Love of cooking and baking runs through the female line of our family and my sister is no exception. JA and her family are vegetarians and the food they cook and eat is fantastic and has inspired me over the years to cook more and more vegetarian meals, some of which I'll publish in future posts.
JA and I love to share recipes for savoury and sweet dishes and as I'm off to spend the weekend with her I thought I'd bake and take one of the family's traditional recipes.
Aunt Nancy's Fruit Loaf
4 ozs butter or soft margarine
4 ozs sultanas
4 ozs raisins
5 fl ozs water
8 ozs SR flour
2 level tsps bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
4 ozs unrefined castor sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Melt the butter in a saucepan. To the melted butter, add the fruit and water. Bring to the boil and bubble gently for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Then sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and the melted butter and fruit mixture and mix well. Finally, add the beaten eggs and mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
Put the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake at 180C for 45 minutes check the cake after 30 minutes, If the cake begins to over brown cover top of the loaf tin loosely with cooking foil). Then reduce the heat to 150C and bake for a further 15 minutes. Test with a skewer to ensure that cake is baked and then remove from tin and place on a wire rack to cool.
This fruit loaf is lovely either on its own or spread with a little butter. The original recipe did not contain the spices - that's my enhancement. I replace the water either with half water and half orange juice or completely replace the water with HG pressed apple juice.
I've even, in the depths of Winter, replaced the water with Guinness and increased the spices to 1 tsp of each for a Christmassy feel - then you might like to try a generous slice covered in creamy homemade custard - yummee!