Category Archives: Just desserts

18Mar/16

Caramelised rice & carrot pudding

Caramelised rice & carrot pudding(2)

Yesterday was cold and wintry….more so than it has been so far this winter; the kind of day when you cuddle up in bed with a hot water bottle, a book and a bed full of cats……bliss.  I finished my book early afternoon and strolled down to the kitchen, followed by cats, to throw together a bowl full of traditional rice pudding which I had been craving for a while…but I wanted it to be sort of different – creamier and a little caramely? With nothing to lose I went ahead and did it and am I glad I did. The caramel took no time and I decided to add a grated carrot which made the texture more interesting and gave the pudding a warm glow, so here we have caramelised rice & carrot pudding, at your service!

Ingredients

700ml soya milk
100 grams pudding rice
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
150 grams sugar
Good knob plant based butter

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 140C, 280F, gas mark 1
  2. Warm the soya milk on low heat and stir in rice, grated carrot and caramel (see below for recipe)
  3. Stir the mixture until it is simmering then pour into an ovenproof dish and add knob of butter
  4. Bake in the preheated oven at for 1½ – 2 hours. Stir the pudding a couple of times through baking

Caramelised rice & carrot pudding(5)

Caramel

I used Delia Smith’s recipe which is simple and works every time.  Use 150 grams of sugar and 3 tablespoons of cold water – read her illustrated instructions carefully, it is simple and works beautifully

Caramelised rice & carrot pudding(3)

….with a drizzle of Oatly cream for added indulgence

 

07Feb/16

Banana & Pecan bread

Banana bread with walnuts

This banana & pecan bread is perfect with afternoon tea or a snack when you get the munchies!

Ingredients

50ml plant based milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1¼ cup plain white flour
2 tablespoons oil (sunflower or any other)
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 heaped tablespoons sugar (brown or white)
Good pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup chopped pecans (or substitute with walnut)

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180C, 350F or gas mark 4

  1. Mix the milk and cider vinegar and leave to curdle
  2. In a large bowl mix together mashed bananas, oil and sugar
  3. In another bowl mix flour, salt, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and nuts
  4. Now add the banana mixture and curdled milk to the dry flour mixture and give it a good stir with a wooden spoon
  5. Line the tin (mine is 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches) with baking parchment and pour the mixture in
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C, 350F or gas mark 4 for 35-40 minutes. Best to check after 35 minutes by inserting a skewer and if it comes out clean, the cake is baked!

 

14Dec/15

Wholemeal Carrot Cake

Carrot cake(2)

Hello everyone, most of us have had a go at the ubiquitous carrot cake loved by all. Here is a wholemeal version which I find is so much ‘nuttier’ with a far better texture. I used equal measures of white and wholemeal flour and pecan nuts instead of my usual walnuts.  Nothing to stop you making it just wholemeal flour but half and half of each turned out just too perfect!  Can’t go far wrong with carrot cake and keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.

Ingredients

1 cup plain white flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
½ cup shredded coconut
6 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup mixed dried fruit and peel
3 cups coarsely grated carrots (2 large carrots)
½ cup pecan nuts, coarsely chopped
Juice and zest of 1 orange
¾ cup oil

Carrot cake

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180C, 350F, gas mark 4
  • Grease and line tin with greaseproof paper
  • In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients up to nutmeg (as listed above)
  • Add rest of the ingredients followed by orange juice & oil and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be quite stiff
  • Pour into a shallow oblong baking dish 8 x 6 x 1½ inches and bake for 45 minutes. Pierce with skewer and if it comes out clean, the cake is done, if not give another 5 minutes
  • Let it cool for 30 minutes on rack and cover with icing. I used a simple icing made with icing sugar mixed with just a little cold water – stir with wooden spoon until it blends thoroughly and is not too runny.
03Jun/15

Semolina Nut Crunch

Semolina Nut bars(2)

I don’t do sweets and chocolates much! but I do like a small piece of something sweet after dinner….just one little morsel. Usually it’s chocolate but the other day I was reminded of this semolina nut crunch my great aunt used to do!! I never really got the recipe from her – too young to be bothered with recipes and far more interested in munching – but I think this is the closest I will get to the original, and it turned out crunchy and nutty and not overly sweet which suits me just fine.

