Christmas Cake recipe

Ingredients: 

225g Plain Flour

225g Butter

225g Soft dark brown sugar

225g Currants

225g Raisins

225g Sultanas

0.5 tsp Cinnamon

0.5 tsp Cloves

0.5 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

125g Chopped Almonds

125g Mixed Peel (Optional)

125g Glacé Cherries (Optional)

Rind of one lemon

Rind of one orange

4 Large Eggs, Beaten

1-2 Tablespoons Brandy

Method:

Grease and line an 8 inch spring-form cake tin. 

Sift flour with spices. In another bowl beat butter with sugar till light and fluffy. Add the citrus rinds and gradually add beaten egg. Fold flour and spice mix in alternately to the fruit and nuts. Finally add Brandy. 

Pour mixture into cake tin and make a slight well in the centre. Bake on bottom shelf of oven at 145’C for about 3 and a half hours. After cooking turn off oven and leave tin, in the oven to cool. 

Once fully cooled, prick cake with a skewer and add 2 tablespoons of Brandy/Rum of your choice, wrap in brown paper and tinfoil and a couple of days before Christmas cover with marzipan and Royal Icing. 

You can find Vicki on Instagram: @vixxihibiscus

By Victoria Fox

Walking the Wall for Foodshare

Walking The Wall for Food-Share

Hi – I’m Kirsty and I’ve been part of the Ash & Ash Vale Community for nearly 12 years now.  During lockdown it was wonderful to see the community around me fly into action to support those in need. I wasn’t able to help as much as I would have liked to. I was at capacity – both mentally and physically – working at home from the kitchen table, home schooling and supporting two young girls. But I never ever took for granted just how fortunate we were. There was a regular salary coming in, we were healthy, we were fed, and both of our employers allowed us the flexibility we needed to look after the girls.

By August life felt like it was getting more normal. The kids were heading to school, the husband was able to commute and work from his office, and I was now looking like I was actually going to get an hour or two ON MY OWN for the first time in what felt like YEARS!!!!!

BUT – I had a growing niggle in the brain that I needed to do something; something to recognise how fortunate we were as a family. I had another niggle that others in the community were still having an incredibly hard time. But what could I do? How to help?

I’d always hankered after completing a walking challenge one day so in a moment of madness (only one glass of wine was involved) I thought I’d make my own and walk the equivalent miles in a month. I picked Hadrian’s Wall – all 84 miles of it. A challenge but not an insurmountable one. And the foodshare of the St Marys’ and the Ash, Ash Vale & Ash Green Coronavirus Support group felt like the right thing to support. They were, and still are, supporting over 20 families with weekly food parcels.  

One Just Giving page later and I was off! I was walking the equivalent length of Hadrian’s wall in September. To help the miles seem a bit easier to complete I decided to read a guide book of the wall and chart what I would have been walking past if I was actually there. Key things I learnt are that there is far less wall than you think, its beautiful countryside up there, and that the Romans carved a surprising amount of phallic graffiti into the wall! (my girls giggled lots at those pictures)

I was totally overwhelmed by the donations that my friends and family and the St Mary’s family gave. It made the miles so much more meaningful and helped to drag my bum off the sofa to keep on track. I do however want to give a particularly enormous “THANK YOU” to the two anonymous donations of £500 and £100 – I truly hope you fully appreciate the massive difference that will make.

I handed over a staggeringly huge £1200 last week to the foodshare and could not have been prouder – prouder of my friends and family for the donations, proud of the husband and kids who coped with less of me in September, and prouder of the community that I now feel a bigger part of.

By Kirsty Denman