Thursday, 15 September 2011

The price of currants..

I'm going to tell you a secret. We are making Christmas cakes this year as presents for some of our family.

My Grandma always used to grace us each year with a delicious Christmas fruit cake, delightfully iced and topped with festive decorations. However for several years she stopped making them, but I dug out her old cookbook last year and we made one together which was really enjoyable.

This year we are making the rich fruit cakes as presents. I love the idea of homemade delights at Christmas, and I know people will appreciate them more than a box of Thornton's chocolates or a bottle of lower end red wine.

So again, it was time to dig out Grandma's cook book. It is one of those proper, proper cook books. There are stains on the pages, some pages have come loose from the bind, the edges are cellotaped up, there are handwritten notes on certain pages, and at the back are years worth of shopping lists safely preserved. I can't stand it when people have cookbooks on shelves that have never been opened and the pages are clean and new, and they still have that new book smell. What is the point?

My Grandma got this book when she was 21. So over 50 years later, it is still purposefully being used by the next generation.

So we are to make four cakes. (For whom shall not be mentioned, because we know that some of the potential receivers do read this blog.)

We multiplied the ingredients for one cake by four, and this was the shopping list we set off with.

1.8kg Currants
1kg Raisins
1.8kg Sultanas
680g Mixed Peel
340g Glace Cherries
340g Shelled Almonds
1.2kg Margarine
1.2kg Caster Sugar
24 Eggs
1.4kg Flour
1 Jar of Mixed Spice
4 Unwaxed Lemons

Well, we won't have to buy all of those eggs, but we are a few short so I will have to pop in to a local farm shop to make up the numbers that we (or they the chickens) cannot provide for.

First stop was Tesco. I've recently enjoyed shopping in Tescos, because they have had lots of reduced stationary, and I love buying stationary, however I didn't love their home baking section as much, they had no Raisins, no currants, well in fact all they did have off our list was Sultanas, Flour, Caster Sugar, Lemons and Almonds. Oh well. Onwards to Morrisons.

We piled the trolley with the Morrisons value raisins and then we went to pick the currants up, and we almost died of a heart attack at the cost of them. Where as the raisins and currants cost about £1 per kg, the CHEAPEST currants were priced at £3 per kg. So working on a budget, we bought one pack of currants and and extra 1/2kg bag of both raisins and sultanas, costing us much less in the end.

We have a baking session set asside for Friday afternoon. The cakes need to bake for just shy of 5 hours, so we need to be sure we are going to be in to monitor their progress in the oven.

We will let you know how our afternoon goes, and we might even treat you to some more pictures of the cook book.

Have a great day,



  1. Great to have you back guys! I'm with you on the homemade presents, it's so much nicer. Enjoy your baking session! Rach

  2. I bet your house will smell delicious tomorrow afternoon while those cakes are baking. I think it's getting more popular to give home made presents now, I love receiving them, so much thought has gone in to something home made.

  3. I have my Grandma's Cookbook too. It's fun, and a bit nostalgic using it :)
    You're impressively organised. I shall be making my Christmas Cakes on Stir Up Sunday, which is really for pudding making, but that's when I make my cakes :)
    Last years is on my Blog :)

  4. Oh yes, Christmas cakes - something to start thinking about! I tend to make mini cakes, using baked bean tins as it's nice to receive your own personal cake!

  5. Promise; I won't tell your family you are preparing those gifts ;-)
    I Wish I was one of them to taste your christmas cake!
    Glad to "see" you back!

  6. I'm glad that other people seem to appreciate homemade gifts. Can't beat them in my opinion. One of my grandma's always used to make homemade cards, priceless in my opinion.

    If you haven't made them yet, then you must get baking soon. Don't forget to feed them brandy until the week before Christmas too!!

    Martin :0)


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