I have used golden syrup although I am pretty sure my great aunt made her own sugar syrup, but golden syrup works and it is simpler.  I love almonds and pistachios and as she used these nuts so have I, but you can choose your favourite nuts to substitute.

Ingredients

150 grams semolina
2 tablespoons oil
2 cardamom pods
3 heaped tablespoons golden syrup mixed with 3 tablespoons of hot water
25 grams almonds , coarsely chopped or partially ground
25 grams pistachios, coarsely chopped or partially ground (substitute with whichever nuts you prefer)

Method

  • Heat the oil in a pan and add semolina
  • On low heat saute the semolina, stirring all the time until a pale golden – this will take about 5 minutes. Be careful as semolina burns easily so keep stirring with a wooden spoon
  • Remove from heat and immediately add nuts and golden syrup mixed with hot water and stir until mixed thoroughly
  • Put in a small shallow dish (mine is approximately 5 x 7 inches) and press down with the back of a wooden spoon or use your fingers to press it down firmly

Semolina Nut bars

  • Give it 20 minutes to cool a little and using a very sharp knife lightly score into squares or rectangles – don’t cut, just score
  • After a couple of hours cut through the squares making sure you use a sharp, pointed knife

Note: Store in an air tight tin in a cool place – will last for a couple of weeks without any problem but I doubt if there will be any left to store for 2 weeks! I find the texture is better the next day, chewier.

23Jan/15

Easy Apple Cake with olive oil

Apple & olive oil cake

Lately I’ve bought loads of gorgeous, fragrant apples from our local farmer’s market every Saturday and done justice to each and every beauty.  Best apples I have ever eaten, dripping with juice and so fragrant, every single variety distinct and each one a winner.   But I have also used them for an apple & date crumble, apple pie, Tarte Tatin and now this ever so easy apple cake with olive oil!  I readily admit that I am not a cake or dessert expert and am always surprised when I take the cake out of the oven and it actually looks and tastes like a cake! Whopeeee a success! Calls for a jig around the kitchen table and the cats look on. whiskers askance, ears perked,  baffled by this uncharacteristic behaviour…….. humans, what next?!?!

Keep going I tell myself, next project is to try different fruits, something with pineapple perhaps or even soft fruit….hmmmm, that one might be tricky but will definitely have a go – only way to learn I believe is to get your hands in the flour and add a large pinch of courage and away we go.  I hope you will do the same and pop an apple cake in the oven soon!

By the way, this is the first time I used flax to replace egg – I had flax seeds which I put through the coffee grinder.  1 tablespoon flax powder + 3 tablespoons water = 1 egg and it works beautifully, no problem at all and I think I will stick with flax as a substitute for egg in the future.  The other thing I learnt was that adding something slightly coarse like cornmeal to the cake mix enhances the texture and gives it a very slight crunch – scrumpilitious! 

Ingredients

3 small or 2 large eating apples (I used Russets, but Cox’s or Braeburns are good too; any apple with a bit of tart)
100 grams plain white flour
50 grams cornmeal (medium ground)
100 grams light brown sugar
Grated rind of half lemon
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon flax powder dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water (takes about 10 minutes to get a gel-like consistency)
50ml olive oil (about 4 level tablespoons)
50ml orange juice (about 4 level tablespoons)
50ml coconut or soya milk (about 4 level tablespoons)
Couple of tablespoons of sugar for sprinkling on cake

Apple & olive oil cake(2)
Looking good!

lApple & olive oil cake(3)

Method

  1. Peel, core and cut the apples into small pieces
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
  3. Add apples and wet ingredients and mix thoroughly
  4. Pour into small cake tin (mine is a 6 inch round tin), oiled and lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar
  5. Bake in pre-heated oven at 190C, 375F or gas mark 5 for about 70-80 minutes (adjust temperature for fan-assisted oven).
  6. For the last 15 minutes cover the cake loosely with a sheet of baking paper to keep it from going too brown.
  7. Stick a skewer in the cake and if it comes out clean, which it should, the cake is ready!

