Bob’s Favorite cake at Halloween: Barmbrack

This is a pretty foolproof cake to make and we love it in our house

barmbrack

Ingredients

  • 375 g (13oz) packet of mixed dried fruit
  • 250 ml (9fl oz) cold tea
  • butter, for greasing
  • 225 g (8oz) plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 125 g (4½oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 large egg
  • a ring, to place inside (optional)

Method

  • Place the mixed dried fruit in a bowl and pour over the cold tea. Allow to soak overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F/Gas 3). Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and mixed spice in a mixing bowl. Make a well and break in the egg, then use a wooden spoon to mix it with the dry ingredients. Add a little bit of the liquid from the mixed fruit and mix it through. You may not need all the liquid,but the mixture should be wet rather than dry.
  • Stir in the mixed fruit until everything is thoroughly combined. Add the ring and stir through. Spoon the wet dough into the lined loaf tin, place on the middle shelf in the oven and bake for 1 hour.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the loaf tin and placing on wire rack.
  • This is the tricky bit; Cover in cling film and foil and allow to sit for 1–2 days before cutting into it.
  • But in our house it is eaten as soon as it is cold enough to put butter on it.
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The Trouble With Trees

Breeze loved to sit in trees.

It was generally regarded by those who believed they knew Ogres, that Ogres hated trees, but he was the exception to the rule. The bonus for sitting in trees was; he could spy on his neighbors.

It was Monday afternoon. Breeze climbed his favourite tree in the forest and almost crashed to the ground. His favourite branch was bent at an ninty degree angle which meant he could not sit on it.

He grinned, then said, “I could use it as a slide.” And he did.

On his third slide to the ground, he let out a tremendous roar of ‘Wheeeeee.’

The female voice that roared back was not tiny or polite. When she had his attention, Fairy Tulip declared,

“You sank an entire batch of fairy cakes so you can come to the party and explain why they look like pancakes.”  Her foot was tapping the air as her wings flapped close to his nose.”Stop scowling at me. You thundering big oaf.”

“Ogre” he corrected her. “I’m a thundering big Ogre.”

Her answer surprised him.

She laughed, so hard she tumbled upwards until she was level with his eyes. “Well for a TBO you have surprisingly nice eyes.”

They went to the party together.

Days passed before Tulip met Breeze. “I have an order for two hundred cakes. Come to the tree at two o clock, I will sit with you to protect the slide and my cakes.”

He scratched his head. “Ok,  if you bring a large fairy cake for me.”

Tulip said “Yes.”

At two o’clock he saw her struggling with a huge package. She said, “I couldn’t carry the cake up to the branch but you could.”

He climbed to the branch below his favourite one, in case he was tempted to slide.

“This cake is huge.” He said.

“Don’t worry I’ll help.”

They sat for a long time eating and talking.

It was late when Tulip said, “this is odd,  we are sitting high in the sky and we are sinking instead of the sun.”

“That can’t be right.” Breeze said and finished the last of the giant cake.

Tulip looked down and smiled. She said. “Getting back on the ground is usually a long flight for me. But watch.”

With a flick of her wings she took a step and landed on the ground. Breeze stood up and walked after her. Together they looked at the tree. Instead of one branch bent towards the ground now there was two branches bent over like steps on stairs.

Breeze smiled at her. “Tulip you have solved the mystery. Thank you.”

“You are very welcome, but perhaps you should stop eating fairy cakes for the next few weeks.”

Together they strolled off into the forest.

 

This story was inspired by pictures on miartedoris.wordpress.com site.