Baking

Been Baking: Free From Earl Grey Fruit Loaf

A recent email from Dove’s Farm included a link to the recipe for an Earl Grey fruit loaf. I am a big fan of fruit loaves and tea breads, and pretty much any cake that involves tea or fruit or some combination of the two. I’m not however a fan of Earl Grey tea, we always have some in the cupboard for visiting family members who like it, but my personal taste is for a proper mug of builder’s tea. Reading the recipe I suspected that the Earl Grey flavour might end up balanced out by all of the fruit and the cake, I certainly hoped it would.

The cake was easy to make, unlike most of the tea breads I’ve made before the fruit only has to soak in the tea until the tea has gone cold, not overnight. I used a mixture of fruit including some chopped apricots and a couple of different mixed dried fruit mixes (it turned out this was the perfect cake to use up some ends of packs).

IMG_9338

The cake turned out really well. I’d seen that the reviews of the recipe on the website had recommended covering the top with foil to stop it getting too dark – this was good as it meant I was keeping a closer eye on it than I might have and did catch it and use foil just in time*.

The cake tastes delicious. That tell tale perfumey taste of Earl Grey isn’t obvious (thankfully), I assume that it just enhances the overall flavour of the cake. The recipe recommends chopping dried fruit like apricots into quarters, mine were pre-chopped into much smaller pieces and I think that next time I’d definitely go for chopping my own.

It is a free from cake. The recipe as it stands is free from both gluten and dairy, and it gives directions for a substitution for the egg that would then make it vegan. The day it was baked it was very crumbly, not uncommon for gluten free cake, but was much better all round the next day. It’s definitely the sort of cake that however tempting it might be, really should be left for 24 hours before eating to get the best from it.

I loved this cake. With the exception of the orange it’s baked entirely from ingredients I would always have in my cupboard so I think it’s probably one that will end up getting made on a not infrequent basis.

*The far end is, as you may have spotted, a little darker than I would have wanted. I’ve learned recently that one side of my oven is hotter than the other and this is the result.

Music

Everything’s a little better with Disney.

Today’s been a bit grim really hasn’t it, the world stage has been awful and rubbish for some time now, things at home haven’t been much better and now the calling of a snap general election just seems like such a worsening of affairs. I’m going to avoid the temptation to get political in this space, it’s something that matters to me a lot but I just don’t want it to seep in to here.

I mentioned last week that I’m still working out what does and doesn’t belong here, where my personal lines are going to be drawn for what I do and don’t include. One definite inclusion is always going to be Disney related videos, so here’s Alan Menken being brilliant.

Life

The value of an opinion.

I’ve been thinking about research today, mainly about how I go about it and the sort of information I value most. It’s come to mind because a chance encounter today has led me to start thinking seriously about a purchase I’ve been thinking casually about for a while.

I’m really not that great at big purchases. I’m okay at little purchases – books, Lego, treats for my friends’ boys – but bigger stuff, higher value stuff? That I’m not good at at all. I’m the sort of person who will research a purchase endlessly, seek as much information as I can, finally make an informed decision about what’s best to buy and then decide after all to not make the purchase because I might not be making the best choice. Eventually I’ll talk myself into it, I’ve never been disappointed yet, but the process is a slow one.

I’m at the stage at the moment of reading as much as I can. I’m drawing up a list of the things I need to know before I can make a decision, and starting to answer the questions. No matter how much I might read though, and thanks to my library degree my research skills are solid, I still find myself wanting to hear the opinions of actual people who I know and trust. No matter how much I might see something in black and white I still like to hear it from a living, breathing source. This feels pretty illogical to me, I know that the facts I can find are more reliable than personal opinions so why the latter means so much I’m not quite sure. In the short term I guess I’d better find some people to chat to while I’m trawling the Internet for facts so I can make a purchase decision this side of Christmas. 

Music

Tale as old as time.

I hope you’ve all had lovely Easters. My weekend has been lovely, lots of time spent with family plus time for crafting and of course eating chocolate!

I come today bearing a little musical treat. The very brilliant Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen from Nashville singing Beauty and the Beast. A slice of musical beauty to end the day with.

Geek Stuff

Welcome back.

Doctor Who has been one of my favourite things for quite a few years now. In the time I’ve been loving the show I’ve completed two degrees,  I’ve moved six times, I’ve changed career paths once or twice and through it all the Doctor has been a constant. My degree of love for the show has waxed and waned, but athere’s lways been something that’s kept me watching.

Tonight the show returned for a new series. I was really looking forward to it, both to see how it could continue to build from the previous series which I really enjoyed and also to see the introduction of new girl Bill, played by Pearl Mackie.


I’m not intending on saying anything specific about the episode, as I’m typing this it still hasn’t aired in most places. I really enjoyed it though, I’m so pleased with the way it’s only increased my anticipation for the rest of the series. And as for Bill? Well I think there may be an imminent reshuffle towards the top end of my list of companions ordered by how much I love them!

Films

Film fun.

I went this morning to see Fast and Furious 8. It’s one of my favourite film franchises, I love the way it’s grown and evolved over the years. This latest installment is exactly what I was expecting, it made me laugh, made me gasp, made me squee with fannish excitement and so much more.

The film fun carried on this afternoon when the teaser trailer (though can they really be considered a teaser trailer at over 2 minutes long?) for the newest Star Wars film was released.

Based on this I’m already excited and looking forward to a festive cinema trip!