“Christmas gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us – a time when we can look back on the year that has passed and prepare for the year ahead.”
-David Cameron

November slipped away too soon and it is already the end of December.
It rained last week and we had a mild snowfall. Next few days were clear and sunny.  While we relished the beauty and tranquility of the season, we also went to the town to shop for our fruitcake. Every December, it is a ritual in our home to bake a fruitcake.  
This year we baked a vegan fruit cake.
The fruits were measured and chopped. Raisins, golden raisins, black currants, figs, apricots, and cherries were chopped. With everyone participating in the baking, there was a lot of din, laughter, and fun. Some fruit bits were stealthily popped into the mouth. The pan was prepared perfectly and the bowl was licked clean after pouring the batter into the pan. 
A carnival of scents wafted through as the cake baked.

The cake was brushed with rum all over and stored for a week.
My son trudged up the narrow trail through the oak forest to get a few branches of the Fir Tree. While the daughter collected the pine cones. In the evening, children arranged lights around their Christmas Tree. 

We enjoyed the slices of boozy cake overloaded with fruit bits. Joy, warmth, togetherness, and love -  this is the true spirit of Christmas.

Vegan Christmas Cake | Vegan Fruit Cake

Recipe adapted from bbcgoodfood


  • 1 kg of mixed dry fruits (mix of raisins, figs, apricots, cherries, black currants)
  • ¼ cup candied citrus peels
  • Juice of two oranges
  • 150 ml rum, plus extra for feeding
  • 200 grams coconut oil
  • 200 grams brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flax meal
  • 150 ml water
  • 175 grams plain flour
  • 100 grams ground almonds
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a large deep pan/wok, take dried fruits, candied peels, rum, sugar, coconut oil and set over medium heat. Stir continuously and bring it to a boil. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Leave it cool.
  2. In another large bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves. Keep aside.
  3. Grease one 9 inches or bigger round cake pan. Line the bottom with a double sheet of parchment paper.  Line the sides. Wrap a double layer of newspaper on the outside and secure it with a string or a tape. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
  4. Stir flax meal with 150 ml water.  Leave to sit for 5 minutes until thick and gel-like.
  5. Mix this to the cooled fruit mixture. Add orange juice. Mix well.
  6. Now add flour mix. Stir well so that there are no pockets of flour.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Level the top and bake for 2 hours. Tent with a foil if the top is browning too fast. Check with a skewer for doneness.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven. Poke holes with a skewer. Spoon over 2 tablespoons of rum. Leave the cake to cool completely in the pan.
  9. Peel off the parchment paper. Brush the top, bottom, and sides with rum. Wrap in a cling film. Brush with alcohol every fortnight.

My notes: I have made a few changes in the recipe due to the availability of the ingredients and our taste preferences. The cake turned out moist and boozy and very delicious.
 Cinnamon Orange Pull-Apart Bread is citrusy sweet bread bursting with the flavours of Citrus and cinnamon. It has been kneaded with orange juice and has a tender crumb. The sugar at the base gets caramelised while baking, making the slices sweet and juicy.

Short days and long nights, dropping temperature and chilly winds whisper that the winters are here. The coils of smoke drift up from the nearby settlement. The night was starry but there were blotches of clouds as well. Surprisingly, it was a clear morning next day and nature treated us to a clear view of the Himalayas. 

 Far from our home and close to the river, we spotted a group of Blue bearded Bee-eater.

We watched them playing around.

Winter is the season of citrus and a variety of citruses have reached the market. Yesterday, we baked a Cinnamon Orange pull-apart bread. 

The dough was kneaded with orange juice. We stuffed it with homemade candied orange peels. Cinnamon and Orange make a great combination and the bread was heavenly.

 The dough was rolled out into a square of 20 x 12 inches.

A generous amount of mixture of cane sugar, cinnamon, and candied peels was sprinkled all over. It was sliced into five sections.

The sections were stacked on top of each other and further cut into six pieces.

The stacks of dough were placed end to end in a greased loaf pan and covered for the second rise.

The bread after the second rise was baked till golden.


Cinnamon sugar mixture dotted with juicy orange peels between the thin sheets of dough tastes heaven.

