Tuesday, 15 March 2011
March. Our new favourite month in our wonderful new house. Did I say house? I meant home. It is already a home to all three of us. Only four boxes sit untouched in the study waiting to be unpacked. M has taken to the new house like a duck to water, which is just as well really, considering we are only a few minutes walk from the duckpond, her new favourite haunt.
Curtains are up, books are on their shelves and pictures hang proudly on the walls.
You know I'm not kidding when I confess that the kitchen was the first room to be unpacked. I've at last got an eye level oven with glass doors. But if anything I've been watching the contents of the oven more than ever. M likes to pull a chair through from the dining room and clamber up to watch me cook.
L is enjoying building fires on our new multifuel burner and sitting with his book in his chair. The cat has already found some spots warmed by sunbeams to spend her lazy afternoons.
We are all happy here.
Plenty of friends have appeared on our new front door, eager to see the house that almost got away from us. We are more than happy to show them around and this weekend, for anyone who popped over, a cup of tea and a slice of some Irish Tea Bread were included as post-tour refreshments.
Irish Tea Bread (adapted from Delia Smith's How to Cook Book One)
150g demerara sugar
100g soft light brown sugar
275g hot Lady Grey Tea made using two teabags
100g pecan nuts
1 large egg at room temperature, beaten with 2tbsp water
400g self raising flour
50g wholegrain spelt flour
Begin this the evening before by placing all the fruits, including the candied peel, in a bowl, then dissolve the sugar in the hot tea, pour this over the fruits, cover the bowl and leave it overnight so the fruits become plump and juicy.
The next day, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C), then place the nuts on a baking sheet and pop them into the oven for 5 minutes (use a timer, as they burn easily). Then, when they're cool, roughly chop them.
Line two 1lb loaf tins with greaseproof paper.
Next, add the beaten egg mixture to the bowl containing the fruits.
Then sift in the flours, add the toasted nuts and give everything a really good mixing.
Now divide the mixture between the prepared loaf tins and bake them in the centre of the oven for 1¼-1½ hours, until they feel springy in the centre.
Then straight away, loosen them with a palette knife and turn them out on to a wire rack to cool. Then have patience – it won't be long before you can taste some.
This tea bread lasted four days and was brilliant spread with lots of unsalted butter.