Category Archives: Recipes

Recipes I’ve collected over the years

Vegan fruit cake

I haven’t baked this recipe for a long time as I’m no longer vegan, but it satisfied my passion for fruit cake for many years. It’s a rich, dark fruit cake and as long as you choose your marg and stout carefully it’s vegan.


  • 4oz marg
  • 1lb whole wheat flour
  • 2tsp mixed spice
  • 8oz malt extract
  • 2lb mixed dried fruit
  • rind of ½ lemon
  • 4tbs (at least) of stout
  • ½pt + 4tbs sugar free soya milk
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda


Sieve the flour and mixed spice together. Blend the bicarbonate of soda with the 4tbs of soya milk. Mix all the ingredients and beat in a bowl. Poor into a suitable cake tin and bake at gas mark 3, 160°C or 320°F for 2-2½ hours.

Christmas pudding

This is a deliciously tangy recipe for Christmas pudding that’s both sugar free and, if you pick your beer carefully, vegan. I’ve been making it for many years, since my vegan days, and my whole family rate it as the best Christmas pudding they’ve had. Be warned though, these quantities make a lot. That’s why I’m not actually making one this year—I’ve still got one of last year’s in the cupboard!


  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 200g whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 200g currants
  • 200g sultanas
  • 200g raisins
  • rind of 1 orange
  • rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 25g ground almonds
  • handful of coarsely chopped almonds
  • ½ teaspoon each of
    • ground ginger
    • cinnamon
    • mixed spice
  • 5 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 275ml of your favourite dark ale or stout


Mix all the ingredients together. Divide into sensible sized puddings. Roll up each pudding in baking parchment, then wrap  in two layers of tin foil.

Steam in a pressure cooker at full pressure for at least 1 hour.

Reheat by steaming in a pressure cooker for 15-20 minutes.

To serve, poor warmed brandy over the pudding and set light to it.

Ginger parkin

Sophie’s away for the weekend, but she’s been baking and has left me a pile of delicious ginger parkin in the cake tin. Ginger parkin is traditional fare in Yorkshire around hallowe’en/Samhain and bonfire night; at least it was in our house. This gorgeous, dark, sticky recipe comes from my great aunty Maggy. Since it’s an old recipe, it’s all written in old money…

IngredientsGinger parkin

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of medium oatmeal
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of black treacle
  • at least 1 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼lb margarine or butter
  • 1 beaten egg


Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the beaten egg. Mix the bicarb in with the milk and add. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Warming the treacle first makes things a lot easier (sit the tin in some hot water).

Pour the mixture into square tins 2″ deep, lined with greaseproof paper. Bake in a slow oven (ie maximum of 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2) for about 1 hour.


Sloe gin

We bottled last autumn’s sloe gin today. I’m sitting with a glass now and it’s absolutely delicious. The recipe has kind of evolved as we’ve sampled it along the way and added extra bits here and there, but I think we’ve kept a note of all the additions. Here’s what I reckon went into it.

Sloe ginMost recipes for sloe gin involve adding a few sloes and a bit of sugar to half a bottle of gin. I can’t be doing with such tinkering. Our sloe gin was made in a 10l nappy bucket specially bought from Mothercare.


  • 3.5kg sloes
  • 7 × 700ml bottles of cheap gin
  • 1.5kg sugar


Pick your sloes in October or November. Rinse them and cut a slit in each one. Add to a large bucket with lid.

Poor on 6 bottles of gin. Add the sugar. You may want to hold back some sugar and test as you go—adding more later is easy enough.

Agitate or stir daily for a couple of weeks, then weekly after that. At first not all the sugar will dissolve, but it will after a week or two.

Leave until about February. Then strain through muslin into another large container. Add the seventh bottle of gin to the sloes, rinse them well with it and strain into the rest.

Bottle and enjoy!