from Susan Lodge
Christmas is but a short time away and no British home will be without fruit cake. Many people prepare this holiday treat months in advance, but in our hurried world not too many of us have that luxury. Here is a quick and easy recipe I hope you enjoy. Top the finished cake with a little brandy a day or so before you sprinkle on the icing sugar. Your guests will love it.
No Fuss Fruit Cake
120g/4oz plain flour
120g/4oz self-raising flour
225ml/8 oz Water
1 tsp. mixed spice
1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2 beaten eggs
400g/14oz mixed dried fruit or any combination of sultanas, currants, raisins, glace cherries, mixed peel. Whatever you have handy!
Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C/ Gas Mark 4.
Line a 7 inch (18cm) square or 8 inch (20cm) round cake tin with 2 layers of greaseproof paper.
Combine margarine, water, sugar, dried fruit, bicarbonate of soda, and mixed spice in a saucepan over moderate heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for one minute.
Pour into mixing bowl and cool thoroughly. It is important to let the mixture cool before adding the eggs.
Add sifted flour and eggs and mix well.
Pour into prepared tin and bake for one to one and a quarter hours. You may need to put a sheet of greaseproof or brown paper over the tin to prevent top browning too much. Cake is ready when an inserted skewer or toothpick comes out clean.
Leave to cool.
Dust with sifted icing sugar (Confectioner’s Sugar) and ENJOY.
While the cake is baking, how about a romantic contemporary by Susan Lodge to fill in the time?
What is it about men in breeches? Shona finds out her dream man turns out to be not at all what she expected.
When a man in tight buff breeches examines her with his quizzing glass and calls her Miss Bennet, Shona fears the Regency themed ball is going to be as awful as she predicted. But then she is introduced to the gorgeous Nick who ticks every box for her perfect man.
As Shona looks forward to her first date with Nick, her happiness is marred by some disturbing observations around her flat. She doesn’t usually leave her blind rolled down that far, and she never keeps her bunny slippers tidily by the bed. And what is the man in the buff breeches doing lurking on the street outside?
As both men pursue her, Shona finds one makes her body quiver with desire, the other itch with annoyance. Then the men finally confront each other, and her life turns into a nightmare. Can her judgment regarding the male species really be so seriously flawed?
Susan Lodge’s first publication was a story for a UK national woman’s magazine. Heady with this breakthrough, she went on to write her first novel Only a Hero Will Do. She loves writing contemporary and historical romance, usually with a large dose of humour. After working in several cities including London and Bristol, she moved down to the Hampshire coast to raise her family.
Once asked the most important piece of advice she had been given in pursuit of publication, Susan answered –
The only difference between the unpublished writer and the published writer is the fact that the published writer didn’t give up.
Catch up with Susan on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.