Friday 24 December 2010

Cherry Plum Gin–a homemade Christmas

Left it too late to get to the shops? If you’re anything like me, you’ll have used the snow as an excuse to stay in, keep warm in front of the fire and eat comfort food. What you won’t have done is brave the elements to finish the Christmas shopping. What I did do, several months ago however, was use the last of the cherry plums from the garden and pop them in a jar with some gin and sugar to make Cherry Plum Gin. At the time, it seemed the day would never arrive where I could actually open it again to see if it had worked, but that time has come. It’s not as sweet as I’d thought it would be, but the little sourness is actually quite nice, and I could always add more sugar if needed.


Usually, the girls and myself agree not to ‘do’ presents, but go out somewhere together instead. This year it was all planned, but we really couldn’t be bothered by the time the date came, so instead, I decanted the gin and gave a small present to each: perfect!

And it really is Christmassy, especially the colour!

Tuesday 21 December 2010

The Snow Day Bake-Off: Banana and Walnut Tea bread




I was recently invited to join Julia Parsons’ event, and since we’ve had many snow days, have regularly made this very easy and delicious tea-bread. It does taste best straight from the oven smeared with butter, but is equally as good a day later with a nice cup of tea. And it’s easy to make.


3oz butter

6oz sugar

1lb bananas

2 eggs

7oz self raising flour

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp salt

4oz walnuts


Combine the butter and sugar until soft and creamy.

Mash the bananas and add to the butter mixture.

Beat the eggs and add gradually, stirring thoroughly every time. It will curdle at this stage if your bananas were quite runny! Don’t worry.

Stir in the walnuts, then the flour, bicarb. and salt until just combined.

Tip into a well buttered loaf tin, lined with greaseproof paper.

Put into an oven at about 165 oC for about an hour. If if starts to brown too much on top, cover with foil. After an hour, turn the oven up to 180oC and leave in for another 15 minutes.

Turn out onto a wire cooling tray and see if you can resist until cooled!


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