Tip: This is a beautiful apple-rich moist cake and it can be eaten warm with vegan cream or ice cream too

11Jan/15

Apple & Date Crumble

Apple & Date crumble

Come winter we crave warm, hearty, comfort food and that applies to desserts as well as savoury.   Good quality berries and soft fruit are hard to come by, but on the bright side, we are blessed with the most fragrant and juicy English apples.  I always try and get my apples from our local farmer’s market on Saturday – for one, I often find varieties you would never see in the supermarket (take a look at this link and feast your eyes on these beauties) and as you would expect, they are juicier and far more flavoursome than those available in the shops. This Saturday we came home with Cox’s, Braeburns and some beautiful Egremont Russets. In this recipe I have used a mix of Cox’s and Braeburns although Cox’s in my opinion are usually the best for pies provided they don’t cost the earth!

Apple & Date Crumble as the name suggests has the added sweetness of dates and dark unrefined molasses sugar with a little coconut to add a bit of crunch to the crumble.  You can use a lighter sugar if you prefer, but I love the richness of the molasses. Served with Oatley cream, nothing beats an apple crumble for simplicity and taste.

4-6 servings

Ingredients

4 large apples (mine weighed about 700 grams) – use slightly tart eating apples like Cox’s or Braeburns
10-12 dates, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon natural unrefined cane sugar (about 30 grams) (I used Billington’s molasses sugar)
Juice of ½ lemon
1 small stick cinnamon 

Crumble ingredients
5 heaped tablespoons wholemeal flour (about 120 grams)
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut (about 20 grams)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar (about 50 grams)
3 tablespoons vegan butter

Method

  • Peel and roughly chop apples. Coat in lemon juice and set aside
  • Mix the sugar with 4 tablespoons of water and gently dissolve on low heat

Apple & Date crumble(2)
Dark, syrupy, unrefined cane sugar

  • Add apples, dates and cinnamon stick, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until apples are cooked – dry off excess liquid if any
  • For the crumble, mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and add butter
  • Rub with tips of fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs
  • Put apples in an ovenproof dish, remember to remove the cinnamon stick, and cover with crumble

Apple & Date crumble(3)
Cooked apples and dates in dish

  • Cook in pre-heated oven on 180C,  350F or gas mark 4 for 35 minutes (adjust temperature for fan-assisted oven)
  • Serve with cream or ice cream – warm is best!
07Dec/14

Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin(3)

The Tarte Tatin is a story of one of those happy accidents in the kitchen – it is said that one of the Tatin sisters in France was baking an apple pie for guests and she accidentally dropped the pie! In one of those Eureka moments, she did what many of us have done in the kitchen when a recipe doesn’t quite live up to our expectations – she improvised!  She picked up the pie, turned it over, tidied it up and served it to her guests upside down and the Tarte Tatin as we now know it was born – and aren’t we glad she dropped the pie and saved the day with the simple act of turning the pie over  …….. what would have been a culinary disaster is today one of the best loved forms of apple pie.  Here is a link to the story of Tarte Tatin and the Tatin sisters….if you are interested.

And the Tarte Tatin went on to be improvised by great innovative cooks into many other sorts of upside down pies using bananas, apricots, plums, peaches and even savoury upside down pies baked with vegetables like peppers, onions, beans and tomatoes.  

Most Tarte Tatin recipes use more or less the same method…. some use cinnamon or cloves to add a hint of spice or a splash of brandy or liqueur to give it that extra oomph.  I have left the spices out of this recipe and let the apples speak for themselves.  I hope you will try it and enjoy this simple and delicious all time favourite –  my husband said, having devoured half the pie, I hope you will do this again and yes I shall!

Tarte Tatin(2)

Ingredients

1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry (I used JusRol frozen puff pastry which is vegan)
4-5 eating apples – about 700-750 grams (use Cox’s, Braeburns or any apple which is slightly tart)
100 grams light brown sugar
60ml Brandy or Calvados (I used Brandy), OR simply use 60ml water OR mix alcohol with water in equal parts
1 vanilla pod, remove the seeds by splitting with a knife and scrape the seeds out (you could use half teaspoon of vanilla essence)
50 grams vegan butter
Juice and rind of half lemon
8 inch shallow pie dish

