07 February, 2012

Wales v Ireland

In terms of sporting loyalty, I had a tough weekend. Here... I'll try to explain:
How does a Welsh girl born to an Irish mother make the right decision in choosing which team to support when the most exciting match of the
RBS Six Nations kicked off on Sunday?

Image found {via}
 I'll admit I'm not much of a sports watcher (I leave that up to my Mr. Emma) but when it comes to the Six Nations, I love it! But the Wales v Ireland thing has always been a source of debate growing up in in our house. Am I more Welsh because I was born in Wales, or am I more Irish because of my Mum? Oh, I don't know. What I do know is... they both put on a good show!

Much to my Mum's horror I declared I was supporting Wales. I could hear the disappointment in her voice - I wonder, can one be too old to be put up for adoption?

Anyhoo, to keep in with the Welsh theme, my weekend baking should've included some old favourites such as Bara Brith or a few little Welsh Cakes. But that would be too obvious, and I'm afraid I don't work like that. I have this terrible condition where my belly takes over everything. So, once my gut had literally spoken, a Spiced Date and Walnut Loaf it had to be.

Trying to stop myself inhaling the hot-out-of-the-oven cake was truly one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, with the exception of having to wait a whole day before I could eat it, of course.

The delicately spiced sponge was studded with pieces of crunchy walnut and moist dates, and the top was lovely and sticky. I substituted the ground mixed spice for some ground allspice for no other reason than I didn't have any to hand. 

It was not as moist as I'd anticipated and could perhaps have benefited from being taken out of the oven sooner than the recipe asks (I checked it after 1 hr 20 mins and the oven was set at about 140°C) but the cake was delicious and was improved greatly with a steaming hot mug of tea and a triumphant Welsh win!

Spiced Date and Walnut Loaf
The Delia Collection: Baking
Delia Smith

4oz (110g) pitted dates
2oz (50g) walnuts
4oz (110g) butter
2oz (50g) black treacle
6oz (175g) golden syrup
5fl oz (150ml) milk
2 large eggs
8oz (225g) plain flour
1 tsp ground mixed spice
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pre-heat the oven to 150°C
Lightly grease a 2lb loaf tin

Chop the walnuts and dates into small pieces and set aside.

Place the butter, treacle and syrup in a saucepan and melt slowly over a gentle heat. Once melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then add the milk. Beat the eggs and add these to the mixture.

Sieve the flour, spices and bicarb into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour the syrup mixture into it. Whisk on a slow speed until you have a smooth batter. Fold in the walnuts and the dates, and pour into the prepared tin.

Place the cake in the centre shelf of the oven and cook for about 1 ½ hours. Once done it will have a rounded and slightly cracked top. Allow it to cool in the tin for about half an hour before turning out onto a wire rack then once cold, keep in an airtight container. The cake will improve with age so try, if you can, to not eat it straight away.

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