Vegan Cinnamon Orange Pull-Apart Bread



  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon orange zest
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ cup unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dry ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoons candied orange peels/orange zest


  1. In a large bowl, mix together first four ingredients. Keep aside.
  2. Add sugar to warm water, Mix stir in yeast, cover and keep for 10 minutes. It should turn frothy.
  3. Add orange juice and vanilla extract to the yeast mixture.
  4. Add to the flour mix. Knead for 5-7 minutes to get a very smooth, slightly sticky and satiny dough.
  5. Transfer to an oiled bowl. Turn around once to coat evenly with oil. Cover and keep for 1 ½ hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Prepare filling while the dough is rising.
  7. Mix sugar, cinnamon and ginger powder. Add candied orange peels.
  8. Grease one 8 x 4 inches (preferably nonstick) bread pan. Line the bottom with a parchment paper. This helps the bread to come out clean.
  9. Remove dough from the bowl to a floured counter. Roll out dough into 20 x 12 inches rectangle. If the dough is very sticky while rolling, dust with flour and keep rolling.
  10. Brush the rolled dough with oil. Sprinkle the mixture evenly on rolled dough.
  11. Starting with the long end, cut the dough into 5 strips from top to bottom. Stack these strips on top of one another and then cut the stack of strips into 6 equal squares.
  12. Place all the stacks of dough squares together end to end in the greased loaf pan. Cover and allow to rise for another hour.
  13. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  14. Remove from the oven after 10 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  15. Cool on the rack. Serve warm.

Linking to #BreadBakers
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. Our theme this month is Breads with fresh fruit and no white sugar. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to [email protected].

This month, the Bread Bakers are making breads with fresh fruit and no white Sugar, a theme chosen by Renu of Cook With Renu.
Here are everyone's Bread with fresh fruit and no white sugar:

·  Apricot Sour Cream Bread from Karen's Kitchen Stories
·  Blackberry Blue Cheese Walnut Loaf from Food Lust People Love
·  Eggless Whole Wheat Pear Bread from I camp in my kitchen
·  Hawaiian Sweet Buns from Gayathri's Cook Spot
·  Honey Oatmeal Applesauce Bread from the Mad Scientist's Kitchen
·  Julekage from All That's Left Are The Crumbs
·  Sugar free Harvest Muffins from Cook's Hideout
·  Vegan Orange Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread from Ambrosia 

During the recent school break, which has just ended, I was constantly looking for something quick to whip up.  Something delicious, decadent, easy for the kids to enjoy during their time off school.
Hedgehog slice (I believe Australian), has been on my to-do list for quite a while now and these past holidays seemed like the perfect time to make them. The recipe is easy and quite simple. Kids’ participation makes it all the more enjoyable.

“A hedgehog slice is an uncooked flat, square or bar-shaped chocolate snack/dessert, similar to a fudgy chocolate brownie but with alternating lighter and darker areas. The darker areas are chocolate flavoured. The lighter areas are crushed biscuits, rice puffs, or similar. (Wikipedia)”

Basically, it’s a super easy, fool-proof, no-bake fudgy bar that’s full of chocolate, crushed cookies, roasted chopped nuts, raisins and coated with a layer of pure chocolate. The biscuits are broken up and tossed through a chocolate mixture. It is then poured into a tin and refrigerated overnight.  It is chocolate heaven!

I used bitter chocolate for a deep intense taste. The recipe is customizable. You may add nuts and biscuits of choice. Raisins can be substituted with chopped apricots or figs.

Hedgehog Slice


  • ¾ cup condensed milk (use standard 240 ml cup for measurement)
  • 60 grams Butter
  • 125 Grams dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
  • 150 Grams plain sweet biscuits (digestive, glucose
  • 1/3 cup roasted Peanuts
  • 1/3 cup Raisins
  • 2 tablespoons candied orange peels or 1 tablespoon finely grated zest of an orange
  • 100 grams dark chocolate (for the topping)
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Grease one 7x7 inch square cake pan. Line with parchment sheet extending 5 cms over one side.
  2. Break biscuits into small pieces.
  3. Combine condensed milk and butter in a thick bottom pan. Stir over low heat until butter melts.
  4. Add chocolate and stir until smooth. Add biscuits, peanuts, raisins, and candied peels. Stir.
  5. Pour mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours or until firm. You may refrigerate overnight also.
  6. In a double boiler, melt 100 grams dark chocolate. Add butter. Stir until smooth.
  7. Pour over the set mixture and spread evenly. Refrigerate for another 2 hours.
  8. Remove from the pan. Cut into slices. Serve.
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