Saturday, 19 November 2011

St Delia's Day

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Delia!

She has been credited with changing the cooking - and shopping - habits of a nation, and the Delia effect has become accepted as common parlance.

And now, Delia Smith's efforts to culinary greatness are to be recognised with a day specially dedicated to her this weekend.

Following a huge surge in sales of a packaged Christmas cake ingredients box devised by Delia, Waitrose is declaring this Sunday to be Delia Day.

Sales of the cake are up almost 97 per cent on this time last year, with customers coming into the store to buy the product, which includes fruit soaked in brandy, buying the equivalent of 56 tonnes of fruit.

Delia Day is timed to tie in with Stir Up Sunday, traditionally the last Sunday before Advent when Britons prepare Christmas cakes and puddings.

Delia's much-loved Christmas cake recipe has been used by British cooks for over 40 years - but until now, they had to pound the aisles of the supermarkets to collect up the ingredients themselves.

The £10 prepared box contains all the dry ingredients needed to make Delia's Classic Christmas cake - and all have been prepared and weighed out in advance.

Waitrose launched the Delia prepared cake boxes into branches earlier than last year, and due to increased demand has ordered almost three times as many.

The box contains dried fruit mix pre-soaked in brandy, soft dark brown sugar, flour, chopped almonds, black treacle and mixed spice with nutmeg plus instructions penned by Delia. Home cooks simply add their own eggs, butter, orange and lemon zests to the dry ingredients then mix everything together and bake.

Not only is it simpler, but on average the box ensures a saving of around £10 on buying the individual ingredients as full packs.

Waitrose home baking buyer Jo Maclaine said: 'The Delia Christmas cake boxes have proved to be incredibly successful, with a huge rise in sales this week.

Delia says: 'This, my original classic Christmas cake, is possibly the most popular recipe I've ever done.

Let us pray:

Stir up, O Lord,
the wills of your faithful people:
that, richly bearing the fruit of good works,
they may by you be richly rewarded;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

On second thoughts, if the Vatican sees the following video, Delia may have to wait a very long time after her death before she is canonised.

It looks to me as if most of the brandy has gone into her glass - not into soaking the fruit for the Christmas cake!

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