Date and Nut Loaf

I’ve just been saying how I miss photographs of the recipes, but now this one does have a photo, although have to say I have a pretty good idea of what this should look like!! I’d prefer photos of the slightly more unusual recipes!!

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I’m not a massive fan of dates just on their own, but I do love them in a sticky toffee pudding! Also this has bicarbonate of soda which I also always use when making sticky toffee pud but it’s mixed with cooked dates which I think helps to soften them in the pudding?? Anyway it’s added slightly differently in this recipe for some reason!

Anyway first the margarine is mixed into the flour and baking powder..

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I used my food processor to chop all the dates..

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They are then added with the sugar and nuts..

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Finally the bicarbonate, milk and egg are all added and mixed with a little more milk until it gives a dropping consistency..

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It’s into the tin and then in the oven, my loaf tin is a bit wider and longer than the size the recipe suggests..

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After just over an hour it was looking and feeling ready and was smelling pretty great!

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I left it to cool for a while before testing it..

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Well this is probably the best fruit loaf I’ve ever made!! It’s delicious! The dates do give it an almost sticky toffee like quality which is fab, and the nuts add a nice flavour and texture. I think I ended up having 3 slices one after another!

Would I make this again? Yes definitely..

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Quick Bread – 2

Earlier this year I made the quick bread-1 which turned out really weird looking but was good enough for toast and croutons!

This is a slightly different recipe but is also ready in under an hour..

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I opted to make with self raising flour, and it didn’t seem like much fat to the amount of flour..

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Then I added the egg and milk and I did end up using all the milk. The resulting dough is soft..

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So it says to knead very lightly so that’s what I did! I know there’s a whole science thing about making bread and activating gluten I think, but as this has no yeast I’m wondering if less kneading is best? I just gently kneaded for about 5 minutes until it was looking smooth..

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So I decided I was going to be a bit fancy and opted to make it into a plait..

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Then I brushed with milk before putting in the oven..

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After the full 35 minutes it looked nicely browned and has risen a bit..

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It does look a bit weird on top, again I’m pretty sure there’s a scientific reaction type explanation for that!!

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I left to cool ever so slighty before I had to test it..

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It is nice and soft inside and does have a bit of a crust, which I quite like! Warm with butter it is great! Overall it’s quick, easy and decent enough loaf of bread.

Would I make this again? Yes, great to be able to have a loaf of bread in less than an hour…

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Fruit Cake

This is the second fruit cake from the same chapter. The first one was in the plain cakes section which are made by the rubbing in method. This one is in the one stage section..

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It does say that you need a special margarine, so not knowing what superfine or blue band are I decided stork would have to do and so I was making this fruit cake in the all in one method.

I’m liking that this has a good amount of mixed spice..

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Then this cake has a lot more fruit..

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I had opted to use a mixture of raisins, currants, sultanas and mixed peel.

So it’s all just mixed together..

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It does seem like a long cooking time, and I did keep checking on it after an hour but I did have it in the oven for pretty much the full hour and three quarters..

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It does have a nice flat top, which is good if it’s being coverd with marzipan and fondant, but I’m not too sure why! I’ve heard of a few tips to make sure you get a flat topped cake but I didn’t use any of them making this!

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So how does this compare to the first fruit cake? Well I preferrd this but think that’s due to the mixed spice and more fruit. It is quite a crumbly cake but I do really like it..

Would I make this again? Yup!
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Orange Gingerbread

I loved the everyday gingerbread that I made a couple of weeks ago so was looking forward to trying this…

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The recipe varies in a few ways, obviously this one has orange in it but it also has no syrup, less ginger and less liquid, so was hoping it was still going to turn out just as good.

First off I measured out the dry ingredients, this does have some cinnamon as well but was tempted to throw in a little extra ginger..

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This method varies as well, the other gingerbread involved warming all the wet ingredients then mixing into the dry, but this starts with rubbing the fat into the dry ingredients..

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Still no idea what differnce it makes! Then I added the orange bits and peices..

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Then in went the treacle..

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Then I added the rest of the ingredients and I did add some milk..

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After an hour I checked on this and it was definitely ready, in fact I thought it had maybe been in too long..

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The house does smell pretty amazing while this is cooking!!

Once it had cooled slightly I cut into squares..

