Recipe: Christmas Cake

Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Christmas Cake Makes 1 x 9 inch Round Cake


A super Christmas fruit cake, enriched with brandy, that is best made in early November


  • 1lb. 2oz. (500g) currants
  • 3 tablespoons of brandy
  • 8 oz. (225g) sultanas
  • 8 oz. (225g) raisins, stoned
  • 6 oz. (175g) glace cherries
  • 4 oz. (125g) candied peel, chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 10oz. (275g) plain flour
  • 10 oz. (275g) butter
  • half a level teaspoon of mixed spice
  • pinch of salt
  • half a level teaspoon of powdered cinnamon
  • 10 oz. (275g) soft brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • almond paste
  • royal icing
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Wash the dried fruit in a sieve, under the cold tap, two days before making the cake
    2. Drain and turn on to clean tea towel, pat dry then spread on kitchen paper to dry
    3. On baking day, grease a 9 inch round cake tin, line with double greaseproof paper and re-grease
    4. Tie a band of brown paper round the outside of the tin, to come 3 inches above the top
    5. Put the prepared fruit, peel and cherries in a bowl and mix well
    6. Grate the lemon rind
    7. Sift together the flour, spices and salt then add, together with the grated lemon rind, to the bowl of mixed fruit
    8. Cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale, soft and fluffy
    9. Break the eggs into a basin and whisk lightly with a fork
    10. Add the whisked egg, 2 tablespoons at a time, to the creamed butter mixture, beating until well mixed each time before adding more egg
    11. With a tablespoon, fold in the flour and fruit mixture; add a little milk if necessary to make the mixture soft enough to drop from the spoon when it’s held above the bowl and shaken
    12. Turn the mixture into the prepared baking tin, spread it evenly around the tin and make a dip in the center
    13. Bake at the bottom of the oven at 300F, Gas Mark 2, 160C for about four and a half hours until the cake is golden brown and firm to the touch
    14. To prevent the cake over-browning, cover with two or three pieces of brown paper after the first two and a half hour’s baking
    15. Test with a fine skewer, insert the skewer in the cake and when it is drawn out it should look quite clean
    16. Allow the cake to cool in the tin
    17. Before storing the cake, prick with a fine skewer and slowly pour the brandy over it
    18. When storing the cake, wrap it in several layers of greaseproof paper, then wrap in foil or store in an airtight tin
    19. Cakes made several weeks before Christmas will become darker in colour and richer in flavour
    20. Decorate the cake with almond paste and royal icing (see Hookery Cookery Christmas Recipes

    Recipe: Bloody Mary

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Bloody Mary Serves 1


    Classic hangover cure or ‘hair of the dog’ after that wild party: also serves as an excellent pre-dinner cocktail


  • 3 fl. oz. (75ml) tomato juice
  • 1 fl. oz. (25ml) vodka
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a cocktail shaker then add the tomato juice and ice cubes
    2. Add a couple of drops of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco while being careful not to overdo the Tabasco then add a pinch of salt
    3. Close the shaker and mix well
    4. Pour into a tumbler, add a little ground black pepper, and serve

    Recipe: Almond Paste

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Almond Paste Enough to cover one 9 inch fruit cake


    Cover your Christmas cake with this almond paste at least acouple of days before adding the royal icing or the almond oil may discolour the icing


  • 12 oz. (375g) ground almonds
  • 12 oz. (375g) icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla essence
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • jucie of half a lemon
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl then add the ground almonds
    2. Stir the egg into the almonds and sugar then add the vanilla essence and enough lemon juice to make a stiff dough
    3. Shape into a ball and knead lightly

    Recipe: Royal Icing

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Royal Icing


    A lovely icing that’s the ideal topping for your Christmas cake prior to your decorations


  • 16 oz. (900g) icing sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 tsps. glycerine
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Sift the sugar into a mixing bowl
    2. Stir the egg whites in a separate bowl just sufficiently to break them up
    3. Add half of the sifted sugar, mix well then stir briskly until the mixture becomes smooth, glossy and white
    4. Cover the bowl with greaseproof paper and leave for an hour so that the bubbles are allowed to rise to the surface
    5. Add sufficient of the remaining sugar to form a stiff consistency, stiff enough so the mixture rises to form peaks when pulled up with a spoon
    6. Add the glycerine and leave the icing in an airtight container overnight in a cool place before using

    Recipe: Syllabub

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Syllabub Serves 4


    An enchanting creamy, lemon and sherry dessert that can be made well in advance, the perfect finale to a festive dinner party


  • one eighth of a pint (75ml) sherry
  • half a pint (300ml) double cream
  • 2 oz. (50g) caster sugar
  • juice and grated rind of half a lemon
  • a few ratafias
  • lemon slices, to decorate
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Stir together the lemon juice, grated lemon rind, sherry and sugar until the sugar has dissolved
    2. Blend in the cream and whip lightly
    3. Crush the ratafias and place in the bottom of individual dishes
    4. Arrange the syllabub on top of the ratafias , decorate with lemon slices and serve chilled

    Recipe: Tarts Sioned (Welsh Lemon Cheesecakes)

    Hookery Cookery Home > Welsh Recipes > Tarts Sioned (Welsh Lemon Cheesecakes)


    Mouthwatering shortcrust pastry tarts with a sweet and savory filling.


