Me and my sister - updated with recipe

13 October 2007

This is Tricia and I when we were little girls in Sydney. This photo was taken at my grandma's house at Strathfield in the early 1950s.

My sister Tricia is two years older than me, next year we will both be in our sixties. When I look at that sentence, I know it is true, but I can barely believe it.

She has lived all her life in Sydney and the Blue Mountains (just outside Sydney). Her husband, she was also married to a German man, died suddenly a few years ago so the past few years have been hard for her. She's been trying to keep a business going, keep a family together and keep her sanity. When we were younger, we were worlds apart, now we've grown much closer and we have a very good relationship. It's one of the great parts of growing older. You mellow (well I did) and accept people, warts and all. I wish I had done that when I was younger. I had very strong views in my younger years and I wish I would have lightened up a bit much earlier than I did. I have said before in this blog, I'm a slow learner sometimes. Tricia's main wart, as far as I was concerned, was that she liked football. See! I told you. Dumb.

Anyhow, all this is the preamble to tell you that Tricia is coming to visit us tomorrow. She'll stay for a couple of weeks. I'm really happy that she'll be spending some time with us. She wants to relax, swim, visit, sleep, come to work with me and read. Oh, she's also helping me make some curtains - she is bringing some curtain fabric she bought for me in Sydney. I'm really looking forward to it.

Tricia loves fruit cake. I made her this one that we can have for morning teas while she's here. Brandy was poured over it while it was still hot from the oven. For medicinal purposes, of course.

  • 1 kg (2.2 lbs) dried currants, sultanas and raisins
  • 50g (1.75 oz) glacé cherries and 100 grams dried cherries
  • 150 grams chopped nuts - I used walnuts
  • 1 cup sherry or port - or brandy, whatever you have
  • 100 grams butter at room temperature
  • 275 grams (8 oz) brown sugar
  • 5 eggs at room temperature
  • grated rind of 1 orange - grate on a fiine Microplane if you have one
  • grated rind of 1 lemon - ditto
  • 350 grams (12 oz) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spices - I used cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons black treacle
  • 50 mls brandy or Grand Marnier or sherry for pouring over when the cake is cooked
  1. Soak the fruit in 1 cup port overnight.
  2. Weigh out all the ingredients into suitable containers so they are to hand when needed.
  3. Before starting mixing, make sure you've lined the correct tin and turned on the oven to 150°C (300°F).
  4. Make sure the butter and eggs are left out of the fridge for a while before use, as this will help stop the mixture from curdling later when adding the eggs.
  5. Cream the butter, sugar and treacle together using the beater on a high speed until light. Stop the machine and give the beater and bowl a scrape down using a plastic scraper.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time on a medium speed.
  7. Sieve the flour and spices together. Add the flour and spices gradually on a low speed.
  8. Stop the machine and scrape down the beater and bowl once more.
  9. Add the fruit and nuts and mix in with a wooden spoon.
  10. Add the mixture to the tin, level and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Place into the middle of the oven at 150°C (300°F) for about 2½ to 3 hours. Check the cake after the alloted time using a skewer. Place the skewer into the middle of the cake: if it comes out clean, then the cake is done. If it needs a little more time, put it back in for another ten or fifteen minutes. Remove from the oven, leave the cake in the tin on a cooling rack to cool down. Pour over the brandy while the cake is still hot.
This cake will keep for many weeks. Wrap it in greaseproof paper and the tightly wrap it in aluminium foil.


  1. You'll both need the brandy for the sore throats that will no doubt be the result of many hours of gasbagging! Yum!

  2. LOL, yep, you guessed it, Lisa.

  3. Any chance of sharing the recipe? It looks different from the fruitcakes aka door stoppers we have in the States. Does yours have that nasty candied fruit people buy and put in it. The cake base is usually tasty, but with all that candied junk, there's preciously little of the cake to eat without getting a mouth full of candied citron (whatEVER the heck THAT is), candied cherries and I think candied pineapple is what's used here.
    Anyway, yours looks like its full of nuts and perhaps raisins (or do ya'll call them Sultanas?) I just can't see you going and buying candied, dried fruit! lol

  4. What a lovely photo of the two of you, and it looks like you are both wearing knitted tops? It took until we were in our 30's for my sister and I to get along - we hated each other when we were teenagers - but now she is like my best friend and we can talk for hours. She lives in Sydney so I don't see her as often as I would like too. We are now nearly in our fifties and that is so hard to believe, like you and your sister heading for your sixties.

    Have a great time with Tricia (the cake looks yummy!)

  5. I like you are much closet to my sisters now than when we were young...
    I always felt that I had to be the one to be on the straight and narrow path so I was always nagging at my sister (who was 15 months older by the way) to do this or that or I would have to tell mama!!!
    and of course she never listened to me,,,because she know that I would not tell mama... I was just trying to get her to straighten up and fly right...but now that we are adults we go on trips together and have a great time...

  6. Fabulous photo of the two of you! But I'm still waiting for one of Kathleen! ;-)


  7. What a sweet picture of you and your sis. I'm an only child. While growing up I didn't mind, but now I will truly love a sister. Have a wonderful visit....your fruitcake looks so yummy. Linda

  8. That fruit cake looks absolutely delicious. I hope you girls have a good time together!

  9. So kind of you to take time to bake a cake for ya'll to enjoy.
    Hope ya'll have a Great visit and make lots of "Sweet Happy Memoires";o)


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