Christmas Cake!


The sun is out here in Kaikōura and it is finally feeling like Christmas is on its way!!  So of course with Christmas comes the proverbial cake.  Last year we just missed out on having a cake as I didn’t think I had a recipe, then low and behold as I was sifting through the recipe book I came across this beauty.  I have actually had this recipe for a long time, since my sugar free time four years ago, without realising that it was actually vegan.  At the time it lost out to another recipe, as I was still eating eggs, only to be found the other month when I was searching for birthday cake recipes.


Enjoying some pre Christmas sunshine …. homeschooling outside 🙂

Sadly, I can’t remember which book I got the recipe from all those years ago and I have altered it quite a bit over the couple of times I have baked it (both four years ago and now) so if you recognize it please let me know so I can credit the original correctly 🙂  I have halved the recipe so that it fitted into my bread loaf tin which also meant that it was consumed in a timely manner.  As with many GF vegan recipes the sooner the munching is completed the better … we stretched it to three days to see what it was like with success though day three wasn’t as yum as day one and two’s munching 🙂


Decorated and ready to go in the oven

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while I like simple and quick recipes. This one is a little out of the norm for me as it required cooking and mashing some kumara prior to mixing everything in one pot …. thankfully I survived the ordeal as it wasn’t quite as daunting as it seemed when I first read it 😉  I figure one extra dish for some yummy Christmas cake was worth the effort ….. at least once a year that is.  The almond essence and decoration definitely gave it that Christmassy look and taste while using the vanilla essence instead, and flagging the decoration, produced a good fruit cake for any occasion.


 …. now for the munching to begin

So here is it for you to play around with and enjoy over this festive season and beyond ….

A Merry Vegan Christmas Cake

1 Tb maple syrup

250 gm of raisins or sultanas

1 Cup of water

1 small apple (peeled and grated)

62 gms chopped almonds – or in my case bashed almonds 😉

1/2 cup of mashed kumara (doesn’t matter if it is cold or warm)

1.5 Tb olive oil

1 tsp almond essence (vanilla also works fine if you just want a fruit cake)

3/4 Cup rice flour

3/4 Cup buckwheat flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

extra almonds to decorate – optional

  • Bring maple syrup, fruit and water to the boil in a large pot then remove from the heat.
  • Add apple, bashed almonds, kumara, essence along with oil and mix well.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well again.
  • Pour into a baking paper lined tin and gently press in extra almonds to decorate.
  • Bake at 160 C for 45 mins and then leave to cool in the oven for the next 15-20 mins before placing on a cooling rack.
  • Store in an airtight container and enjoy.

Even got a thumbs up from the non-vegan among us!

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas/Holiday season enjoying the good things life has given you and remembering lots of special memories.




An important lesson learnt…..hopefully!


Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  Ours was quiet while we enjoyed a bit of rain, a bit of sunshine and lots of yummy food mixed in with good company and family.

In the post Christmas week that is himself decided that he would get me to just use the clippers on his hair instead of a haircut …… I thought otherwise! Anyway the clippers emerged and herself decided that she would be more than willing to give her Daddy a haircut so away they went.  It was actually going pretty well until I was asked to finish off. Now I have to re-iterate here that I was in a good mood and happy to finish off.

Clippers in hand all was going well until the number 4 comb fell off, without my knowledge, and I continued in my wifely duties! Arghhhhh!! Whoops!! Himself now sported a very short motorway strip in the middle of his head!! Thankfully he is the chilled type and could laugh about it, I personally was still in shock. Herself was already in horror and himself jnr. was laughing his head off. 🙂

Anyway the decision was made to just clip everything the same length as the ‘strip’ and I begun. Well …. herself instantly burst into tears saying how horrible it looked (himself does have a few scars on his head from being run over as a kid) and trying to stop me from inflicting anymore on her Daddy while crying and saying ‘no, it is ugly’.  She finally let go only to run to her room crying, refusing to talk to us until much later and still telling us it looked ‘yucky’.

So since then we have had a few discussions about Daddy still being Daddy even if he looks different and that the outside isn’t as important as what the inside of the person is like. It is a powerful reminder to us as parents and hopefully a powerful lesson to her that scars, ‘yucky’ haircuts and all it is the person inside and how they act that matters not their appearance.

don't judge the book by its cover

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’.

