Sunday, 19 March 2006

Tea Loaf. A sight for my sore eye.

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Yes, I have a swollen eye. The swelling began late last nite while i was watching 'The Forgotten' on HBO. One, I'm a movie junkie. Two, I'm a night owl. Like one of my pals at work, I come alive at nite and I'm a bear till say 10 in the morning. So getting a swelling in my left eye really made me grumpy. It isn't particularly fashionable to walk around looking like a frog you know. And my frustration with a particular organisation's inefficiency (some may know exactly what i'm talkin bout!) didn't help to up my mood at all. Alas, the only way to make me feel better was to whip something up in the kitchen. This tea loaf was a very easy recipe, with minimal prep work or ingredients. And what I liked better about it was that it was EGGLESS! Cool. Real cool.
In addition, it tasted real grandmaish, like some ol' traditional homemade recipe passed down from daughter to daughter. It was moist and crumbly and wasn't overly sweet but humbly pleasant in it's wealth of flavours from the spice. One plus point too was it was so easy to turn out the loaf, it practically fell out when I overturned it! It's definitely a keeper and I'll continue to use and modify it, the only set back for me was that it was a little fragile and cracked easily upon slicing or handling.
This one's a princess. Handle with care and GREAT LOVE.

The recipe below is the original. I've put notes in italics of my own modification.
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Tea Loaf (by Sue Lawrence one again. O i do love her)
3/4 cup light muscovado sugar
1 cup sultanas
1 cup currants --*I used dried cranberries for both the tangy taste and colour. Mom taught me that food wasn't just done for eating but for admiring. Presentation is half the battle.
125g unsalted butter
2 tsp mixed spice --*used 1 tsp ground cinnamon & 1/2 - 1 tsp ground cloves
2 scant cups self-raising flour

Place sugar, sultanas, currants, butter and mixed spice in heavy pan with 1 cup cold water.
Heat gently until butter is melted, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 180dCelsius.
Once sugar mixture is cold (or at least at rtp), sift in flour and pinch of salt. Combine well with a spoon.
Tip into greased loaf tin, level surface. --*I added dark chocolate chips over the top for prettiness and taste. For something with more spunk and a sexier effect on your taste buds, throw in a quarter cup dark chocolate chunks/morsels/chips. "It really works."
Bake for 58min-1hr.

If you're wondering about the quote above, I'm actually quoting a Russian customer of mine whom I met a couple of days ago. He's wonderfully funny and I was thoroughly entertained. His wife was really craving chocolate and while she went to the supermarket, he'd come by to get a cake for her. We started debating about dark chocolate and the later creation of milk chocolate & white chocolate. The Russians apparently have a special Russian chocolate that is a dark chocolate basically, so dark it's very bitter and it's bitterness is eased with a little sprinkling of sugar. One thing good about this is that you really feel the effect of the cacao without all the distractions of the milk, cream and sugar. The Russians love this dark chocolate because it does somethng with the endorphines bit and it also enhances desire. Thus, people label chocolate as the perfect aphrodisiac. Well, my customer had a very comical face and he was going on and on about how the Europeans came up with the milk chocolate and told the Russians that this new breed of chocolate tasted much better, it's only shortcoming being that it "doesn't work". And to get a taste of what true Russian chocolate is like (unfortunately Singapore doesn't import Russian chocolate), he suggested ROYCE's dark chocolate. Now, he's really got my interest piqued! And though he did say eat it with my boyfriend because "It really works!", I will have to deviate from his instructions because you know why and have the ultimate pleasure of enjoying his substitute Russian chocolate very soon.


johan said...

what's muscovado sugar?

diva. said...

it's a brown coloured sugar, if you can't find it, use light brown sugar.

mel said...

pics, dav, i want the pics!!! :D