Why am I writing about cooking?
No, I have not decided to become a food blogger (and you will soon see why). I have however, made a commitment to myself to write at least one post a week. Today’s my writing day (if not before), so if there is to be a post, it better be written today.
But I haven’t been very focused. I’ve been jumping between topics. I’ve got about fifteen thousand different things I want to write about (or possibly five? It feels like the same thing). Anyway, far too many topics to cover in one go, and I haven’t managed to get to a clear outcome on any of them. I also had a hankering to cook something for the kids’ lunches tomorrow. So I thought – why not combine the two, as follows:
- Make the fruit loaf
- Write about it
- Ask for suggestions about super easy and yummy recipes (because super easy and yummy is not always easy to think about)?
Even better, by sharing this recipe, I’ll be able to send it to my sister in law, and cross off a task that’s been on my list for months. How efficient! I love it when I can tick off three or four things at once.
Cooking and me
Just so you know, I’m not the cook of this household. Luckily, I married someone who is much better than me, and although 16 years of marriage, 10 of them with children, may have dented his cooking enthusiasm, I’m quite happy for him to remain head chef. It’s partly because I am not a great cook, especially since becoming a parent (there is always someone distracting me – that’s my excuse, anyway). But, periodically, I feel a sort of obligation to cook something. I’m not sure why – possibly I’ve got this idea in my mind that as a mother, I should do this every once in a while, because that’s what mothers should do. I won’t overanalyse it – sufficient to say, today was a cooking day.
When I do cook, it has to be something pretty straightforward. I love a simple recipe, and this one fits the bill. A colleague at work some years ago gave me the recipe, and I can’t credit the person who developed the recipe (other than to say she was described to me as the New Zealand equivalent to Margaret Fulton, for those of you who remember the Australian doyen of cooking in the 1970s and ’80s). If anyone knows who she might be, I’d be grateful to credit her with this recipe.
Enough with the background – the recipe, please!
So without further ado, I present – a Boiled Fruit Cake.
This is made in one saucepan and poured into a loaf tin. No eggs (so no creaming with butter) – and takes only about 10 mins plus time in the oven. What could be easier?
You will need:
- 1 cup hot water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup of sultanas (although I use dried mixed fruit, because I’m a bit rebellious like that)
- 25g butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1tsp ground cloves
- 1&1/2 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp backing soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
Then to make, it’s just the following steps:
1. Place water, sugar, sultanas (or dried fruit) and butter in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then simmer (uncovered) for 5 mins
2. Stand the pan in cold water to cool to room temperature, and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper while you wait.
3. Sift remaining ingredients into the cooled fruit mixture. Stir only enough to blend ingredients (over mixing can make it tough and cause uneven rising).
4. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius (or a bit less, if you have a hot oven – I find 160 is generally enough) for 45-60 mins (again, no more than 50 mins in mine), until a skewer pushed through the centre comes out clean.
Out of the oven at 7.15, just before I head out for the evening ..
And that’s it! (and half of it is just helpful tips, like how to test when it’s ready). And the best bit? It tastes better the next day (so ideal for lunches).
You can see why I love this – pretty much fail safe. I’d love to add to my repertoire of food that an absent minded mother with very little patience could make (I have a few more, but I’m getting a little tired of them)
So how about you? Do you have any ‘go to’ recipes for when you feel like cooking, but don’t actually enjoy it? Please share!