Monday, 8 August 2011

Tea Loaf

Scrummy Tea Loaf

We went for a little family trip out at the weekend to Lanes Garden Centre in Risley, Derbyshire. You can buy buckets of veg to feed to the animals (a goat tried to eat my jumper!) and there's a little cafe at the back of the shop to have a cuppa and cake (it also has the worst food photographer ever - but this kind of adds to the shabby charm!). So, we shared some tea loaf and Victoria sponge - they tasted a lot better than their mug shots looked!

My four year-old particularly liked the tea loaf, so I thought I'd knock one up when I got home. They are so simple to make and you always feel a bit better about having a slice of cake that contains one of your five-a-day!

I don't drink much tea nowadays (always seem to have coffee), but when I was brewing up it reminded me of my father. He always used to like a stewed cup of tea and it reminded me of when we went on mammoth bike rides around the North Norfolk Coast and it was so hot. We'd always want a cold drink of pop, but he always insisted on drinking tea as it was "more refreshing". Me and my sisters would laugh at him! Although we did relent and go for the traditional brew when we stopped for a cream tea in North Creake - delicious!
Sadly, my father passed away four years ago, but it's nice to get unexpected reminders of him. I'm sure he would have enjoyed a slice of this Tea Loaf with his over-brewed cuppa!

300ml strong cold tea
450g dried fruit (I used mostly raisins and ready-to-eat apricot)
225g demerara sugar
80g chopped walnuts
110g prunes
1 egg, beaten with 3 tablespoons of milk
450g self raising flour

Prepare the fruit by soaking in tea and sugar overnight. The next day, simply stir in the rest of the ingredients. Put the mixture into a well greased loaf tin. Smooth the surface and bake in a pre-heated oven, 170C for about an hour and ten minutes. Test it's done with a skewer. If it comes out clean it's done. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool (the right way up). Serve with butter.

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