Method

  1. Defrost the pastry – takes a couple of hours
  2. Peel and core the apples using an apple corer or cut in half horizontally and scoop out the seeds and core with a teaspoon
  3. Coat apples with lemon juice and set aside
  4. Turn the oven on now to pre-heat at 190C, 375F or gas mark 5 (adjust temperature for fan assisted oven)
  5. In a large frying pan add sugar and Brandy (or whatever you choose to use) and gently dissolve the sugar on low heat, stirring all the time. Let this simmer for about 5 minutes until all the sugar is completely dissolved
  6. Add lemon rind, vanilla seeds (or vanilla essence) and place the apples in the frying pan, cut side down. Cover and cook on low for about 10 minutes – there should be very little sticky caramelised juice left in the pan – if too much, uncover and dry it off a little
  7. Add butter and allow it to melt – take off the heat
  8. Now gently arrange the apple halves cut side down in the tarte tatin dish and scrape all the sticky juices on it
  9. Roll the pastry so it is about an inch larger than the size of the dish – you can always trim the pastry with kitchen scissors when you place it on the dish if it is too big. Place on top of apples and tuck the edges into the dish.  Lightly prick the pastry with a fork or skewer
  10. Place Tarte Tatin in pre-heated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes
  11. Let it cool for 10 minutes, place a plate over the dish and turn it over!  Be careful and wear your oven gloves
  12. Serve warm with cream or ice cream
09Nov/14

Wholemeal apple & cider pie

Wholemeal apple & cider pie(2)

Yesterday being a Saturday, I trotted down to our local Farmer’s market …. the varieties of brassicas was something to behold.  Came back with a huge bunch of Red Russian Kale, Cavolo Nero, apples and a gorgeous crusty loaf of rosemary bread!  Apples in the Farmer’s market are quite unlike the ones in the supermarket – you can smell them from a distance as you approach the stall, lined up with boxes of varieties unheard of in the shops.  On my way I had a hazy idea of doing an apple pie but she had run out of cookers!  Undaunted I bought some Cox’s, a very fragrant, slightly tart and crisp apple which is on the top of the list of apple lovers in the UK, specially if you buy them from the Farmer’s market, or if you are lucky, pick them from your tree.  I used to have an apple tree but it got sick and had to be cut down….sad.

Having got the Cox’s, I wasn’t sure which way the pie was going as this apple keeps its shape and traditional British apple pie (as far as I am aware) uses cooking apples, like Bramleys which go mushy and are very tart.  American apple pie on the other hand uses eating apples and the apples are not  cooked prior to baking.   I wanted the apples to stick together when cooked and not fall apart when the pie was cut….that wouldn’t look too good although wouldn’t have made much difference to the taste.  I also had a vision of a dense, moist filling, almost like mince meat used in mince pies.  I decided if I coarsely grated the apples, and cooked them in cider (bells ringing now!!), used dark unrefined sugar and then a little arrowroot powder to bind the mixture, I might win the battle of the perfect slice of apple pie.

As the apples simmered in cider, the kitchen filled with the heady fragrance of apples. cider with hints of cinnamon; at this point I could have just eaten the boozy apple stew with ice cream and been a very happy bunny indeed.  But I restrained myself from indulging in this wicked temptation and popped the pie into the oven, waited impatiently for it to cook, let it sit for a few minutes and then cut a deep, large slice.  Lifted it onto a plate………and hey, a perfect slice of rich, dark, fragrant apple pie, with a distinct flavour of the whole bottle of cider I had used up!  

The wholemeal pastry makes this a hearty, hefty apple pie but if you prefer a lighter texture, use white flour and cut out the baking powder.  I hope you will try this as having tasted it, I for one will never go back to the basics.

Wholemeal apple & cider pie

Using my newly acquired enamel pie dish

Wholemeal apple & cider pie(3)

Yum!

6 servings

Ingredients for apple pie
500 grams eating apples (slightly tart, crisp variety, I used Cox’s)
Half cup, about 60 grams mixed dried fruit (raisins & currants)
500ml still cider
2 inch stick cinnamon
70 grams natural unrefined cane sugar (I used Billington’s Molasses sugar for a rich dark finish, but you could use the lighter variety)
1 heaped teaspoon arrowroot powder

Ingredients for wholemeal shortcrust pastry (600 grams for 8 inch pie dish)
400 grams plain wholemeal flour (I used Allinson’s wholemeal flour, available at Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. If you prefer a lighter pastry, you can use white flour of course and cut out the baking powder)
200 gram margarine
4 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
50ml cold water

