1 EAGLETON NOTES: It's That Time Again

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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

It's That Time Again

This year seems to have been unbelievably and very enjoyably busy.  Recently I've been helping my son, Gaz, who is having a house built on the Island and who is doing some of the work himself which has it's difficulties for someone who is away sailing around the world for a living two months out of every four. This is, and has for several generations been, a very common situation for the men on this Island.

Anyway we had Sunday off and I decided that it was time to make the first two of the six Christmas cakes I make. It's a very rewarding experience and it starts the day before when the fruit is soaked in brandy overnight. It then takes most off the following day because they are baked for a long time at a low heat.




They might not look very appealing now but after six weeks of being fed with brandy and then iced they should be quite edible.

42 comments:

  1. They look fine to me. I like mine with Stilton please.

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    1. Ah yes, Adrian, the king of cheeses goes very well with Christmas cake.

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  2. You're a good man, Charlie Brown! I'm proud of you...give yourself a hearty, well-deserved pat on the back. :)

    Once upon a time I used to make the rich fruit cakes way before Christmas...and top them up every couple of weeks with either dark rum or brandy. I never iced them though, preferring to leave them un-iced having gently pressed almonds and/or glace cherries on the tops prior to baking.

    Nowadays, I make a some boiled fruit cakes...they may only be the simple old boiled fruit cake, but they, too, are pretty rich...I add some extra ingredients to them than what the recipe suggests...and, again, I top them with almonds and the cherries...and they get topped up, too, immediately upon coming out of the oven and thereafter...with rum, mostly these days.

    I always give one of them to my ex...he loves them.

    Now you've got stirred me into action. I'll have to think seriously about making my cakes for Christmas...Christmas is looming all to fast.

    Your cakes look great...post me a slice...please! :)

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    1. Lee I used to make lots of boiled fruit cakes and last winter I had an urge to make some again. They were well received. Ironically I rarely eat cake. PM me your address and your wish is my command.

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    2. Oh....I thought you'd just post the slice on here, Graham! :)

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    3. Lee I was musing about how Border Control would react to the customs slip declaration "Slice of well-brandied Christmas Cake".

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  3. Well done you. I like the look of the one on the left with a bit of colour. What does Gaz do, sailing the world?

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    1. Thanks Carol. Gaz is the chief engineer on a 100m superyacht.

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  4. First, I would like to say I like that you have the all important binoculars on the window ledge - to grab at a moments notice to look at birds, goings on in the sea, land etc...

    I need to get cracking and make a cake as well - just keep seeming to put everything off!

    This all looks good - six cakes! You are going to be busy! My MIL's partner makes Christmas Cakes every year and they have Christmas Dinner at our place every year as well, but not once has he made a cake for us!

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    1. Serenata the Christmas cakes started 15 years ago when I had a heart attack and was confined to barracks (i.e. not allowed to drive) for 6 weeks and decided to make myself useful at home. Then I had to decide what to do with the. Christmas presents!

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  5. They look excellent to me. My wife only makes one each year; where did I go wrong?

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    1. I think, Cro, the question perhaps should be where did your wife go wrong? You are obviously an excellent cook so why don't you make the Christmas cakes?

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  6. Unless something completely unforeseen should make me change my mind, I shall, as in previous years, leave all the Christmas baking to my Mum and our close family friend who used to be a baker when he was still working full-time. Lazy brat that I am!
    Your cake pictures nearly make me smell the scent that undoubtedly dominated your whole house when you were baking!

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    1. Meike it was a cold and miserable day and the warmth from the oven and the aroma certainly cheered it up.

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  7. Good on you for making fruit cakes. They're a lot of work. Your's look delicious. Anyway fruit cakes are a favorite of mine and they're not made at my house anymore.

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  8. They look yummy. Can't wait to taste it x

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  9. They look wonderful, Graham. I used to make one every year, and throw it away at Easter, because none of my family liked it. Eventually, I gave up. Sad, because I like Christmas cake, but not a whole one all to myself...

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    1. I suppose Frances, you could make a small one although I admit that's not really a practical idea. I'm sure you can buy small ones. I rarely eat Christmas cake and don't usually keep one for myself although I used to make one to share with my uncle. Most of mine was eaten by guests.

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  10. Looks cosy and very organised at the same time. First time I've sen a cake recipe including binoculars ;) ...

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    1. Ha ha Monica. The binoculars are an essential part of anyone on Lewis with a view (and plenty of birds).

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  11. Thanks for the reminder. I had a discussion with someone about Christmas cakes on Monday, remembered to buy the ingredients, resolved to bake the next day but didn't remember until you reminded me. Raining here today so a perfect day for it!

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    1. Pauline I hope you managed the cake(s). Plenty of time to feed it/them.

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  12. I must say that these look quite tasty. Too bad I'm not a neighbor of yours!

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    1. Norma if you were you'd be most welcome to come and share.

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  13. CONTINUITY ANNOUNCER And now it's time for another trip to The Isle of Lewis for "Cooking With Graham"
    ( Cue theme music - "The Leaving of Liverpool" played on a Moog synthesizer)
    GRAHAM (Smiling like Hannibal Lecter to camera two) Welcome once more to my fans from around the world. Today I will be making alcoholic Christmas cakes so eat your heart out Mary Berry! This is the Great Hebridean Bake Off! (Laughs at his own joke as the camera pans out through the window to a grey Atlantic gale and mountainous waves crashing in the bay).

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    1. YP the idea of me telling a joke is, in itself, laughable. I'm very happy to laugh at other people's jokes but the three jokes I know don't even amuse me any more.

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  14. They both look deliciously GOOD...reminds me that I'm very late with my fruit cake preparation this year...haven't even purchased the fruit as yet.
    Too busy caught up with other projects.

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    1. Sorry Virginia. Just realised I hadn't responded to your comment even though we've corresponded. I'm down in Glasgow so, like you, I'm rather caught up in my other life.

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  15. Such a lovely tradition -- I've always wanted to be this organized before the holidays, but it has never happened. :^D
    My dad's sister makes fruit cakes every year and when all of the other Christmas desserts are long gone, my mother will get the cake out. Dad will only eat it smothered in my mom's wonderful brown sugar sauce. (I could just skip the cake and eat the sauce.) We'll have a cup of tea and visit. Warm thoughts of fruit cake and tea. . . .

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    1. That's a lovely thought Cynthia. I arrived back home today so I'll need to find time to do a couple more.

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  16. Ha! Beat you! I made my Christmas cakes a couple of weeks ago. Now, if we can just keep from eating them before the holidays .... Your cakes look great, and I'll bet they'll taste that way too. Such a nice tradition. I'm glad you're keeping it up. xoxox DeeDee

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    1. Good to hear from you DeeDee. I was wondering a few days ago how you were. Yes I was hoping to have all mine made by now but I've been away.

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  17. I bet they will be delicious!!

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    1. Well, Liz, people do seem to like them but then all I do is make them: Delia supplied the recipe.

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    1. That's very kind of you Diane although really all I do is translate a recipe into something people seem to find edible - perhaps the brandy helps (although with these two I experimented wit rum and plum liqueur to soak the fruit initially).

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  19. Looks fantastic! I used to make my own Christmas puddings but perhaps cakes are more rewarding since they can be eaten slowly over a much longer period. Whereas by the time it gets to pudding, nobody wants any!

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    1. The great thing about Christmas cake, Jenny, is that you can happily eat it for months after Christmas.

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