Making a Chocolate Fruit Cake (again, a bit like Nigella)

Last weekend I had my Gran coming to stay, so I wanted to bake something special as a centrepiece. She likes fruit cake, but I can’t beat her on fruit cake – hers are legendary. So I looked for a recipe that would be a bit different to the usual. This is the recipe I followed: It is from Nigella’s Christmas Kitchen. The results are shown below:

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It misbehaved a bit, I have to say. The cooking time didn’t seem nearly long enough – I followed the instructions exactly, and when I was transferring the cake to stand I could feel the bottom starting to prolapse! I put it back in the tin and back in the oven for a bit longer, and then let it cool down again – when I cut into it it was cooked – though it was far too moist to be really called ‘cake’ – it was the exact texture and consistency of Christmas Pudding! I would have preferred to serve it warm with brandy butter I think… Never mind – the leftover cake I have rolled into balls and coated in chocolate to make into what I call ‘Mini Christmas Chocolate Bombs’ – and the remaining left overs I think I will use to make Christmas pudding muffins … mmmm 🙂 Might try this recipe




Making Star topped cranberry mincepies (Like Nigella Lawson)

 Well I feel most encouraged, having read and looked at a number of recent Blogs. Well done guys – you’re doing a really excellent job (some of you!)

I want to tell you about a recent think I made at home… I was watching Nigella Lawson’s Christmas (Deep Freeze episode) and I liked how she made a cranberry studded mincemeat for her star topped mince pies. I thought they looked yummy, and the recipe seemed quite straight forward, so I purchased some cranberries and I made it yesterday when I got in from work. Very nice too! I will post the pictures of the pies when I make those… Stay tuned!

This is the recipe I followed, more or less as it was on the website:


Preparation method

  1. In a large pan, dissolve the sugar in the ruby port over a gentle heat.
  2. Add the cranberries and stir.
  3. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves, currants, raisins, dried cranberries and the zest and juice of the clementine. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the fruit has broken down and has absorbed most of the liquid in the pan. (You may need to squish the cranberries a little with the back of a wooden spoon to incorporate them fully.)
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
  5. Add the brandy, almond extract, vanilla extract and honey and stir well with a wooden spoon to mash the mixture down into a paste.
  6. Spoon the mincemeat into sterilised jars and, once cool, store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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So far… so good!

Wow, the exciting lives of my year 12s… I’m completely overwhelmed by the feedback, and hearing all the fascinating things you have to say in your own blogs.


To be fair, I guess it’s pretty intimidating to post a blog for the first time – I know this because I did it on Monday. I know you all had a pretty tough time thinking of something to blog about!


Keep it up – you have to update your blogs next lesson 🙂



Christmas is coming, the work is piling up!

OK, my first blog ever, and the only reason for its mere existence is that I have to teach my year 12 IT students how to create and use a blog in two days time. “Great!” I say – because I am not busy enough… I also have to think of some possible and plausible reasons for my year 12 students to be creating a blog in order that they are ‘choosing’ the correct and most appropriate ‘industry standard IT technology’ in order to communicate! Quite a mouthful… try teaching it!

So, this blogging business – not just for tecchies either is it? Being the least tecchie IT teacher I know (or probably on this planet) I have had to do some research into what sort of thing a person would resonably put into a blog. These are some of my (brief) research results:

What to blog about?

Things that make people ‘tick’

Hobbies (eg. baking, fishing, line dancing)

Life and life stories or major life events (eg. having a baby or coping with an illness)

Something educational (eg. if you are an expert on teaching the new Cambridge Technicals in IT)

Religious beliefs

Holidays (kind of like a holiday diary)

Quite frankly,  I’m sure the list is endless, but hopefully this could inspire my year 12s…

So, why put it in a blog? – this guy has summed it up pretty nicely… Thanks Brian Gardner.

Right – so by the time my year 12 students are reading this, and finding it possibly informative; (I’m sure they’ll let me know if it isn’t) they should already have been shown how to create one, using word press. Which, by the way, is very good (and easy) – thanks for the recommendation, Lisa!

If I add to this – it probably means I have got far to much time on my hands. It would be quite amusing to post some more info about teaching this course though – as there does seem to be a shortage of practical guidance on the delivery of unit 1!

That’s all for now. Bye!