Instructions for shortcrust pastry

  • Put the dry ingredients in a bowl and margarine. Rub together with your fingertips to mix margarine with the flour – should resemble breadcrumbs
  • Add cold water and form a dough
  • Wrap in cling film, shape the dough into a ball (easier with the cling film on) and leave in fridge for 30 minutes or longer.  It is important to keep pastry cool at all times
  • Flour a large pastry board or work surface and roll out pastry to fit dish
  • Bake according to instructions in recipe

Instructions for apple pie

  1. Make the pastry and leave in fridge to keep cool (it’s very important to keep pastry cool at all times)
  2. Now peel, core and coarsely grate the apples
  3. Put in stainless steel pan and add dried fruit, cinnamon and cider and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes
  4. Remove cinnamon stick and add sugar. Bring to boil and lower heat and cook for another 10-15 minutes stirring intermittently – check for sweetness and add a little more sugar if you prefer it sweeter.  There should be very little liquid left in the pan (about 2-3 tablespoons)
  5. Mix the arrowroot powder with 2 tablespoons cold water and add to apples. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes – you should now have a thick apple stew, bound together in a rich glaze.  If it still looks a little runny, add some more arrowroot and cook on medium/high, stirring all the time until nice and thick
  6. You will need to round sheets of pastry for the pie; the bottom sheet larger than the top crust sheet
  7. Divide the pastry into two (one larger than the other) and roll out the large sheet and line the pie dish with this
  8. Pour the apple stew into the pie dish and cover with second slightly smaller sheet
  9. Press the edges to seal – use a little water to help seal pastry. You can flute the edges if you wish – I use the back of a wooden spoon to flute
  10. Pop into pre-heated oven at 200C, 400F or gas mark 6 for 30-35 minutes (adjust temperature for fan assisted ovens and check pie after 30 minutes)
  11. Serve with Oatly long life cream or a scoop or two of non-dairy ice cream – I like Swedish Glace available at Waitrose!
05Nov/14

Wholemeal shortcrust pastry

Wholmeal Spinach flan
Spinach flan with wholemeal pastry

Who remembers Cranks? This wholemeal shortcrust pastry recipe is from my old, oh so old and beloved Cranks’ Recipe Book and each time I go through it I am overwhelmed by this feeling of nostalgic happy days and the first ever vegetarian, organic, wholefood restaurant in London.   Started by David Canter and his wife Kay, Cranks was one of the first to promote wholesome and ethical vegetarian food but sadly Cranks closed down in 2001 paying the price for not keeping up with times, not cutting costs and serving food on hand-thrown pottery plates and refusing to compromise on the high standards in their kitchen which had made them so popular in the 60s.

Just follow the instructions below and you will not fail.  The trick with all pastry is to keep things cool and don’t laboriously knead the dough…. plant based butter straight from the fridge, cool bowl, cold water and rub the flour and margarine lightly with your finger tips, quickly pull pastry together and roll into ball and leave in fridge for use later.

The pastry measurements below are for 450 grams of pastry which will give you enough to cover the bottom of a 10 inch flan dish – to calculate the amount of pastry, add the weight of the flour with the margarine, in this case 300+150=450

Note: For pastry using white flour omit the baking powder

Ingredients

300 grams wholemeal flour (I used Allinson’s wholemeal flour)
150 grams plant based butter (keep it cold in the fridge before use)
3 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
45-50 ml cold water

Method

  • Put the dry ingredients in a bowl and margarine. Rub together with your fingertips to mix margarine with the flour – should resemble breadcrumbs
  • Add cold water and form a dough
  • Wrap in cling film, shape the dough into a ball (easier with the cling film on) and leave in fridge for 30 minutes.  It is important to keep pastry cool at all times
  • Flour a large pastry board or work surface and roll out pastry to fit dish
  • Bake according to instructions in recipe
28Oct/14

Rich fruit & nut cake with olive oil

Christmas cake 2014 Christmas cake 2014(4)

Here we are, Summer past, and Autumn racing towards cold, dark, long Winter evenings.  On the bright side, with the onset of Winter we also have a special festive occasion to look forward to; the season of goodwill and compassion, the season of gifts and charity, and this Christmas lets not forget our animal friends, those voiceless faithful beings who deserve our love – let’s make this a special Christmas for them too – please spare a thought for those who share this earth with us equally.

