Household Notes December 2013

Editied by Anne Gray

    All the recipes this issue are simple and quick. The light fruit cake can be eaten a day or two after baking, all the others can be put together and consumed fairly quickly. Even the recipes that require handling over a few days only need minutes each time. All the better to leave you more time to sit down and think about what is important: family, friends, community. Please don’t lose sight of what really matters. Enjoy yourself, appreciate the beauty around you, and be well.

    This recipe came from Teena’s Aunt Jean Naugler, a great cook and baker. It has been a family favorite for generations. It is so simple, and so delicious. A jar of this relish would be a welcome gift to any foodie. If you want to limit your processed sugar, try using honey or agave syrup.


Teena Coolen, Cherry Hill, N.S.

1 large orange

4 cups cranberries

2 cups sugar

    Combine the cranberries and the peeled orange in a food chopper. Chop, then add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Let the mixture set overnight before using.



Janice Dawson, Toronto, Ont.

    “Our neighbor used to make this at Christmas time. My mother got the recipe for me when I moved away from home. I make it for my family every year.”

3 tablespoons raisins

3 tablespoons dark rum

1 cup marzipan

3 tablespoons candied peel

8 ounces semisweet chocolate

glace cherries

pecan halves

   Combine the raisins and rum. Cover, and let it stand overnight. In the morning, drain, and reserve the rum. Break the marzipan into small pieces, and knead in the peel and raisins. Add a bit of the rum if the mixture is too dry. Form into two one-inch diameter rolls. Wrap the rolls and refrigerate them overnight. The next day, melt the chocolate and slice the cherries in half. Brush the melted chocolate on the rolls. Place the pecans and cherries on the rolls before the chocolate hardens. Refrigerate at least one hour before slicing.



Kathleen Campbell, Alma, N.B.

    “These recipes are old and brought out year after year by my grown up grandchildren and looked forward to as part of Christmas.”

2 cups flour

4 tablespoons icing sugar

1 cup butter

1 cut chopped almonds (skin on)

1 tablespoon almond extract

    Mix the dough with your hands and form it into fingers. Bake at 300° F for 35 minutes. While the cookies are still warm, roll in additional icing sugar.

    Anna didn’t specifically send this as a holiday treat, but the sweets remind me of sugar plums, so I just had to include the recipe.


Anna Longeway, Halifax, N.S.

1 cup dried apricots

1/2 cup prunes

1/2 cup raisins

3 tablespoons orange liqueur

1 tablespoon orange rind

1 1/2 cups coconut

3/4 cup pecans

  Grate the orange rind and chop all the fruit finely. Combine the apricots, prunes, raisins, orange rind, and liqueur. Cover the mixture and let stand for up to a day. Mix in half the coconut and chopped pecans. Form the mixture into balls, using a tablespoon for each one. Roll the balls in the remaining coconut-pecan mixture. Let them stand on waxed paper for eight hours to overnight. These can be stored in airtight containers, with waxed paper between the layers, for up to three weeks. They should be kept cool.



Myrtle Conrad, Cow Bay, N.S.

   “We enjoy the cake’s moist delicious flavor all year.”

3 1/2 cups flour

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup butter

4 teaspoons orange rind

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup mincemeat

3/4 cup milk

1 cup chopped nuts


    Cream the butter, grated orange rind, and vanilla. Add the sugar, eggs, and mincemeat. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Mix in the nuts last. Put the batter into a greased 12-cup Bundt or ring pan. Bake at 350°F for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then remove and cook thoroughly before wrapping.



Ellen MacKenzie, Surrey, B.C.

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups ground pistachios

3/4 pound butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

    Heat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder, then add the ground pistachios and set aside. Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until the mixture becomes pale yellow and creamy, two to three minutes. Add the egg and continue to mix. The batter should be very light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture all at once and mix just to incorporate.

    Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe the dough into small rosettes onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until slightly golden and just lightly browned around the edges, about 14 to 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.


Lois E. Bent, RR Bridgetown, N.S.

1 pound plum pudding

1 15-ounce package vanilla pudding 

6 ounces whipping cream

1 can mandarin oranges

1 tablespoon mixed fruit

    Break the plum pudding into small pieces. Make the pudding according to directions, or make a vanilla pudding from scratch. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. In a trifle bowl, layer one-third of the plum pudding pieces, then one-third of the pudding and whipped cream that have been mixed together. Add half the can of mandarin oranges, then another layer of plum pudding pieces. Top with another whipped cream layer and garnish with mixed fruit. 


    I made this cake last summer, and it turned out really well. It could be frosted with cream cheese, but I plan to serve it this year as our Christmas pudding. I will make hard sauce, but it would be equally good with a boiled raisin sauce, or a sweet white sauce, a tradition in some families, but not one I have tried.

2 cups sugar 

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups oil 

2 cups light buckwheat flour 

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup chopped nuts 

3 cups freshly grated carrots

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9” x 13” pan and place parchment paper in the bottom of the pan for easy removal. Cream the sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl with an electric beater or stand mixer. Add the oil and vanilla and beat just until smooth. 

    In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until blended. Stir in the grated carrots and nuts. 

    Pour the batter into a prepared pan. Bake in a preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

    Cool on a wire rack. To serve as a pudding, cut into individual portions or one large piece and steam until hot and fragrant.

Altogether too much spice

    When you make the Dark Fruit Cake from our November issue, please use just 1/2 teaspoon allspice. My typing skills leave much room for improvement.

Bread Exchange

    I love this traditional Italian Christmas bread. I try to make it early in December, and serve it whenever I have a moment to sit with family and friends to enjoy the season. Try adding a little chocolate, either ganache or good quality chopped chocolate.


2 packages yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

6 cups flour

1 cup almonds

1 cup golden raisins

1 lemon peel

1 tablespoon lemon juice

    Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. While the yeast is rising, beat the eggs, juice the lemon and grate the peel, and chop the almonds. Scald the milk, add the butter, and stir until the butter is melted. When cooled to lukewarm, add the softened yeast, grated lemon peel, lemon juice, and beaten eggs.

    Add the sugar and beat well. Stir in the salt and five cups of the flour. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, then add the fruit and nuts.

    Knead again and form into a ball. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Punch down the dough, then form into two balls. Place each in a greased one-quart casserole dish and let rise again. Bake at 425°F for about eight to 10 minutes, until the crust starts to brown. Reduce the heat to 325°F and continue to bake about half an hour.


    The freezers are full; the root cellars are in good shape. Now what? Please send us some of your winter comfort food recipes to Rural Delivery, and share them with our readers! 

    We are looking for family favorite recipes for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, Tuesdays. Please send us anything special you prepare, or your best-loved dish that someone prepares for you. We want to know what makes it special. Right now, our focus is Valentines and Easter. Do you or someone you know do that one thing that is the highlight of the day?

    Whether it’s cakes, cookies, bread, vegetables or bars, we want to know what kind of magic you make at home. Remember to include stories and anecdotes along with ingredients. Where did you get the recipe? Did you make any changes? Does everyone love it, or does it take a little getting used to?

    You can email recipes to, or send it to us the “old-fashioned” way at the following address: Household Notes, Rural Delivery, Box 1509, Liverpool,  N.S.  B0T 1K0.