wrap the the cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper and then a double layer of tin foil and store in an airtight container. If desired you can feed your cake brandy at intervals. Your cake can be made up to three months in advance.
A week before you plan to eat you cake begin to cover it.
See my How to decorate a Christmas Cake post that will be coming soon for tips on decorating your Christmas Cake!
I hope you are all starting to feel festive and would love to hear you Christmas Cooking traditions.