Thursday, 15 March 2012

Kathleen’s top bake for St Patrick’s Day

 Kathleen’s Apple and Nut Tea Loaf
It's St Patrick’s Day on 17 March and I've had the luck of the Irish with this family favourite Irish recipe. Maria, my saxaphone friend, had contacted her sister, Patricia, the cook in the family and she sent this delicious recipe for Apple and Nut Tea Loaf.  Demerara sugar sprinkled on the top before baking, gives it a lovely crunchy topping.
                   Kathleen’s Apple and Nut Tea  Loaf                     
225g/8oz self raising flour
110g/4 oz butter
1 cooking apple
50g/2oz sultanas
50g/2oz chopped nuts
110g/4 oz caster sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
2 eggs
1 tbsp demerara sugar (for the topping)
Pre heat the oven to 170 degrees Centigrade/ Mark 3, 325F. Rub the butter into the flour until it ressembles breadcrumbs. Peel and chop the apple into small pieces. Add the apple, sultanas, nuts, sugar and spice to mixture. Add 2 eggs, well beaten, and stir well. Pour into a 1 kg/2lb greased loaf tin and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Bake for about 1 hour.
Grandma Abson's tips : Use a teaspoonful of cinnamon as well as the mixed spice for this recipe. If you use an eating apple rather than a cooking apple, you can easily reduce the amount of sugar and so ‘be sweet without the sugar.

Patricia sent me this lovely message : 
“My name is Patricia and I am Maria's sister. She has been raving about you and Grandma’s baking. She mentioned you were looking for a special Irish baking recipe for St Patrick's Day. The things I can remember being made are Apple tart or Apple crumble.  People were poor and money was very scarce so I think they concentrated on main courses for dinners, savoury foods and breads. Growing up in the 1970s and 80s through the troubles was very challenging for our Mum. She was a fine cook although she wasn't confident. She always made an effort to celebrate certain occasions.  For St Patrick's Day, she set a green jelly. Later she prepared an orange or a yellow jelly and when it was cooled and starting to set she poured it on top of the green jelly. Angel delight was whipped up and that was our Irish special dessert. Mammy loved a Knickerbocker glory when on a trip to the sea side. I'm starting to think of a green yellow and orange Knickerbocker glory style dessert with green grapes, kiwis, mango, pineapple and mandarin orange. Our children would have fun making and eating that!  Anyway – here’s a recipe I did find from our Mammy’s collection. Kathleen was actually a friend of hers”
Thanks to Patricia and Maria for this wonderful story and recipe. If you have a recipe to share, please send it on to me to share.

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