Vintage Blue and White on Sepia Sunday:
Farmhouse “Teacup” Spiced Fruit Loaf Recipe
It’s Sunday, a day of baking and relaxing by the fire, well it IS a cold spring day! And, I have been washing some of my “food photography props” that I have arranged on an old dresser, as they get so dusty with a log fire going nearly 24 hours a day. As I washed them (by hand) I thought that it would be nice to feature certain pieces alongside my Sunday recipe of Farmhouse “Teacup” Spiced Fruit Loaf, which, is a real “Sepia Sunday” recipe, as it is about 100 years old. I do post a popular “Sepia Saturday” series, where I bake something from my large collection of “Be-Ro” cookbooks, but, it’s not Saturday and this recipe is not from one of the little Be-Ro cookbooks! I cannot think of a nicer recipe to share with all my readers this Sunday than this easy, and old-fashioned spiced fruit loaf. The recipe was given to my grandmother, when she lived in rural Northumberland, by a local farmer’s wife, and it has been in the family ever since.
This is a real vintage post in all respects, recipe and china; the blue and white china “trio” set that I have used and featured in my photos is “Booths Real Old Willow” and is one of my favourite sets. I say set, I don’t have the full tea set – I have two of the trio sets, which, is a teacup, saucer and cake plate; I also have a teapots, a toast rack, a cream jug and an egg cup (in the solo!), but, there is enough of it to enjoy for breakfast for the two of us – even if we have to share an egg cup! I love all blue and white china, and this particular Old Willow pattern is more refined than others, with pretty gilded gold edging on all of the pieces.
This is a low-fat tea loaf, made with a teacup of hot tea, which is very popular in fruited cakes and bread recipes; like an Irish Brack recipe. It has the zest from an orange added, some mixed spice and is studded with plump dried fruit and peel. Some “tea” loaf recipes that use hot tea have not fat content added, but this is all the better for the scant amount that is added (25g/1 oz) as it makes it moist, and it doesn’t go too dry the longer it is left. It is FABULOUS when served with a liberal amount of butter, and a piece of crumbly Wensleydale cheese, a classic combination.
I hope that you try the recipe, which I have posted below, and do let me know if you bake it. I made mine yesterday and as soon as it was cold I popped it into an airtight tin, as so often happens with these types of tea loaves, it gets better as it ages – if only I did too! Do adjust the fruit to your personal requirement, such as omitting the peel if you are not peel lovers, as well as leaving out the mixed spice – I think the recipe is perfect just the way it is, but, I love the fact that we can all make even the oldest recipes “our own”, and I often have a tinker and a tweak with recipes when I bake! Have a lovely (and warm) Sunday and I’ll see you tomorrow with a new 5:2 recipe and a weekly meal plan. Karen