When time jumps back…

bob pmpkin 1It is the time of year when every Irish person tries to be optimistic. The clock goes back on Saturday 29th October which means we get a brighter morning for a few weeks and a darker evening. When this happens Bob takes to the indoors, and tries to hide from fireworks and costumes.

Ellie hovers about waiting for a phone call to go training or to work.ipp

And as Irish people try not to dwell on the darkness which lingers so we look to Christmas.

Except me. I hate to admit it I am becoming a bah humbug sort of person. It is only one day but already the Irish companies are pushing for buying, tinsel, food, drink, more gadgets and most of us give in and go with the flow. But we have changed the glitz and glamour of it in this house a bit and we try to focus on friends and family. We were very lucky to be included in a Christmas barbeque breakfast, given by friends on the last few Christmas mornings and this means that the dinner is a somewhat haphazard lengthy affair (as the cook is a little tipsy) but it usually adds to the atmosphere as everyone is in such good humour.  On the last two Christmas’ day’s we have had our parents come over for dinner. And this year we look forward to it once more so our planning is all around food.

If anyone has any great ideas for starters or deserts please send them this way.

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.