DECEMBER 13: Mandarins and spice for a Christmas cake, served with clotted cream

food healthy winter agriculture


My reward for a mornings hard work hanging paper chains and swapping out bust tree lights is a (generous) slice of Patti Sloley’s Pear and Plantain Christmas cake with a dollop of clotted cream. 

When a social media post popped up this week saying fellow @thegfw member @pattismenu was on daytime TV show @lorrainekellysmith baking up a storm, I had to tear myself away from one screen to switch to another. 

The recipe can be found on 

Reaching into the back of my cupboard I found tinned mandarins and mangoes so switched that for the pears. The plantains need to be properly mushy and sweetened up as there is no sugar included in this recipe. 

Delicious, soft and moist … half will go in the freezer, and the sliced up for this week’s morning coffees.

Jewelled cake made with mandarin, mango, cinnamon, nutmeg and time © Bruce McMichael

Bruce McMichael

Food writing, discovering food stories, meeting producers, chefs and food enthusiasts are all part of desire to inspire, inform my readers and fellow food lovers. I am a freelance writer, journalist and published author focusing on the international world of food and drink, culture and travel. In 2019 I graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy with a Masters in Food Culture, Communication and Marketing. I am now a visiting Professor at the university teaching Food & Drink Writing. Based in London I travel widely, particularly across western Europe. I have chaired many conferences and meetings, spoken at conferences and events and often appear on radio and TV talking most about food, the business of food and being an entrepreneur. In 2017 I won an episode of the ITV (the UK-based national television channel) cooking competition show, 'Gordon Ramsay's Culinary Genius'. I took my children on holiday to Sicily with the prize money. As an experienced farmers' market manager and operator of a small marmalade/ preserves company, I am very familiar with the issues surrounding local food, farming, enterprise and the environment.

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