Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Christmas Cakes and Puddings #GlutenFree and Traditional

Now I know that none of us like to hear the C word mentioned but some things just need to be made in advance and then we can forget about them and no last minute panics we can enjoy the parties and celebrations knowing that the main things are already made and matured… All we have to do is ice them and add the finishing touches.

This first recipe is gluten free...for all of my friends who have to eat gluten free for a diagnosed medical condition, and it is delicious, and quite frankly just as nice as my tried and tested recipe I always make…not much difference in taste.

So I am giving you both recipes one Gluten free and my tried and tested one which if you used gluten free breadcrumbs and flour would also be Gluten free..

Hopefully this year I will have proper rolls of wrapping paper as one’s son is in England and will be bringing some back for me…No juggling with those silly little rolls which are just enough to wrap a matchbox…I am not kidding!

So here is the first recipe for a… Gluten FREE Christmas pudding… Enjoy!


• 100 gm currants.
• 100 gm sultanas.
• 100 gm sour cherries.
• Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
• Grated zest and juice of half an Orange.
• 1 tsp of mixed spice and cinnamon.
• 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg.
• 100ml of brandy…this is where my hand slipped…ha ha
• 180gm dark brown sugar
• 1 granny smith Apple ( I can’t get these) so used a new Zealand apple which is quite tart.
• 1 large carrot, grated.
• 250 gm ground almonds.
• 50 gm gluten free cornflour.
• 1 tsp gluten free baking powder.
• 2 med free range eggs.
• 50ml vegetable oil( I use coconut oil) plus extra for greasing.
• 2 tbsp black treacle.

This makes enough for a 2-pint pudding basin or two 1 pints.

Let’s Cook!

In a large bowl put dried fruit, zest, and juice, spice, and brandy, stir to combine, cover and leave for 24hrs.

Then mix in sugar, apple, and carrot, add beaten eggs then stir in oil and treacle.

Lastly, stir in dry ingredients with a pinch of salt.

Put mixture into a greased pudding basin it should be two-thirds full. Cover the top with a round of grease-proof paper the cover with pleated tin foil and secure with string.

You can now either sit the pudding in a saucepan on an upturned plate and fill the pan with boiling water about half way up the basin. Put the lid on and steam for 4 hours remembering to top up water as necessary.

I always use a steamer and in this case, it was my wicker rice steamer which the bowl sits in nicely over the pot of water.

If you have made a lot of puddings over the years like me I think you find your own preferred method of steaming your puds.

Once steamed, cool and re-wrap pudding and store in a cool, dry place. It is the fridge for me as it is too humid…I do miss my cool pantry…

To serve simmer or steam the pudding for 1-2 hrs, then invert onto a plate and flame the pud or serve with sauce, brandy butter or cream…

It’s cream all the way for me …and lots of it!

My second recipe is slightly different but adaptable to make gluten free and the one I make year after year….I could do it blindfold now…lol

So for all of you who want to get your Christmas Puddings made so they develop the lovely flavours then here is my tried and tested recipe…..


• 300gm fresh white breadcrumbs (I use brown)
• 100gm self-raising flour
• 1 tsp mixed spice
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ whole nutmeg, very finely grated
• 350gm raisins
• 100g mixed peel
• 50 gm flaked almonds
• 250 gm suet
• 225 gm Demerara sugar
• 225 gm sultanas
• 225 gm currants
• 2 carrots, peeled and very finely grated
• 2 cooking apples, peeled and very finely grated
• (shhhh)Wet ingredients
• Zest and juice of 1 orange
• Zest and juice of 1 lemon
• 1 small wine glass of brandy shhhhh and a tad more..ha ha
• 2 tbsp black treacle
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten

Let’s Cook!

Put the breadcrumbs in the biggest mixing bowl you can find. Sieve the flour into the bowl with the mixed spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then add the remaining dry ingredients, up to and including the grated apples. Combine all the wet ingredients in a jug. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and mix together, with a big wooden spoon. Take it in turns to give it a stir, closing your eyes and making a wish.

Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave overnight.

Butter 2 x 1.2-litre pudding basins and spoon the mix into them. Place a disc of baking paper on top of the puddings, then seal with a big sheet of baking paper with a central pleat, to allow expansion. Cover with a cotton or muslin cloth and tie with string or foil.

Steam for 6 hours in steamers, or in pans with simmering water that reaches two-thirds up the sides of the basins – be sure to keep the water topped up. Remove and allow to cool.

When cool, re-cover the basins and store in a cool, dry place. On Christmas day, or the day you’re going to eat the puddings, steam for another 1-2 hours. Turn the pudding onto a plate, then pour 75ml of brandy into a ladle and carefully warm over a low heat for 1 minute or so. Light the match and voila a flaming pud

N.B. As I live in sunny climes then I store mine in the fridge as they ferment very quickly here and that’s not quite what we want.

Happy Cooking and don’t forget to make wish.

Christmas Cake …Bake and Mature

I love a rich fruit cake and it lasts as long as you want it too some people love the traditional Christmas or now some make a square cake and cut it into slices it is just preference and of course once it is made I always just sprinkle a little brandy,whisky, rum or sherry over the cake every couple of weeks an age old tradition in our house and I am sure many others.


• 1kg mixed dried fruit (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
• zest and juice 1 orange
• zest and juice 1 lemon
• 150ml brandy, Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding
• 250g pack butter, softened
• 200g light soft brown sugar
• 175g plain flour
• 100g ground almond
• ½ tsp baking powder
• 2 tsp mixed spice
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp ground cloves
• 100g flaked almond
• 4 large eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

Let’s Cook!

Put 1kg mixed dried fruit, the zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon, 150ml brandy or other alcohol, 250g softened butter and 200g light, soft brown sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat.

Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.

Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure.

Add 175g plain flour, 100g ground almonds, ½ tsp baking powder, 2 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves, 100g flaked almonds, 4 large eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour.

Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.

Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.

To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it.

Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.

There that’s done and there will be more mention of Christmas until the middle of November as we have our sauces, pate, stuffing, biscuits and stollen to make…

What is the one thing that YOU have made every year since as long as you can remember and so did your mother that if you didn’t make it there would be trouble and strife…

©Carol Taylor 2018

The other posts in the Food and Cookery Column can be found in this directory:

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

Connect to Carol


Looks like we will all be busy in the kitchen in the next week getting these puds and cakes made… thanks Carol…

Thank you for dropping in today and Carol would be delighted to answer any of your questions and we always enjoy your feedback. Thanks Sally

47 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Christmas Cakes and Puddings #GlutenFree and Traditional

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Christmas Cakes and Puddings #GlutenFree and Traditional | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  2. Great Carol, your recipes are very tempting. Russ always makes a Christmas cake and in Turkey he used to make the Christmas pudding too. And you are right although the Christmas pudding stores well in the UK in Turkey the second half we were keeping went mouldy, I think it was the high temperatures and the winter condensation. Px

    Liked by 2 people

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