Friday and Saturday were a hectic whirl of cake-making, first aiding and party-attending.
On Thursday I began preparing to make my first rich fruit cake of the year (also my first Christmas present of 2017!) by weighing out dried fruits, glace cherries and mixed peels before combining them with brandy and leaving to soak overnight.
Friday morning found me preparing a deep, heavy duty cake tin with double layers of buttered greaseproof paper and wrapped in a double thickness of brown paper tied with string, ready to receive the cake mix. Next I sifted the flour and assorted spices from a height (as instructed by Delia) into a bowl where I had already creamed butter and sugar together, before beating in eggs. Finally, I folded treacle, orange and lemon zests and chopped, flaked almonds into the concoction before gently stirring in the nearly 3lb of fruit and then spooned it all into the prepared tin and then into the oven to cook for 4-5 hours.
I spent some time fine-tuning my plans for the next two cakes which I was to take along to a friends Silver Wedding Anniversary celebration the next day.
I decided upon a gluten free, dairy free Vanilla and Blueberry Sponge with a fresh blueberry and dairy free vanilla icing filling and a gluten free Chocolate Orange Sponge with a marmelade filling (I used my homemade Seville Orange Whisky marmelade) and a dairy free chocolate icing topping with mini chocolate orange wedges arranged around the edge (these weren’t dairy free).
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bake these sponges on Friday afternoon so Saturday morning found me organising the kitchen in a military fashion, having all necessary ingredients and equipment out before starting.
This worked very well, especially with the help of my wonderful husband, who took charge of washing up to keep me supplied with clean bowls, etc.
I was starting to think that we would make it along to the celebration mass (something I was looking forward to as I have never attended a Roman Catholic service before) when our visitor from Germany suddenly had a fall in the garden and twisted her ankle. We weren’t completely sure that it wasn’t broken, so we both helped her into the house and helped her settle in a chair and elevate her leg on a stool before applying arnica cream and then ice (well, an old bag of frozen veg wrapped in a towel!) and fetching pain relief.
I contacted our friends to tell them that we wouldn’t be at the Mass and I went to finish the cakes.
My husband kindly volunteered to look after our guest so that I and our children to go to the party, which we duly did after a change of clothes.