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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.|
I was fumbling through my old Delia Smith book the other day and came across a Neiman Marcus Cookies recipe which came on an email in 1998 from a friend. With the recipe was a story about woman who had enticed by the cookies to ask for the recipe, was given it and charged $250 for the privilege. It would seem disseminating the recipe was her revenge on the Neiman Marcus corporation. Anyway, long story short I made the cookies (halving the recipe because it claimed to make 112 cookies per batch). They were delicious and soon disappeared at work, at home, with friends, with neighbours etc etc. Fine crunchy biscuits made with nuts and chocolate chips and (substituted by Cadbury) Hershey bars!
So here’s the thing – was the Neiman Marcus Cookie recipe email a true story? Does anyone else remember getting this email or hearing about it on the web about 10 years ago – and would anyone like me to transcribe it in full. (Beware the biccies are more-ish and horribly fattening).
|Nicey replies: Hiya Trina,
Yes somebody did forward on that mail to me. I remember thinking that it was entirely fabricated for many reasons. How could they just charge her all that money without her permission and if they did then she should have taken them to court. Also she must have been a bit mad to write to a company and seek their recipes as they are subject to change and not disclosed to anybody. Also the company must be mad to do that, for the two reasons stated.
Finally people receiving recipes in unsolicited messages was basically the plot for the monster movie Species.
||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!
Fazer Fasu Pala Review
An expat from Finland, now living in Dublin would like to give you the exact translation of "Maitosuklaalla Kuorrutettuja lakritsinmakuisia vohvelipaloja".
Exact translation would read "Liquorice flavoured pieces of wafer covered with milk chocolate". Also, the various filling flavours include mint, toffee/caramel and chocolate. There (I think) was also a version with dark chocolate and/or cocoa flavoured wafers.
I do like your extensive coverage of various bisquits and cakes. It really helps us traditional coffee drinkers to find the perfect pair for our "cuppa". =)
All the best,
|Nicey replies: Thank you very much for that. People often ask me what's the strangest biscuit we have reviewed and I seem to come back to these most often.|
There's been a long-term debate about whether the mighty Fig roll is either a biscuit or a cake. Whilst at University, we contacted many people who may have known the answer to this question (Dennis Wise, Ken from Coronation Street, Phil Collins) but all with no reply.
If possible, is there any way you can confirm, once and for all, the category in which the fig roll sits please? There is talk about VAT, and whether it is paid on cakes, but not biscuits, or vice versa, and there's also the argument that fig rolls go hard if left, whereas biscuits always go soft…??
We are unsure…there is divided opinion… frankly, we need expert advice, so we've come to you.
Many thanks, would really appreciate any feedback on the issue.
P.S. Your article "21st Century Fig Festival" was very interesting, informative and a revelation.
|Nicey replies: Martyn,
Thank you for your very important enquiry involving the status of fig rolls. Not to beat around the bush, the fig roll is most definitely a biscuit, and certainly not a cake.
The fig rolls going behaviour is indeed to go hard rather than soft and indeed to turn other hard biscuits around it soft. But this merely proves that this is not a hard and fast rule for determining whether something is cake or biscuit. Not only is the fig roll not the only biscuit to disobey this rule but if it were as simple as that then the whole jaffa cake fiasco would have come to a close with much more haste than it did.
Sometimes one can think so hard about something that you wind up confusing yourself, and obscuring the simple truth. I'm not at all surprised this happened to you whilst a student, as many expend prodigious amounts of mental energy on such matters, flexing their intellects, when really they should be writing essays or something. It seems as if one is using deductive logic to create a stimulating debate amongst ones peers, where as in fact one is simply racking up a student loan which will have to be paid off at some point. I remember vividly wasting hours as a student trying to get a piece of string to stand upright in a pool of molten lard inside a hollowed out sugar beet, feeling sure that I was on to something.
Here are some reasons why the fig roll is a biscuit.
It's made in biscuit factories, by biscuit companies, (Jacobs, Crawfords).
It's made using biscuit dough in addition to all that fig paste.
There are other similar items around the world that are considered biscuits in their native land, Fig Newtons, Arnotts Spicy Rolls etc.
It's one of my favourite biscuits.