.........Part Baker and Food blogger, Part Preppy, Part Republican and a Sprinkle of Philosopher!........

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Theme of the day recipe!- English Tea Cake!

This is a simple Tea Loaf- great alongside tea plain or served with butter...or for breakfast with bitter marmalade ,even sweet jam can be a great winter alternative to toast! Infact I made this yesterday, but at the time of this photo this morning- over 2 thirds had mysteriously disappeared!

I like my tea cake deliciously dark and not too sweet! I normally put a few tablespoons of dark muscavado sugar (has a strong molasses flavour) into the mix. To make this loaf even more festive! A Christmas tea blend can be used to soak the fruit, and dried cranberries can be added alongside the nuts.
1 plain tea bag
300g Soft dried fruits (I use a mixture of dates and sultanas)
80g light brown sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
225g plain flour
Handful of pecans, walnuts and pistachios
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon

 1.Pour 300ml boiling water into a measuring jug with the tea bag and leave to infuse for 4-5 minutes, add the fruit and leave to soak overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/356F.Spread the bottom of a rectangle cake/loaf tin with butter and place a paper casing inside (easier to remove the finished loaf this way) Stir sugar and the 2 beaten eggs into the fruit mixture (no need to drain any water as the fruit will have soaked most of up). Sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and stir the mixture carefully.
3. Pour the mixture into the tin and pop in the oven for up to 70 mins, (my oven takes 1 hour), the secret is to cook the whole thing without burning the top. You can place a aluminum foil covering over the top of the tin, maybe half way through cooking to try to prevent extra charring. While the mixing of this recipe is easy, this is one you may need to watch if unsure about your oven.
4. Cool the ready loaf in the tin for 10 mins before transferring it onto a metal cooling rack. Serve while warm or when cooled!

Happy Baking everyone! SP x

Theme of the day- England!

Still snowed in, (an apparently new British tradition I’ve involuntary participated in here) I decided a new idea for my blog! a theme of the day! When we think of England, we traditionally think of ...antique furniture crafted from mahogany ; located in a dusty long-forgotten library full of first editions of the works by C. S. Lewis , medieval cathedrals, afternoon tea, tennis, strawberries and cream and gorgeous summers...That inevitably turn into awful winters! In winter however, out come the infamous Barbour quilter jackets, and the original green Hunter Wellington Boots! (However, one of the things I love about these...is their ability to come in so many fabulous colours!..But I still picked the ever so practical, matt black)

The Strawberry!
In the South East of England, there are fields upon fields of 'pick your own' attractions- Tulleys Farm is an example, and they also run a small grocery store filled with local, farm produce! This is something I feel symbolises the English Summer...(also a tradition, If watching tennis at Wimbledon, don’t forget the strawberries and cream!)
     A perfect Gift for someone who loves hosting dinner parties are these divine Jay Strongwater- salt and pepper shakers! ...(An American brand, but i wont tell if you dont!)- The Detail is incredible, look at the tiny wasp! 
 Plaid, Tartan and Tweed!
-Too many lovely accessories to list!
This Kiel James Patrick cuff could be added to the wrist of a rolled up blue blazer to add an anglophile edge to a casual outfit! I also like how you can personalise the button by choosing different colours!
Ralph Lauren also has so many great winter items! I am following their daily gift guide on facebook- after being slightly off put by this rather eccentric tartan polo, I thought; why not tone it down with a plain navy wool skirt/ navy tights? (it’s on sale now too!) However if  you would rather have something more personalised; if you have Scottish family roots you can order from many websites like ScotWeb; that specialise in accessories of hundreds of different clan tartans! I’m Scottish on my father’s side and our family name is connected with clan ’Gunn’; which is a charming dark blue/green blend. Alternatively, this website has an advanced search option, where you can seek out patters by colour *yes they have pink!*
SP xx

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Happy Holidays!

 Its snowing where i am! Its really pretty but i cant go out, and the mail isnt arriving! Maybe in a few days i will start worrying about delays! But for now..I wish everyone a joyous season :) right now, all i need is my gingerbread flavoured hot chocolate and the fire burning in the living room and i will be happy!
 ...and in the words of Miss Janice (a fellow blogger, whos decorating talent i am forever envious of!)..keep Christ in Christmas!

Because most of my family are going away for the holidays,we only have a small tree in the living room this year! Mostly red, but still...Pink and Green Tree! :D
                      The Fireplace in the living room- A simple centerpiece