For a while, Lynne and I were always mentioned in the same sentence..but it was all for a good reason, we both found our way to Accent via their women's fiction writing competition run in association with Woman Magazine. Lynne, very deservedly, won that competition and I placed second. I met Lynne for the first time about a month ago and we did say it felt as if we knew each other already! Really pleased to be welcoming her here today.....
One of the things I like best about Christmas is that it is one of the increasingly few occasions in our busy 21st Century lives when many families and friends have time to actually sit down around a dining table and eat together, lingering over a delicious meal that doesn’t have to compete with the ever-present demands of emails or homework! Christmas Day in our house sees three generations eating the traditional turkey lunch (including sprouts!), followed by Christmas pudding, mince pies, Stilton and port. Several hours later, we’re still sitting around the candle-lit table, ready for coffee and a slice of traditional Christmas cake, baked my myself according to my grandmother’s recipe. Not that my grandmother, who baked every day, needed a recipe book or to weigh ingredients; she knew how much flour or sugar she was using just by looking at it! I still have the china mixing bowl that her cakes were mixed in many, many years ago, and the first weekend in December when I make our traditional family Christmas cake always feels like the start of the festive season.
Recipe for Christmas Cake
300g plain flour
250g butter (or margarine)
250g soft brown sugar
750g mixed dried fruit
60g mixed peel
125g glacé cherries, chopped
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 eggs, beaten
Set oven to 140˚C. Grease and line a 9-inch round cake tin with greased grease-proof paper.
Sift the flour and mixed spice together.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, together with the vanilla essence, beating well.
Fold in flour, mixed fruit, peel and glacé cherries. Mix well. The mixture should drop off the spoon, so if it’s too dry add a little milk.
Bake in pre-heated over for 3 ½ to 4 hours.
Leave the cake to cool in tin for about 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire tray. When cold, wrap in foil and store for a week before covering with marzipan and icing, and decorating for Christmas.
My husband's favourite - always love a new recipe for a Christmas cake! Thank you so much Lynne.
Lynne Shelby can’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing. She loves travelling and is inspired to write by the many wonderful foreign cities that she’s visited and explored with a camera and writer's notebook in hand - Rome, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, Venice, New York, Copenhagen, Berlin and of course Paris, the city which inspired her to write her debut novel 'French Kissing,’ which is published by Accent Press.
‘French Kissing’ tells the story of Anna Mitchel who has been writing letters to her French penfriend, Alexandre Tourville, for fifteen years, but hasn’t seen him since they met as children on a school exchange trip. When Paris-based Alex, now a successful professional photographer, comes to work in London, Anna fails to recognise him. Instead of the small, geeky boy she remembers, he is tall, broad-shouldered - and gorgeous. Anna’s female friends are soon swooning over Alex’s Gallic charm, and Anna’s boyfriend, Nick, is becoming increasingly jealous of their friendship. When Alex has to return to Paris to oversee the hanging of his photographs in an exhibition, he invites Anna to accompany him so that he can show her the city he adores …
‘French Kissing’ is available as a paperback or e-book from Amazon and Accent Press.