Christmas pudding – microwaved for speed!


1 large eating apple
500 grams dried mixed fruits
200 grams driend chopped apricots
200 grams chopped dried dates
200ml unsweetened apple juice or a good french brandy
85g blanched whole almonds, coarsely chopped
1 lemon zested
200 grams dark soft brown sugar
170 grams gluten free plain flour
110 grams fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
Grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
4 eggs
2 tablespoon black treacle
1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
melted dairy free spread or butter for greasing

Grease two large 1.1L pudding bowls.

Peel and core apple. Cut apple into pieces.
Combine apple pieces, chopped dried fruits and apple juice/brandy in microwavable bowl.
Add coarsely chopped almonds, 1 tsp lemon zest and 1 tsp lemon juice, mix well.
Leave to soak for twelve hours.

Combine sugar, flour, breadcrumbs, mixed spice and cloves in another bowl.
Whisk eggs, treacle, and brandy, (if using) in small bowl.
Lightly beat the egg and fruit mixture into breadcrumb mixture mixing well until thoroughly mixed together.

Using a large spoon transfer the mixture into the prepared large pudding bowls; levelling the surface.

Cover tightly with cling film and pierce with a knife.
Microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes; transfer bowl to cooling rack, allowing pudding to rest in the bowl for 5 minutes – repeat this step.

To serve reheat the pudding(s) for five minutes each on High or Full power in the microwave.
Removing the cling film to enable losening from the sides gently to loosen pudding.
Carefully invert pudding onto serving dish.
Cool for about 10 minutes and serve.

Flambe with brandy or rum as desired.
Serve with dairy free variations of vanilla custard, single cream, brandy cream or rum butter

Traditional Christmas cake – gluten and dairy free


650g/1lb 7 oz dried mixed fruit (or a combination of currants, raisins and sultanas)
75g/3oz glace cherries (chopped)
50g flaked almonds (omit and use extra dried dried fruit for a nut free cake)
Grated zest of 1/2 an orange and 1/2 a lemon
215g/7.5oz Gluten free plain flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
175g/6oz dairy free spread
175g/6oz dark brown sugar
3 eggs
2-3 tbsp french brandy or apple juice

Put the dried fruit, nuts and cherries in a large bowl adding the brandy (or use apple juice) and stir well cover the bowl with cling film and leave overnight or fpr twelve hours.

Grease and line either a 18cm/7″ round or 15cm/6″ square tin with a double thickness of grease proof paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs, lemon/orange zest, flour and spice mixing well.

Fold in the fruit and nuts and mix until well combined then spoon into the prepared tin and level off the mixture so it is flat.

Bake in a pre-heated oven 150C/Gas 2 for around 3 hours.
Turn the oven down slightly for the last 30 minutes, if the cake starts to get too brown.

Test if the cake is cooked by sticking in a skewer to the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean then the cake is cooked, if not return to cook checking after 15 minutes testing again with a skewer.

First, allow to cool in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack.
Once cold, wrap the cake tightly in a double layer of foil or clingfilm and store in an airtight box until needed for a few months to mature.

‘Feed’ the cake with extra brandy, pricking the surface with a skewer and spooning over a little more brandy repeating every few weeks. Be sure to wrap the cake back up afterwards.
If you want to decorate your cake either use marzipan and royal icing or I prefer a traditional warmed seived apricot jam brushed over the cake and decorated with nuts and dried fruits.

Nutrious food – soup is an internal heating for your body! Enjoy!

Nutritious soup