I am often asked for my Christmas Fruitcake recipe, for many years this has been scribbled down on a piece of paper and preciously tucked away for the festive season. I finally got around to typing it up so here it is. Enjoy!
Makes 2 x standard 9 x 5 inch loaf cakes
125g dried cranberries
125g dried apricots (quartered)
125g mixed peel
250g chopped dates
175g candied red cherries
75g crystalised ginger
100ml Assam tea
225g butter, at room temperature
425g dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs, at room temperature
375g plain (all purpose) flour
85g golden syrup, or dark corn syrup
Zest of one orange
100ml cranberry juice
225g chopped almonds
Night before …
Mix the fruit with the brandy of your choice & tea in a plastic or ceramic bowl – cover and let rest overnight.
Big day …
Preheat your oven to 300f (150c)
For the batter place the butter and sugar in a large bowl, beat together until well combined.
Add in the salt, spices, orange zest and baking powder.
Beat in the eggs one at a time.
Gradually add in the flour a little at a time.
Add in the syrup.
Now gradually add the cranberry juice.
Finally add in all of the soaked fruit and any residual brandy and tea leftover from soaking.
Spoon the batter into two well greased and lined 9 x 5 inch loaf tins.
Bake the cakes on the middle shelf of the oven for 2 hours 15 minutes. The cakes are done when a wooden/metal skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
When the cakes come out of the oven they can remain in their tins for storage. Alternatively carefully remove cake from the pan after about 30 minutes, loosening its edges first.
Brush the warm cake with brandy.
When the cakes are completely cool, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap & in an air tight container. Store them in a dark cupboard at room temperature (continue to feed brandy and rewrap weekly/biweekly depending on how boozy you like it until Christmas) will keep for around 6 months if fed brandy regularly and kept well wrapped.
Going the whole festive hog? …
When ready to serve brush the cakes with warm apricot jam and ice with a layer of marzipan (I love Maritime Marzipan from Fritz Chocolates) followed by a layer of fondant icing.
Here on Prince Edward Island as well as world renowned shellfish caught daily by local fisherman and delivered to every kind of eatery, local artisan producers, dairy bars, coffee shops and farmers markets; foodies are spoilt for choice when it comes to first class restaurants, too. We are Canada’s Food Island after all!
Cavendish boasts some of the finest restaurants on the island. Take in the sunset at the Blue Mussel Cafe in North Rustico, enjoy a quaint supper at The Pearl with the finest of local ingredients or try out one of the many award winning culinary experiences at the TheTable Culinary Studio in New London.
Whether you are looking for romantic vacation ideas for an anniversary weekend, an unforgettable honeymoon or a romantic break for just the two of you – Cavendish is the place for you. Cavendish can feel like a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and is the perfect destination for a romantic place to stay.
The area boasts many beautiful hotels, inns or holiday cottages. Enjoy peaceful evening sunset strolls along the soft sandy shores, take in a picturesque farm tour at Island Honey Wine sampling their different varieties of mead along the way and why not indulge an intimate supper for two prepared by Chef Emily Wells at The Mill in New Glasgow with pretty views over the Hunter River – just a few examples of the many ways to unwind here. This area is also home to some of the finest oysters on Prince Edward Island, oysters are considered a delicacy and are said to hold aphrodisiac qualities!
3. Stylish Lodgings
Whether it’s a bucket and spade holiday for the whole family, a romantic staycation for just the two of you, or you’re packing your pooch for a dog-friendly adventure – Cavendish ticks every box. Romance seeking couples would enjoy a stay at the Barachois Inn nestled in a historic Acadian settlement with luxurious suites, Victorian tubs and balconies. Kindred Spirits Country Inn and Cottages is the perfect place for that family vacation located next-door to Green Gables and close to all of the major family attractions and golf. Fancy a waterfront stay? The Inn at The Pier offers a waterfront view of New London Bay in Stanley Bridge, overlooking the sand dunes of the PEI National Park. Many of the properties in this area also offer great deals with their signature packages including family fun, unlimited golf, Anne, adventure, stay and savour and romance packages included.
