The Fruitcake Challenge and Discovering Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dickens

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Happpy new year once more everyone! I meant to post this earlier but I really didn´t have the time. I was fortunate enough to be able to go to London for the first time  during the holidays and liked it so much! I will talk about London itself another time but one of the places we visited was the Charles  Dickens Museum. It is the house where he lived in London.

 

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Ready to come in?

The museum is such an interesting place to visit, especially during Christmas. When I was growing up, my mom often read A Christmas  Carol to me and I have memories of seeing the story performed at the theatre. My husband was quite keen on visiting too because Charles Dickens is his favourite English autor. He learned a lot of English by reading Oliver Twist.

So, what does this have to do with fuitcake? Well, Dickens highlighted the importance of the Christmas dinner and the ceremonious moment when Mrs Cratchit brought out the plum pudding. It got me thinking about the traditions behind the food that we eat when we celebrate. We prepare the food with a lot of love but also with a kind of homage to the past. Not just any past, our past. I prepare my fruitcake knowing my grandmother would be really proud of me. Years ago, she did the same thing. Now I am carrying on a tradition. At Christmas and new year´s, we have the opportunity of being with friend or family and celebrating.  And that celebrating involves food and and usually a lovely drink or two! Dickens himself enjoyed inviting people to his house to eat and here is a photo of his dining room.

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Not that big, but at one point, as many a 18 people dined in there!

I  think the most impressive and perhaps the most astonishing part of the house was the kitchen. If you read the description below, it is quite a revelation.

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Those servants worked especially hard. I read that the servants held Charles Dickens in deep regard because he treated them well.

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The oven!

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No running water so you have to pump it out!

A typical Christmas meal would have loads of courses and let us not forget to mention that the kitchen was downstairs. Those servants had to be pretty fit going back and forth all the time!

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Sorry for the slightly blurry photo but I took this photo just when I discovered that Mrs. Dicken actually published a cookbook! I was stunned! I actually ordered it on Amazon because even if I don´t use the recipes, it would, in my opinion, be interesting to read a bit of culinary history in Victorian times!

Before I move on to the fruitcakes, I should mention that on part of the kitchen was set up to look like someone was about to begin making a Christmas pudding. The ingredients are similar to the ones we use to make fruitcakes so it was lovely to see.

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Maybe next Christmas I will try my hand at a Christmas pudding. 😉

If I do, I will remember my visit to this house. It was unforgettable.

And now for the fruitcake challenge! I have to thank those of you who participated and I don´t mean just those of you who baked a cake. I also mean those of you who encouraged me or showed interest in it. That is so nice. It is true that the blogging ¨family¨is lovely and  it has been an unexpected gift. I think one of the most interesting aspects of this challenge is seeing that there is no ¨one¨way to make a fruitcake and I love that!

The first fruitcake is from a beautiful blog from Lili over at

Lili´s Cakes . Lili has the tremendous talent of tormenting with her gorgeous recipes and potos. I love the fact that she actually illustrates her recipes. An example? Check out this work of art!

'Soaking fruit' colour illustration

Christmas fruitcake with ginger

Beautiful!

The next cake is from Sadie over at Sadie´s Nest

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Sadie has a beautiful blog and it reflects the kind of person she is. It has been so nice to have ¨met¨her! I especially love the shape of this cake! It is beautiful! I also like the fact that Sadie perfected the recipe according to the way she liked it! Also, her fruticake is ready to scarf down as son as it cools down! No waiting here! Love it!

Another beautiful fruitcake post  is over at tentimestea Oh my gosh..this post blew me away because there were photos of fruitcakes past. (Haha no Christmas Carol reference there). The photos are beautiful. Here is an example.

 Isn´t it beautiful? I was checking out the recipe and was intrigued to learn that both brandy and coffee were used! I have never heard of coffee in a fruitcake but it must add a great flavour! What a great tip!

I enjoyed reading all of the participants´posts and once again thank them. I leave all of you with a photo of my favourite souvenir from the Charles Dickens Museum.

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xxxx Natascha

 

10 thoughts on “The Fruitcake Challenge and Discovering Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dickens

  1. Great post and I love your apron. I would love to visit England some day and that museum. I am saving this post in my inbox to read again slowly later and to check out the fruitcakes. Now I have to get ready for work and the little person to school!

  2. I would love to visit the Dicken’s Museum! Look at that stove! The wash basin? Yikes! What a lovely table setting! I bet the food was amazing! Thanks for the great post Natascha! I hope I get a chance to visit London in depth one day! And thanks for the challenge, I had fun!

    1. I hope you get to visit London too! The people are so friendly and there is so much to see! Thank YOU for joining in. It was great reading about your fruitcake! ❤❤❤❤

    1. Thank you so much! In case you are interested, A Christmas Carol is being performed at the Noel Coward theatre in London until January 2oth, I think! We went to see it and it is fantastic! It is with an actor named Jim Broadbent who was in a Harry Potter film. He plays Scrooge and he is just brilliant !!!!

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