  • raspberry jam
  • (For the pastry) 6oz flour
  • (For the pastry) 3oz lard
  • (For the pastry) pinch of salt
  • (For the pastry) cold water
  • (For the mixture) 1 egg and its weight in butter, sugar and flour
  • (For the mixture) A pinch of baking powder
  • (For the mixture) grated rind of half a lemon
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Line patty-tins with short crust pastry made with pastry ingredients
    2. Put into each a small quantity of raspberry jam
    3. For the mixture, beat the butter and sugar to a cream, add egg and flour alternately (beating well between each addition), then the lemon rind and ,lastly, the baking powder
    4. Put a teaspoonful of the mixture on top of the jam and bake immediately in a fairly quick oven until nicely browned
    5. Cool on a rack then sift over with caster sugar

    Recipe: Roast Sirloin of Beef with Horseradish Cream

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Roast Sirloin of Beef with Horseradish Cream Allow at least 8 oz (225g) meat, uncooked weight, per serving


    Roast beef has been served on the Christmas table centuries before the supermarkets decreed that turkey was the traditional Yuletide fare; succulent roast sirloin makes a welcome change from that most over-hyped of Christmas birds



  • sirloin of beef, allowing 8oz. (225g) uncooked weight per serving
  • a little oil or dripping if beef is very lean

    Horseradish cream

  • quarter pint of double cream
  • 2 tsps. sugar
  • 2 tsps. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps. grated horseradish
  • pinch of mustard
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. #for the meat
    2. Pre-heat the oven to 425F, Gas Mark 7, 210 C
    3. Weigh the meat and place in a roasting tin, adding a little dripping if very lean
    4. Roast in the centre of the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes per lb. plus 20 minutes for a medium done joint
    5. # for the horseradish cream
    6. Put the horseradish, sugar, mustard and lemon juice into a bowl and mix well
    7. Whip the double cream until it begins to stiffen
    8. Blend the whipped cream into the horseradish mixture then spoon into a serving bowl to accompany the beef

    Recipe: Snowdon Pudding

    Hookery Cookery Home > Welsh Recipes > Snowdon Pudding


    The lemon and marmalade flavor bring out the best in this suet pudding. Serve with a white sauce.


  • 8 oz white breadcrumbs
  • 8oz fine suet
  • 5 large eggs
  • 4 oz raisins
  • 6oz fine brown sugar
  • rind of 3 lemons
  • 2oz cornflour
  • 5oz lemon marmalade
  • pinch of salt
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. In a large ,well greased, pudding basin, place some of the raisins on the base to decorate
    2. Mix together all the dry ingredients, then beat the eggs and add to the mixture
    3. Beat the eggs and add to the mixture
    4. Pour into the basin and cover tightly with a cloth
    5. Boil for one and a half hours remembering to top up the water as it boils down
    6. Serve with white sauce

    Recipe: Roast Loin of Pork with Prune and Apple Stuffing

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Roast Loin of Pork with Prune and Apple Stuffing Serves 4-6


    Succulent roast pork with a tasty stuffing and terrific crackling


  • 3 lbs. (1.5 kg) loin of pork, boned and scored
  • 4 oz. (125g) cooking apples, peeled and chopped
  • 4 oz. (125g) prunes, stoned and soaked
  • oil and salt
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Make deep and close cuts in the pork skin to make crackling
    2. Open the soaked prunes and flatten
    3. Make a deep slit in the thick portion of pork flesh to form a pocket
    4. Insert the flattened prunes and chopped apples in alternate layers
    5. Roll the meat firmly around the filling and secure with string
    6. Brush the scored crackling with oil and rub in the salt
    7. Place the pork on a rack in a roasting tin and cook in the center of a pre-heated oven at 375F, Gas Mark 5, 190C for one and a half to two hours
    8. Make sure pork is thoroughly cooked before serving

    Recipe: Chestnut Soup

    Hookery Cookery Home > Christmas Recipes > Chestnut Soup Serves 4-6


    What better way to start your Christmas dinner than with this seasonal chestnut soup


  • 1 lb. (450g) chestnuts
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 onion, large
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pints (1.2 litres) chicken or turkey stock
  • Cooking Instructions:

    1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F, Gas Mark 6, 200C
    2. With a sharp knife, make a slit in the outer skin of the chestnuts
    3. Arrange chestnuts on a baking sheet and bake in the pre-heated oven until the skins crack
    4. Peel off the two layers of skin off the chestnuts while they are still hot and place in a pan
    5. Add all the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil, then lower the heat before covering the pan and allowing it to simmer for about 45 minutes
    6. Check that the chestnuts and celery are tender then remove the bay leaf
    7. Pour the soup into a blender to produce a smooth puree
    8. Return to a pan and heat gently, thinning with a little milk if necessary, before serving