Sometimes I wish I didn't, but I really do like every food out there imaginable. Because I am such a gannet type, I find it hard to come to terms with the fact that some people don't like some foods. I also take great pleasure in reintroducing an ingredient to someone who forbids it, resulting in a 'Come Dine With Me' moment, where one contestant says 'I don't like pears, but I've got to say Nigel, I like this pear dish'. As a kid, I couldn't bare mushrooms, tomatoes, peas and fruit cake. Then one day, because that ingredient is cooked differently or the variety or quality is like none you have tasted before you think to yourself, well that's delicious, I've been missing out for years!
I love whole candied fruits. They are beautiful like little works of art and if you have ever seen a cabinet full of them, it's like staring into a display case of jewels. I used whole candied orange slices, apricots and figs but I have also used regular cut peel before which works a treat.
Here's where I confess that there is a bottle of beer in each loaf! It should be a fruity ale but this loaf came about late the other night from a conversation on twitter with @GentlemanBaker, who put the idea of fruit loaf into my head just before bed. I suppose I could have soaked the fruit in tea but I had a couple of beers sitting in the cupboard, so in they went. It tasted the same as the ale, I love discovering things like this. The Gentleman Baker had little faith.
It's best after a few days but that warm loaf is so tempting when there is salty butter to be absorbed. Yes, I see the irony in making it fat free and then slathering it in butter, welcome to my world.
I gave a loaf to my sister and kept one for myself, it lasts weeks!
The perfect accompaniment to your tea break.
Just as I had filed my self assessment, which was a wee bit stressful being the day before deadline, this card fell through the door to make the cake taste that much sweeter. I did this lovely couple's wedding catering and little did they know, just as I was cursing the decision to be self employed with all this tax nonsense, they had lifted my spirits, high. I love my job.
Recipe makes 2 loaves
600g made up of currants, raisins, sultanas
150g candied fruits/mixed peel
1 lemon and 1 orange zested (optional, but I like)
500ml of strong ale or peroni ;)
3 med/lrg eggs
100g of soft dark brown sugar (not if you don't want)
100g of SR flour
300g wholemeal SR flour
3 tsp mixed spice
It really is simple and if you are anything like me, you may well have all the ingredients in your cupboard.
In a large saucepan, tip in fruit, peel and zest. Cover with ale and bring to the boil. Cover, turn off heat and leave overnight.
The next morning, mix all the ingredients together in the same saucepan and tip into lined 500g loaf tins x2
Cook on 150C for an hour. Check, and if ready cool on a wire rack, in its tin with a cloth over the top.