Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Barm Brack

I don't have a clue what happens...but, it does.  Time just flies .... and no blogging happens.  Not to say no cooking and baking happens.... because it definitely does.  Even on the hottest days of summer it happens around here.  My neighbours think I'm nuts.... probably because I am.

So...golf season is over and none too soon.  My elbow is totally wrecked.  I can hardly lift a glass to my lips... it's very difficult to floss and brush and ...well, it just hurts all the time.  X-rays yesterday to make sure there is no bony involvement...and then...in a week.... begin some physio.  If that doesn't show immediate results..I have other treatments in mind.... we'll see how it goes in the next few weeks.
Won't be seeing this beautiful water treatment behind the 17th hole for a loooong time now.  Our next golf season won't open til April... and usually we don't get to play til closer to May..... sigh...

Meantime... seeing as I can't dig in the garden, or lift very much...I've been catching up on housework that got neglected over the summer...and doing some baking.  I love baking and it's so much fun to do.  I prefer it to housework of course...so I do it instead... oooooh.... bad me....bad me.  Although, I can dust while muffins are baking or toss in some loads of laundry before I even start to gather ingredients for biscotti or soups, etc....I could vacuum while a loaf bakes........ I could..........

The other day I made Barm Brack and have decided to share that loaf today... you'll have to hurry if you actually want to share a real piece...it's almost gone!  I've already gained back two of the eleven pounds I lost over the summer... marching around that golf course.  No time to eat while I'm out there.

Barm Brack is an Irish loaf... and you need to begin the night before to make it.  Raisins need to be soaked in tea overnight.  As usual, I make my own changes to the loaf, but initially, here is the recipe directly from the Company's Coming cookbook.

Barm Brack

1  cup cold leftover tea
1  cup raisins
1/2  cup peel
1/2  cup currants
1  cup granulated sugar
1  egg
1/4  cup melted butter
2  cups all purpose flour
1  tsp.  baking powder
1/4  tsp  baking soda
1/4  tsp salt (I never use it because I use salted butter)

Put tea in a large bowl along with raisins, peel, currants and sugar.  Let stand covered overnight.

Next morning, beat egg until frothy.  Stir into fruit mixture.  Stir melted butter into fruit.

Combine and stir the four remaining dry ingredients.  Add to fruit batter.  Stir until blended.  Spoon into greased loaf pan 9 X 5 X 3 inches (23 X 12 X7cm).

Bake in 350F (180C) oven for 60-70 minutes.  (Mine usually take a bit less... keep an eye on things) Cool 10 minutes. Turn out on rack to cool completely.

Options::::  I don't usually have peel or currants hanging around...so use two types of raisins and some dried cranberries. I don't bother with the exact measurements they give for the fruit ... it is too much for me .. I like less in my loaf...and also like to add some toasted chopped walnuts.  Into the tea and raisins I also grate some orange zest and a squeeze or two of the juice and add a tsp of vanilla.  This batter is very soft...almost pourable, but not quite..and makes a nice moist loaf.
Oh, ...and...almost forgot!  spices.  Stir a sprinkle, or a tiny dash into the flour.  I like some cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg and ginger.... but, do be careful with the amounts if you are not used to using spices.... a little can go a long way... it's nice to have a hint of flavour rather than have it overpowering.  In my loaf...it's almost difficult to make out what the spices actually are ...but, you know it's that certain 'something' that gives it more appeal if you know what I mean.