We’re now getting to that time of year when the house smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger etc., nights are getting longer (and electricity and gas bills are getting correspondingly bigger), and your salad drawer looks a bit forlorn as you turn your attention to the delights of traditional winter comfort foods. Yes, I said ‘comfort foods’ don’t look at me like I said a bad word. ‘Comfort eating’ is something quite different and is usually frowned on – take it to extreme and those pounds will take up squatters rights and I’ll be the first to glare over my spectacles and shake an admonishing finger at you. And before you say it, I know I’ve got a cheek to talk. But comfort foods? Foods that can transport you to childhood memories, that you can sink into from the first mouthful and revel in, like the culinary equivalent of a 15tog duvet? Hell, I’m all for that.
So, the first one is a boiled fruitcake. Hmm, not quite GBBO for you? What it lacks in patisserie perfection it more than makes up for with spicy sumptuousness. Add a cup of tea to a slice of this cake, a roaring fireplace, and a significant other, and I’d dare anyone to be disappointed.
- 220g luxury mixed fruit
- 75g butter or soft margarine
- 110g soft brown sugar
- 225g plain flour
- 0.25 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- 0.5 mixed spice
- 1 tbsp honey, to glaze
Line a 2lb (900g) loaf tin with silicone paper, and pre-heat your oven to 180C
Put the mixed fruit, butter and brown sugar into a saucepan with 150ml of water and bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Leave it to cool.
Sieve the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into a bowl. Once the fruit mixture has cooled, dissolve the bicarb in a tablespoon of water and add it to the fruit. Pour the sloppy fruit mix into the dry flour and mix thoroughly, but don’t beat it as it will make the final cake heavy. Work quickly though, as the idea is that the gas released from the bicarb helps the raising of the cake.
Pour it into the cake tin and bake for 1hr – 1hr 15 min. 10 minutes after it comes out spread the honey over the top to give it a nice glaze then leave it to cool in the tin.
Enjoy. Oh, and if you use a Vegan marg like Vitalite and leave off the honey, it’s even Vegan as there’s no eggs in it.