Sunday, 10 February 2013

Old skool Sunday

When I was a kid Sunday’s were pretty much set to a standard run of events. There were very few, if any shops open. It was a day when you were forced to spend time with friends and family, whether you wanted to or not. My granddad would come over every Sunday, picking my sister and I up from Sunday School, and go home via the sweet shop.  The day would then unfold with a monster roast lunch, some snoozing (with intermittent darts/snooker championships/Bullseye - because as we all know, you can't beat a bit of Bully) and tea on tap. Oh let’s not forget the Darling Buds of May in the evening!

Tea would always be around the 6 o’clock mark and it always consist of a range of sandwiches, maybe some salady things in the summer (with salad cream, I don’t think ‘dressing’ had been invented yet), cake and more tea. Fond memories.

Looking outside, it’s chucking down with rain and whilst there isn’t any snooker or darts on the tv, we do have perhaps the most important game of the 6 Nations.  And it’s chucking down with rain outside.

Time for home comforts. Time to rekindle that Sunday feeling.  Time to make cake.
If anyone’s looking for musical inspiration when making this cake, I would suggest The Cinematic Orchestra – Ma Fleur, or Fink – Perfect Darkness. Time to drift away.

Apple and Spice Tealoaf
Makes 10 slices
175g butter, plus extra for greasing
175g light muscovado sugar, plus an extra tbsp. for sprinkling
3 large eggs, beaten
1 eating apple
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g dried mixed vine fruits
85g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
175g plain flour
1tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch salt
Splash lemon or orange juice
1 tbsp marmalade or apricot jam

Heat the over to 180C (160C fan). Butter a 900g/2lb loaf tin, or use a loaf tin liner (much easier). Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then beat in the eggs one by one. Grate half the apple and mix it into the batter along with the vanilla extract, dried fruit and ground almonds. Mix the baking powder, flour and spices together with a pinch of salt, lthen fold into the mix until even. Spoon into the tin and level the top.

Core and thinly slice the remaining apple half and toss with the lemon or orange juice. Push the apple slices into the batter, forming a line along the middle of the cake, and sprinkle with the extra tbsp of sugar.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 140C, cover the cake in foil and bake for another 45 minutes to an hour, until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin.

To finish the cake, melt the marmalade or jam in a small pan, sieve to remove any lumps, then brush over the cake to glaze the top.
Serve in thick slices. If you're northern, you could consider spreading the slices with butter. Alternatively, copious amounts of steaming hot tea.