March 26, 2013 by thepolishedbutton
Sorry for being a bit quiet of late – between working on the new website and life generally being busy, I’ve neglected my dear old blog.
After yet another load of snow, I am well and truly sick of the sight of the white stuff, and am itching to get out into the garden, which needs loads of work this year.
However, on the plus side, we had a new fireplace fitted recently – when we moved in to this house there was a rather ‘unique’ combination of old wall mounted gas fire, surrounded by white amrble with an extremely ornate mantle piece round it. The fire was condemned and the mantlepiece certainly should have been, so we lived with the resulting hole in the wall covered by a bookcase, which was framed beautifully with the marble….
Finally we have had the new fireplace installed, and I must say I LOVE it. We ummed and ahhed about having a real fire put in, but with a toddler, 2 cats and not a massive pre-disposition to dusting, it was an awful lot easier to forgo the coal and ash for a nice on and off switch. Still pretty cosy though!
So of course with the cold weather putting a dampener on any outdoor activity, I have resorted to the only decent thing to fill the time…baking!
After a failed attempt at hot cross buns (apparently, yeast which is dated 2011 does not work so well…) today’s far more successful effort was spiced fruit bread. The toddler made her own little batch, and it was a doddle to do – especially as the fire helped with the proving process!
I am very happy to report that this was extremely tasty, particularly warm from the oven and smothered in a salty butter, with the official toddler stamp of approval too (although she wouldn’t let me refer to it as bread – ‘it’s cake mummy’.)
All that remains is a nice cup of tea to make for a perfect cosy afternoon in, in front of the fire!
(My marvellous mug was a Christmas present, but you can get them from Merchant & Mills.)
Spiced Fruit Bread Recipe
150g Mixed Dried Fruit
4 tbsp rum or black tea
560g white bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1.2 teaspoon mixed spice
3 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp easy-blend yeast (or 2 x 7 g packets)
300ml luke warm water
2 tbsp melted butter or sunflower oil
2 tbsp caster sugar
1. Soak mixed fruit in rum/tea for about 1 hour. Drain.
2. Sift flour, salt and spice. Add the sugar and mix. Add yeast. Add fruit, water and butter/oil and mix to form a dough.
3. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Shape into a roll to fit a lightly greased 9″ loaf tin.
4. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C/gas mark 4 for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
5. For the glaze: heat water and sugar over a moderate heat until sugar has dissolved and brush over hot bread. Leave to cool.