The sweet life

Christmas for me is a time to relax and enjoy quality time with family and friends.

The holiday is also a time for family traditions - such as my mother’s Christmas pudding, still made the way her mother made it. Some things need not change.

However, because food trends and eating requirements do move on, I now make two types of Christmas puddings, that way everyone gets to enjoy the sweet things in life.

Have a beautiful Christmas everyone and remember to relax and enjoy all that you have.

Alison xx




Photo: Simon Lambert
Photo: Simon Lambert

Mum’s Christmas pudding

My mum has always made the Christmas pudding for our family, and it never disappoints. 

I remember when we were children, the excitement was not so much eating the pudding, but finding coins hidden inside. It’s not safe now to do such a thing, but I cherish this pudding not only for its delectable taste but for all the memories such a tradition holds.

I love to serve this pudding warm with custard and brandy cream, optional, but highly recommended!

SERVES 10-12

50cm round calico material, soaked in hot water
cooking twine
2 cups boiling water
2 tsp butter
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour, extra for dusting
2 tsp mixed spice
½ cup sugar
2 cups mixed fruit


Bring a large deep pot of water to a rolling boil.

Plunge the round of calico material into the boiling water. Remove carefully and when safely able to handle the material, squeeze out excess water. Dust liberally with flour to coat the material on one side.  Shake off excess flour and lay the floured cloth upright over a bowl.

Pour the boiling water into another bowl, add the butter and melt. Add the baking soda and stir to dissolve.

Mix the dry ingredients together and add the mixed fruit, stir to combine.

Pour in the wet ingredients and stir well until combined. Do not be alarmed that the mixture looks a little sloppy. It is supposed to be like this.

Holding the material over a bowl, slowly pour the pudding batter into the cloth ensuring that you hold the cloth so you can can scoop up all the edges to form a round pudding shape.

Secure the pudding cloth tightly.  Make sure you have not missed any cloth as you don't want any holes.

When tightly secured, plunge into the boiling water and cover with a lid. The pudding needs to stay off the bottom of the pot so you need enough water at all times for the pudding to float and rotate when cooking. If you do need to top up the water always use boiling water. Keep the water at a moderate temperature.

The pudding will take at least 2 hours. When you press the pudding with your fingers it should feel spongy not gooey.

Drain and cool slightly before carefully peeling off the cloth.

The pudding can be eaten hot or cold. It can also be made a week in advance and stored in the fridge in the cloth.

To reheat, my mother insists that you bring a large pot of water to the boil. Plunge the pudding into the water and cook for 30 minutes. Do not use the microwave.

Drain and allow to cool slightly before slowly peeling the cloth off.



Photo: Simon Lambert
Photo: Simon Lambert

Raw Christmas cake

I have found over the past couple of years that many people have had to avoid the sweet offerings on Christmas Day due to dietary, allergies, and personal choices towards some ingredients.

Thankfully, we are now spoilt for choice with the wide array of ingredients and knowledge on how to combat many of these issues.

Place this cake in the centre of your Christmas table and you will please many family and friends.


1 cup walnuts
¾ cup dates, pitted (soft medjool work best for this layer)
2 Tbsp coconut oil, liquefied
2 Tbsp warm water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch salt

Chocolate mousse layer
¾ cup walnuts, pre-soaked and strained
¾ cup raw cashews, pre-soaked and strained
¾ cup dates, pitted
6 Tbsp maple syrup (use raw agave for raw version)
6 Tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
4 Tbsp coconut oil,
3 Tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1½ tsp rum essence
½ tsp mixed spice

Cream layer
1 cup raw cashews, pre-soaked and strained
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
4 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
4 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup cherries, pitted
½ cup coconut chips, icing sugar to serve


Place all the ingredients for the base in a food processor and process until a fine mixture forms.

Press evenly into 15cm round springform cake tin. Freeze while working on the next layer.

Process all the ingredients for the chocolate mousse layer in a power blender until smooth. Pour over the crust, tap the pan lightly to even out the mixture. Place in the freezer to firm before adding the next layer.

Wash the blender. Then add all your ingredients for the cream layer, except the cherries. Blend the cream layer ingredients together so it becomes light and airy.

Layer the cherries over the chocolate layer and gently spoon over the cream mixture. Spread gently and evenly to cover the fruit and chocolate. Smooth over the top and freeze overnight or for at least six hours.

Before serving, dust with toasted coconut chips and icing sugar. Cut into desired slices. It can be eaten frozen or from the fridge. It will last for a month in the freezer.


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