Here’s to a New Year where we all take more time to read ‘the book’ a while instead of judging its merits by the cover.



Some ways to stay sane this (any every) Christmas


After venturing out today I was reminded how mental shopping, any shopping,  in December can be. Even the routine grocery shop turns into an expedition of willpower, tantrums (usually me) and requests.

In the midst of the madness today I remembered that last year I wrote a little something about keeping sane at this time of year so I thought I would share it here again. Enjoy 🙂

Here a few suggestions, in no particular order, of ways that you can retain your sanity this December and get through Christmas happily.  Some may grab your attention more than others and some may work for you better than others.  Give some of them a go and you might just be surprised how relaxed your Christmas can be.

  • Wait until Christmas Eve to put up the decorations and tree then do it as a family. Now this may sound like it will add more stress, in reality though you won’t have all those decorations continuously falling off due to kids or animals, you’ll save on power by not having to have it lit every night, there will be no temptation of squeezing, shaking and generally molesting the presents (my past time as a child).  It will make you feel calmer because best of all you’ll be able to sit in the evening without a tree to remind you that the ‘Silly Season’ is upon us.
  • Have a pot luck Christmas meal.  Yes a pot luck meal for Christmas.  Invite everyone around and let them know which kind of plate of food they need to bring. Some people who like the traditional meal may find it odd at first however they too will be converted when they see how relaxed the host/hostess is and how great it is to sample and share each other’s cuisine.  Best off all they will take all those plates home – yay less dishes to wash too.


  • Write a list of people you wish to give presents to then decide at least ½ of them to give homemade gifts to and the other ½ to get present for under a certain price tag.  Homemade gifts don’t need to time consuming, expensive or elaborate.  Make a huge batch of biscuits (cookies for those in the North) and put them in a pretty container or even a few of your recipes printed onto some coloured card for those who have been wanting them.  There are lots of easy ideas out there and if you need more inspirations then look out for next week’s post 🙂
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  • Create a document on the computer with lots of photos from the past year inserted and share what you have been up to.  Then send this out my e-mail instead of Christmas cards where possible.  It will save you so much time, money and effort of writing all those addresses!  Some people still love getting mail in their letterbox (that includes me) so you could always print out the letter and photos to send to them.
  • Avoid the shops from December 15th onwards.  ‘WHAT???!!!’  You are asking.  ‘IS SHE CRAZY??!!’Well yes I am a little bit but honestly if you think about what shopping is like after this date then you’ll know what I’m talking about.  The shops are mental around Christmas!  Of course you will still need to go shopping for groceries, I’m just talking about a little forward planning of buying presents and the Christmas essentials (crackers, nibbles etc) before this date.  After all by the end of November most shops have started putting out their Christmas wares and discounts
  • Only have over the people that make you happy or go to the people who you want to be with.  Life is too short to waste energy and time with people that don’t make you shine.  It may be hard the first year to be selective, once you see the benefits though and how enjoyable the day can be you’ll never go back to being surrounded by energy sappers
  • Smaller is better – it really is.  Decide on one gift (that is one item) for each person you are going to get presents for.  It will make you really think about the gift and so it will be that much more from the heart.  If you find it feels too hard to think of one gift they maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t be buying for them after all


  • Go out to a neutral setting.  This can be a great way to get more people you love into one setting.  For those in the Southern Hemisphere it may prove a little easier when the sun is shining however I’m sure that with a few heads thinking there would be a neutral setting big enough to accommodate.  The great thing is that everyone is on equal ground, everyone has to bring goodies and everyone can leave when they wish
  • Have a Christmas walk as part of your Christmas Tradition.  Not only will it give you a break from the house, presents and food it will make you feel so so so much better.  Exercise will improve your mood, increase your energy and also help negate any Christmas over indulgences.
  • Try out some EFT or meditation. Both these techniques are free, able to be done anywhere and will help you to feel calmer and more relaxed even when the S#*% hits the fan!  Meditation can be as simple as finding a quiet spot and sitting with your eyes closed for 10 mins while clearing your mind.  EFT works by tapping on meridian points while talking about how you are feeling.  For a ‘how to’ guide for EFT check out


Hope this helps in maintaining your sanity in the silly season.