Keep your e-mails pouring in, it's good to know that there are lots of you out there with views and opinions.
To help you work out what is what, are now little icons to help you see biscuit related themes. And now you can see at a glance which are the most contested subjects via this graph (requires Flash 6.0 plugin).
Please keep your mails coming in to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you like, you can use this search thingy to find stuff that matches with any of the icons you pick, or use the fantastic free text search, Yay!
|John E Noir
||Dear Nicey, Wifey and YMOS,|
Hope you enjoyed your bicycle tour and are fully recovered from any lingering saddle soreness.
As you may be aware I have expressed interest in fruitcake elsewhere in your lovely site. Your recent fruitcake symposium prompted me to muse on the acceptability of serving fruitcake with cheese.
It is traditional in this part of Yorkshire to serve a fruitcake with a nice bit o' Wensleydale a la Wallace and Grommitt. Other similar crumbly cheeses such as Lancashire may pass muster (but NOT in Yorkshire!) It is my opinion that a good moist cake could also stand a nice mature cheddar but it would seem unacceptable to muck it about with blue cheeses or waxy cheeses like Edam or Gouda. I also have reservations about the newer varieties of Wensleydale that incorporate fruits in the cheese such as cranberries or apricot. Not that I have anything against cheese like this just served with fruitcake it seems to be "Gilding the Lily"
I am sure your readers would welcome your opinion on this delicate subject and look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.
I include a picture of a recent dabbling into cheese/cake combining and also another pic not necessarily of my addiction to cheese but just to prove the exceptionally dark beverage in the first pic is actually tea served black rather than coffee.
John E Noir
|Nicey replies: I think my thoughts on this is that it's a Yorkshire thing that I have no direct experience of. It has been mentioned before but always in the context of Yorkshire-ness. Mind you I do imagine that Caerphilly cheese would work too.
We visited Caerphilly in May on a rainy day to see the excellent castle. Afterwards we had a spot of lunch in the town but couldn't find any Cearphilly cheese for sale which was a bit of a blow.
Here's a picture of the castle not the cheese
I made the fruit cake from your recipe on Saturday morning last, and at the time of writing (Monday p.m.) there is but a thinnish slice left. Delicious. I like to eat it warmed in the microwave although the cherries can be pretty hot on emerging! I've made loads of cakes over the years but this one got my husband's seal of approval. Looking forward to the choccy one (!)
Margaret Broom (Ipswich in Suffolk)
|Nicey replies: It must have been the proximity of the cake to you as we sat on Ipswich station for two and a half hours due to a broken down freight train, sending out 'make me-make me' cake mind control messages. I wonder how many cakes were made in Ipswich that week?
Glad you both enjoyed it, and thanks for letting us know.
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.