4. Amazing Trails
Enjoy the many amazing trails in and around the Cavendish area, these provide a great way to stay active on your vacation. Wether you are hiking, walking or biking it is easy to maintain social distancing measures and they are a fantastic way to take in the great outdoors. You can find the location of all of these amazing trails here (link)https://cavendishbeachpei.com/trail-maps/
5. Beautiful Beaches
From sweeping stretches of sandy shores, to dramatic red cliffed coves with wild waves crashing, the Cavendish area boasts sandbars, dunes, spectacular sunsets and lighthouses; there’s every kind of beach going here. Cavendish and Brackley beaches both have miles of stunningly beautiful coastline, helpfully marked out with public paths so you can make the most of the views. Why not enjoy a beach picnic with wood fired pizza from Glasgow Glen Farm and how can you resist a slice of that raspberry cream cheese pie at the PEI Preserve company; it is a great way to maintain social distancing and fun for all of the family.
6. Outdoor Adventure
But being surrounded by coastline means that there’s an opportunity to swim, sail, paddle board, kayak, kite board or hitch a ride on a boat trip, wherever you’re based. There is always something undiscovered around every red dirt corner, secluded creek and footprint free beach.
7. Family Fun
Cavendish is definitely P.E.I’s capital of family fun! Home to Sandspit a classic amusement park, Shining Waters Family Fun Park, Wax World of the Stars, River of Adventure Mini Golf and Ripley’s Believe It or Not – this area is loaded with family fun for an incredible vacation that will create memories that will last a lifetime. So pick up your bucket and spades and head on over to Cavendish beach this summer!
On a sunny day, you’ll feel as though you’ve just arrived in paradise, as you glance out over blue sea and even bluer skies. So pop on some walking shoes and explore the coastal walks, sandy beaches, lupin laden footpaths and fishing villages. Take in the fresh sea air and relax whilst comfortably social distancing in the charming nautical surroundings.
Everywhere you turn in Cavendish, there is a postcard-perfect fishing village that will make you dream of upping sticks from the city to the seaside. Some of the best include: North Rustico, which offers a scenic boardwalk, kayaking and cool restaurants; the quaint harbour of Stanley Bridge offers local artisan shops, eateries and deep sea fishing excursions, and you have to try Richard’s famous Fish and Chips at the wharf at Cove Head Harbour.
Cavendish is home four premium golf courses all within a ten minute drive, what’s not to love! Green Gables Golf Club was designed in 1939 by world-renowned architect Stanley Thompson with restorations in 2007 by Thomas McBroom. Andersons Creek Golf Club offers mixed woodlands, generous greens, rolling hills and undulating fairways to make for a fun and challenging round no matter your handicap.
10. History and Heritage
Think of a precocious redhead, ice-cream, raspberry cordial and a beautiful green and white homestead thrown in for good measure. Visiting Cavendish is an Anne themed haven, offering a vacation experience like no other. Follow in the footsteps of L.M Montgomery by visiting the Historic Site of Green Gables, send a postcard home from Cavendish Post Office, you will discover the fascinating connection between this illustrious Canadian writer L.M Montgomery and the post. Visit Avonlea Village and pick up a bottle of Anne’s favourite raspberry cordial.
A fantastic way to discover all things Anne is by taking the Lucy Maud Montgomery Literary Tour, a self guided scavenger hunt. There are countless ways to enjoy the tour, all dependent upon your personal time availability and your personal interests. You can find out more and download a map here (link here) https://lmmontgomeryliterarytour.com/plan-your-tour/
When we moved to Canada back in 2017 one of the things that I missed the most was European style chocolate. Fast forward four years and I am now spoilt for choice with many talented Island chocolatiers. This Easter is a celebration of our local island artisans with beautiful handmade chocolate bunnies from Jane and Sue Chocolate It was nice to pop out to their shop in Stanley Bridge and pick up these beauties.
Also more amazing handmade Island chocolate from Fritz Chocolates I am a huge fan of their chocolate and marzipan – you can now pick up a bar of their delicious chocolate when you visit The Den as well as many other island locations. Happy Easter
I am counting down the days to lobster setting day in seven weeks – my absolute favourite time of the year here on Prince Edward Island. Growing up in and around Staffordshire in England lobster was always seen as a luxury item only served on the menu in posh restaurants or on holidays to the Mediterranean. I am happy to say that lobster has now become a weekly staple in our household during the summer months and is a symbol of those warm, salty sea breeze summer days to come.