………….whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the festive season is upon us and Christmas cake and mince pies come to mind;  friends, family and all things good to look forward to and brighten the long and dark winter nights.

Before I go further I have an admission……I have never, ever, baked a vegan fruit cake and even more scary I have never baked a rich fruit & nut cake with olive oil!!  In fact, I am not very good at baking cakes and yet I had to make a Christmas cake this year – I had to because I retired in May and for many years I have promised myself I will do all the things I have wanted to do, but never had the time, when I retire….and here we are.  Having trawled for recipes to modify to my spec, I decided nothing really appealed much – well I didn’t find many recipes for vegan fruit and nut cakes! I was also determined to use olive oil instead of vegan margarine and a little wholemeal flour to give the cake that divine yet earthy taste which of course made it more difficult to find anything to adapt!

We don’t eat much cake but when we do we don’t like it too sweet.  I have used 150 grams of brown sugar which is quite enough, but you could add a little more, say another 30 grams, if you like it sweeter.  I chopped the nuts but kept them quite chunky – we like nuts and I love bagging a big Brazil nut in my slice of cake.

Having soaked the fruits and nuts they patiently waited in the bowl, getting merrily tipsy, for 4 days while I shilly-shallied and eventually took the plunge – with much trepidation. A friend who bakes for angels sent me his basic fruit cake recipe which was a great help and I am grateful, however, I did make considerable changes to it and having done so, all I could do, was pop the cake in the oven and wait…….

My verdict:  Moist, earthy and wholemealy, very fruity and nutty, not overly sweet and pretty boozy.  If this lights your fire, then follow the recipe and you won’t go far wrong.  If you prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.  Whatever you do, don’t pass it by!  It is really quite simple – I was very anxious because I just didn’t know what to expect, but I think the gods were kind and the result just what I was hoping for – fortune does favour the brave……

Christmas cake 2014(3)

Ingredients

450 grams mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins)
100 grams glace cherries, halved (save a few whole for decorating the cake!)
100 grams Brazil nuts, chopped (save a few for decorating)
100 grams walnuts,chopped      = 750 grams fruit & nuts soaked in sherry
1 bottle cheap sweet Sherry
Dry ingredients
300 grams plain flour
100 grams wholemeal flour
80 grams ground almonds
1½ teaspoon baking powder
150 grams brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon cardamom powder (if you don’t have cardamom powder, pound 5-6 green cardamoms in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder, discard the skin and use the ground seeds)
½ teaspoon nutmeg powder
Pinch of salt
Wet ingredients
2 tablespoons agave syrup
250-260ml coconut milk (I used 250ml of Koko – only add extra 10ml if mixture is very stiff)
100ml olive oil

Method

  1. Soak the mixed fruit, cherries, Brazil nuts and walnuts in the Sherry (I used about two-thirds of the bottle)Leave to soak for 24 hours but 48 hours is preferable and plumps up the fruit nicely and soaks up the Sherry!
  2. Grease and line a cake tin or a loaf tin with baking parchment (I used an 8½ inch round tin)
  3. Pre-heat oven to 160C, 325F or gas mark 3 (these temperatures are for non-fan assisted oven)
  4. Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  5. Strain the fruit and nuts and add to dry ingredients
  6. Add olive oil, coconut milk and agave syrup and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon beating air into the mixture
  7. Pour cake mixture into the lined tin and decorate with some glace cherries and Brazil nuts
  8. Bake for 2 hours.  Check after 1.5 hours and cover with a sheet of baking parchment – this helps to keep it from getting too brown.  All ovens are temperamental so be sure to check by pushing a skewer in the middle of the cake after 1 hour 45 minutes; if the skewer comes out clean the cake is ready.  I baked mine for 2 hours
  9. OPTIONAL: Leave the cake to cool for about 15 minutes, make holes in the cake with a skewer and pour a little Port, Rum, Brandy or Cointreau (about 25ml). Remove from tin when completely cool.  Rub a little more alcohol on the top and sides.
  10. Wrap in baking parchment and store in a tin.

Good luck and happy baking – may your kitchen be filled with the festive fragrance of fruits, nuts and Sherry of course!  I am planning to warm up a slice or two and have it with cream – Oatly do a very good vegan long life cream which is excellent because you can buy a couple and have it handy when needs must.