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Well texturely this is very different to the everyday gingerbread, it’s much lighter which I didn’t really think is a good thing! I want my gingerbread sticky!!

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Taste wise it is nice, not gingery enough in my opinion and also the orange flavour isn’t as strong as I’d hoped. It is good with a cup of tea but just not as fab as the everyday gingerbread!

Would I make this again? Possibly..

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Fruit Cake

The family cakes chapter has loads of recipes in it and I think I have been concentrating too much on savoury recipes, so going to try do at least 2 sweet recipes a week! So today I picked this one, it’s one of the first recipes from this chapter and I think it sounds like a good cake to bake if you like a lighter fruit sponge..

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I do make a lot of sponges and usually it’s butter and sugar first, then beat in the eggs and then stir in the four, so when I come across a cake recipe that says to start like this I do always wonder why. Would this have turned out differently if I’d started with the butter and sugar rather than rubbing the butter into the flour..

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Then the fruit goes in and I don’t think its a lot of fruit so isn’t going to be a heavy cake..

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Then I mixed in the eggs and about 2-4 tablespoons of milk..

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Then it’s into the tin..

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After an hour it’s turned a nice golden brown colour, feels very firm and smells pretty good..

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I left it to cool for a bit and was a well deserved treat after a very long walk..

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It does have a bit of a crust but is very soft inside, both of which I loved. I like all kinds of fruit cake, and this one isn’t loaded with fruit but does have a decent amount and is a great cake, perfect with a cup of tea! I think the photo makes it look a bit dry but it’s really not. I think I make so much buttercream that when it comes to making cakes for us I like them naked!!

Would I make this again? Yes, great wee cake!

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Quick Bread – 1

It’s called quick bread – 1 because there is a quick bread – 2 recipe! I have made a couple other fast loaves using regular plain flour and yeast but this is a first, making bread with just self raising flour, but this comes from the family cakes chapter rather than the bread chapter..

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So as you can see there are very few ingredients to this, and I think what shows how easy this is that I had this made by 7:10 this morning and no I wasn’t up at 5, all in in took 40 minutes!

It’s just the flour and salt..

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….mixed with the water…

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So it says to knead gently which I gues goes against all other bread making. Normally the kneading stage can be quite exhausting and takes a good 10 minutes. For this I assumed I wasn’t to knead quite like a normal and loaf and after only 5 minutes of gentle kneading I shaped into a round and put onto an oven tray..

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It doesn’t look too smooth at this point and I was tempted to knead a bit longer but I wanted this in the oven!

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Well after 35 minutes it has risen and turned a nice golden brown colour but it is a rather odd shape..

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It’s like a cross between a spaceship and a pac-man shaped loaf!!

So we only gave it a few minutes to cool and then had some toasted for breakfast..

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It is quite soft inside but does have a bit of a crust, I quite like that though!

I do think it’s best suited for toast and I did really enjoy with my rhubarb and ginger jam..

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It’s maybe not suited for sandwiches but I think considering what’s in it and how quickly this was made its actually pretty good!

Would I make this again? Yes!

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Everyday Gingerbread

I was thinking about gingerbread all day in work so was pleased when I came home and checked I had all the ingredients!

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An 8 inch square tin is probably the only one I don’t have! So I decided a 7 inch square would do, I didn’t bother to alter the ingredients and just hoped it would work ok.

I love ginger and think this is a decent amount in this recipe so that makes me happy, but then it seems like an awful lot of baking powder!

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Then I put the other ingredients in the pan and started to melt…

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Once I’d mixed all the wet ingredients, including the egg and milk, with the dry I was starting to regret my tin decision! It just seemed like an awful lot of cake mix! Fortunately my tin does have high sides so turned out ok..

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After about an hour and a quarter the house was smelling blooming amazing and the cake felt ready. I felt it had an ever so slight dip in the middle which I believe can sometimes be due to too much baking powder..

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I left this to cool for as long as I could, which really probably wasn’t long enough! It was still pretty warm when I cut into so was really soft, and it does seem to have a really light texture..

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So a couple of slices each initially..

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Well this is quite possibly the best gingerbread I have ever eaten!! We didn’t have any butter on it, and I don’t think it needs it, maybe once it’s cooled a wee scraping of butter might be nice! I just loved this so much and am off to eat some more..

Would I make this again? Oh yes…

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