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A fruity and spicy Christmas

Posted on Sunday 29 October 2017

By Diana Earnshaw, Volunteer Contributor

There is something wonderful about the aroma of warming sweet spices at Christmas time. It is possibly a smell that we remember from childhood during the run-up to the festivities, which evoked thoughts of all the wonderful food, family visits and presents we would receive.

Fruit and Spices

Spices preserve foods. Their essential oils contain anti-microbial chemicals which stop (or at least slow down) foods from rotting.  A friend of mine recently found a Christmas pudding in the back of the cupboard from 2008. They ate it and are still alive to tell the tale! Interestingly, these spices also have an anti-microbial effect on us and can help keep us free of the nasty winter bugs. Use them liberally!

Dried fruit has long been an addition to Christmas foods. Did you know that in the 13th century, mince pies originally contained meat with fruit and spices? Latterly of course, the meat has gone, but the suet remains to give pies that unctuous quality! Vegetarian suet can be used if you are vegetarian.

Christmas Cake and Plum (an old term for raisins) Pudding are loaded with fruit and spices and if made well can actually Christmas Cakeprovide good nutrition, being rich in minerals. Nonetheless, best in small quantities due to the fruit and added sugar. It is very important to buy organic or you will also receive a dose of pesticides with your dried fruits - grapes are one of the most heavily sprayed crops. The great thing about buying at True Food is that you can buy exactly the amount you need for the recipe!

The gluten free cake below is my favourite. It is “juicy”, fragrant and delicious. It has the benefit of being gluten and added sugar-free too. 

I can’t take any credit for the Christmas pudding recipe. This was the pudding I used to make during Delia Smith’s heyday.  It was always a winner. Have to say – there are so many delicious ready-made puddings (check out True Foods range) now, that I haven’t made one for years. If you love Christmas pud, this is really worth a go.

Lastly, how about trying a non-alcoholic mulled apple juice? Everyone can enjoy this – children and drivers included!

Happy Christmas!

Gluten free Christmas Cake

Delia's Christmas Pudding

Non-alcoholic Mulled Apple Juice

 

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