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I would have to disagree most strongly with Katie Drummond's Dad on the eating of fruitcake in summer. A good fruitcake can and should be enjoyed all year round. He may be confusing it with Christmas Cake which is understandable but should not put you off a decent slice of fruitcake at any other time.
I thought you might like my recipe for Tea Loaf which combines tea and fruitcake in one glorious loaf. I make at least one of these a week and have found the recipe to be endlessly adaptable to all manner of different combinations of fruit and for practically any occasion. It is the perfect reason to make a pot of tea. It is a doddle to make and you can chuck it together in a matter of minutes while drinking the rest of the tea.
2 oz butter
4 oz caster sugar (or soft brown sugar)
8 oz self raising flour
5 fluid oz tea
8 oz dried fruit
1 tsp of mixed spice (or whatever you like)
soften butter in microwave or let it stand out until soft
add sugar and beat a bit then add egg, tea and everything else
Stir until well mixed then put into greased and lined loaf tin
bake at gas mark 4/5 for about 40 minutes until firm.
I have tried this with various additions of spices, honey, nuts etc.
I make a pot of tea to use in the cake and drink the rest of the pot to sustain me during the making of the loaf. Making it with still hot tea allows you to dissolve a spoonful of honey or treacle in the tea should you wish to add that to the loaf.
My most frequently used combinations are;
date and walnut - add 2 oz each of dried dates and chopped walnuts
cherry ; add bit of vanilla essence and as many cherries as you feel you need
cranberry ; (did this for christmas) - mixed spice, cloves, 2 oz dried cranberry, 2 oz mixed peel
ginger; 2tsp ground ginger, 2 oz chopped crystallised ginger, tbsp treacle in the tea
And I was also quite taken with the less usual combination of prunes and aniseed ( adapted from a recipe in the sunday paper) which made a really moist loaf. I'm off to have a crack at your recipe which looks great.
Thanks again for all the entertainment and information
|Nicey replies: Thank you for that I'm going to make some bread in a while so I may give that a whirl as we are in an alarming zero cake situation. Also your recipe is very light on eggs and butter which is interesting and handy if you are running low on both.|
||Greetings Nicey, Wifey and YMOS|
I just thought I'd drop you a quick line to thank you for the fruit cake recipe - absolutely delicious (although I'm afraid my family couldn't wait the stipulated week before sampling) I also digressed slightly from your instructions, due to not reading carefully enough, and put the cherries in with the rest of the fruit instead of at the end, and forgot about sprinkling the sugar on top until after it came out of the oven. However, I don't think these were fundamental errors, as it certainly tastes good.
Maybe there's a follow-up book here - tried and tested NCOTAASD recipes for tea accompaniments?
All the best to the Team
|Nicey replies: Terriffic glad to hear you all enjoyed the cake, and thanks for having a go at it. I only say put the cherries in right at the end to ensure they stay whole as they can get shredded especially in mixers. Many's the time I've forgotten to put on the crunchy sugar, but never mind, its all good.
Actually it's one of the YMOS birthday's today so we have all just had big wedges of my tried and tested chocolate cake dressed up in milkybar and cadbury's buttons, with a big pot of tea.
This is the same model as I made Wifey for her birthday. Maybe I'll be persuaded to give up the recipe to this too as I have got it nailed now!
||I sent your fruit cake recipe to my dad, who is a great fan of making and more importantly eating fruit cakes, and he sent the following reply:|
“Fascinating website and interesting recipe but is Nicey a fraud or, perhaps, a fruitcake? A true fruitcake disciple would know that June is the wrong season for a Focus on Fruitcakes; they can mature in the summer but they should be eaten only in Autumn and Winter.”
|Nicey replies: Hi Katie,
I hope you can explain the mitigating circumstances of requiring propellent for our mission, and given the forecast for next week I don't think it will seem that June like.
As a family man can you please help out an expectant father? In order to keep his wife happy in her current, interesting, condition he needs a supply of wafer biscuits filled with orange cream. We've found the Tunnock's Florida ones in your reviews, but the ones he needs are chocolate free.
The biscuit experts on the team haven't been much help, so we are turning to you, the biscuit meister.
|Nicey replies: Very tricky Sue as you know Orange Cream is a difficult thing to find in most biscuits, but take chocolate out of the equation its like hens teeth.
OP just down the road from you do an uncovered Lemon Wafer as their nearest.
Not sure if a trip to France to retrive La Paile D'Or would find an Orange version, I don't recall one and LU's websites are woeful so I can't tell from there.
I only had to go on one quest for food for Wifey, which involved digging up a stray and rather gnarled spinach plant that had established itself in the front garden and presenting it to her on toast. Relatively easy in comparison to this task.
||Dear Nicey and the Wife,|
Further to my recent e-mail on the subject of Tifin, I have made further enquiries and found the definition on Wikipedia to be much more helpful than my own dictionary,giving a full account of all of the various uses of the word.
Regarding Tiffin the cake (and I use the classification loosely), my colleagues and I decided to embark on a quest to find the finest example of the breed. Samples from Waitrose, Tesco, Bon Viveur and a home made version were offered for comment and the general consensus seemed to be that the Waitrose version was slightly superior to the others.
The best comment came form Vicki who said, on the subject of classification, "It's trying to be a brownie, but someone's shoved a cherry up it". This sums up the whole Tiffin experience very nicely and has led me to conclude that cheries are an essential ingredient in distinguishing between Tiffin and "Chocolate Refrigerator Cake", the latter being the closest thing to Tiffin I could find at M&S.
Interest in the subject is running high in the office, so it was decided that we should have a Tiffin "bake-off" next week to find the best Tiffin recipe.
There wil be 6 entrants and a judging pannel consisting of the more noteable cake / biscuit eaters in the department.
The contest has been scheduled for 11:00 in an attempt to revive the fine old tradition of "elevenses".
I will endeavour to send you some pictures of the winning entry after the event.
|Nicey replies: Your cause is a noble and just one.|