For over 150 years, Prince Edward Island lobster fishers have been waking up early, setting their traps and hauling in the most delicious red-shelled crustaceans to share with customers around the world. About 1200 Island lobster fishers work out of PEI’s 45 ports; many fishers are carrying on a tradition that goes back generations.
Prince Edward Island lobster is low in fat and carbohydrates and is high in protein. It has less saturated fat, calories and cholesterol than lean favourites such as pork, extra lean beef, and chicken. At less than 100 calories per serving (with 89% of those calories from protein and only 5% from fat), lobster is a great choice for any diet.
Lobster contains just one tenth of the saturated fats of turkey, with cholesterol only slightly higher than salmon, it contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces the risk of heart attack and is one of the best proteins for people seeking to lower their fat or carbohydrate intake. Lobster is also high in vitamin B12, an excellent source of copper and selenium and a good source of phosphorus.
My favourite way to enjoy lobster is simply boiled in salty water (it should be as salty as the sea) and served with a bowl of warm clarified butter. This is pure lobster perfection. For more details of where to buy Prince Edward Island lobster visit lobsterpei.ca.
I recently enjoyed a last minute staycation with my daughter Annabella in Charlottetown. We stayed at the Delta Hotel by Marriott right down by the waterfront, we had fantastic views of Charlottetown Harbour from our room.
We enjoyed a lovely little hotel room picnic in our Water View King Room and enjoyed watching Bridget Jones on the 32 inch LCD TV, it’s nice to have a change of scenery and get out during these winter months and we could log into Netflix via the app on the TV in our room which was great. In room dining is currently suspended at the hotel but we picked up sushi, fresh fruit and macarons to enjoy in our room.
Breakfast was served the next morning and was included in our stay. Annabella chose an elaborate breakfast of stuffed French toast with sausage, whipped cream, compote and Nutella. I opted for a modest bacon and poached eggs with multigrain toast.
A late check out meant that their was time for a dip in the pool. We really enjoyed our little getaway and it really was great value if you are looking for a winter escape. The Family Package (available Fri & Sat) was $174 including taxes for a Water View King Room, complimentary parking, $50 breakfast credit and 3pm check out. We will definitely be back before the winter is out.
On our way out for lunch last week we saw this little fella stumbling around on the road out in the countryside. Jack my stepson got out of the car and picked it up before anyone could say anything. We then all died of fright thinking that he could be a baby coyote. Everyone was panicking to think that this disheveled little chap was diseased and may turn on us at any moment.
After calling the PEI Humane Society and sending them pictures we establish that in fact it is an old dog, which then leaves us to venture off knocking on random houses in the middle of nowhere – the dog was eventually reunited with his owner who opened the door and said “holy snappin, he ran out on me” a stressful half an hour never a dull moment!!
I’ve had a difficult relationship with food for my entire life really. I am very careful around how I tackle the subject of weight loss, especially with myself and around my daughter.
However after stepping on to the scales this week and admitting that I’d piled on lbs since moving to Canada (I think that two years at culinary school helped with this lol). I had to admit to myself that something needed to be done for the sake of my health.
I have quite some way to go to put my weight to where it needs to be to be risk free of health problems, but I am excited to be trying out and creating new recipes – changing the way that I eat for the better.
On 5 November, people across the UK celebrate Bonfire Night with fireworks, bonfires, sparklers and toffee apples. The reason we do it is because it’s the anniversary of a failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
This was called the Gunpowder Plot. When we light bonfires to remember this event, traditionally there would be a dummy man on the top. It is called the ‘Guy’ and represents a man who was part of the plot, called Guy Fawkes.
School half-term once coincided with ‘Guy Fawkes Night’ or ‘Bonfire Night’ on 5th November, and children spent their holiday making an effigy of Guy Fawkes, dressed in old clothes, which was paraded round the streets, while passers-by were accosted with ‘Penny for the Guy?’. The money that was collected was spent on fireworks and the ‘guy’ was burned on a bonfire, accompanied by fireworks on the evening of 5th November.
Treacle toffee is the absolute treat on Bonfire Night, the 5th of November. No Bonfire Night would be complete without it! The toffee is also known as Plot Toffee, understandably because of Guy Fawkes and his plot to blow up the houses of parliament.