Baking, Something fruity, Something sweet

Dundee inspired fruit cake

When I was young my Nana always had a fruit cake in a tin which we’d enjoy a slice of when we went to see her. I guess she made one every week. My mum also used to sometimes make fruit cakes at home too. This is my take on Dundee fruit cake with the addition of some spices and some Turrón, which I had left from Christmas, it’s like a marzipan so you could easily substitute it. I guess this makes it a bit of a Dundee / Simnel hybrid. The dried fruit is soaked in scotch so it’s a good option for Burns light.

So what do you need.

  • 300g dried fruit (sultanas & raisins)
  • 50g naked (uncrystallised) ginger
  • 3 or 4 caps of whisky (optional)
  • 150g softened butter
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • Grating of nutmeg (about 1/2 tsp)
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 250g plain (all purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 100g grated Turrón Yuma tostada (or marzipan)
  • 50g flaked almonds (or whole blanched almonds)

So what do you do?

First weigh out the dried fruit and place in a bowl and pour over the whisky and mix so the fruit absorb the whisky. Pre-heat your oven to 170 F / 325 C. Grease and line a 18-20cm round cake tin. Then cream together the butter and sugar and then add the lemon zest and eggs and mix together. Next add the flour, spices and baking powder and mix into a thick batter. Then add the fruit, ginger and Turrón and mix everything together. Spoon into the prepared baking tin and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

Cook in the centre of the oven and check after an hour and if it’s beginning to brown cover with tin foil to prevent the top burning. Cook for another 30 mins until a skewer comes out clean. The lemon zest and spices give off a delicious aroma as the cake cooks. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins then cool completely on a wire rack. It will keep well in an airtight container. Enjoy with a cup of tea or a dram of whisky!

Soups, Uncategorized

Veggie stew with pulses


This is a stew / soup similar to a minestrone, but a little heartier, made with what veg. and pluses you have to hand. It’s good if you have time to make it early and let it stand so the flavours develop and then reheat it to serve.

I fried an onion then added some chopped garlic, large chillis, celery and about 150g of mushrooms and fried until beginning to brown the added a chopped carrot, and some sliced radishes and 4 chopped tomatoes, about half a cup of dried lentils, a couple of bay leaves, a couple of pinches of salt, and a few crushed pepper corns which I covered well with vegetable stock and cooked for about 10 mins. Then I added some quicker cooking veg. cauliflower and Thai kale (pak kana) and fresh herbs, coriander and dill and about 1/2 tsp dried chill powder (optional) and cooked for another 15 mins or so until the lentils were cooked. Finally, I added some cooked beans I had (you could just use more lentils). You can make it as thick as you want if you you prefer it to be a stew or add more stock for a hearty soup. If you want a really hearty stew then add a handful of pearl barley with the lentils or add dumplings to the stew. If you don’t add dumplings, then it’s good served with warm fresh bread.

Snacks, Veggie mains

Arancini / risotto patties

This is a great way to use up any leftover risotto (there are several risotto recipes on the blog already). Just roll the cold, sticky risotto rice into balls or patties and coat in flour or breadcrumbs and shallow fry in oil until crisp and golden. You can put a small piece of mozzarella or blue cheese in the middle of the balls if you like. Serve on a bed of green leaves. Here I also added some homomade tomato sauce too. Enjoy!