Saturday, September 24, 2011

Downton Abbey - My must watch tv drama for the winter

Did you watch Downton Abbey last winter ?  I did with my hubby and loved it. All the ladies in my family love period dramas. We love the fabrics, fashion,  houses, gardens, table settings, flower displays etc. I could go on and on. Hubby and I had just popped over to the Peak Districk last year for a long weekend. We spent the weekend visiting Chatsworth House and the surrounding little villages (I also managed to meet up with some lovely Papertey Ink fans and spend some time crafting with them in Sheffield ). We stayed here April Cottage Having our tea on the Sunday night in a little pub in this tiny village we struck up a conversation with the locals as you do. We mentioned that we had to pop out early as I wanted to catch the next episode of Downton Abbey. The landlord laughed and said so was everyone else. Sure enough as we were getting up to go,  all the hardy farmers at the bar were taking their leave !  The drama was a huge success and promises to be again this winter.  I record the programme when I watch it on a Sunday evening and then play it again during the week to making ironing a little more enjoyable  !

With Downton Abbey on my mind I took down my fancy china to photo the last remaining slices of Irish Tea Brack.  Mmmmm that was a nice cup of tea. It always tastes nicer in a nice cup and saucer than a plain mug to me.



1½ cups12 fl oz330mlCold Irish or English Breakfast tea -strong tea (one tea bag for gift jar)
2 cups9oz270gPlain or all purpose flour
½ cup4oz80gSoft brown sugar
3 cups1lb350gMixed raisins & sultanas
½ teaspoon1 level teaspoonBread soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)
½ teaspoon1 level teaspoonMixed Spice or allspice
1 teaspoon1 heaped teaspoonGrated lemon rind (optional)

I used dried mixed fruit which contained  raisins, sultanas and chopped candied peel instead . I also used two eggs as they were small.  You will need a 2lb loaf tin or a deep 7″ round tin for the above recipe. For the gift pack I made  I used half the quantity so I will it will say on instructions to use a 1 lb loaf tin. The loaf slices easier but the round version is probably more traditional.


Make a strong cup of tea with the tea bag. Put the tea, sugar, lemon rind and dried fruit in a bowl. Stir well, then cover and leave to soak overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC/Gas Mark 4) and grease the loaf tin with a little butter. Beat the egg and mix it thoroughly with the fruit. Sieve the flour, spices and bread soda together and stir well into the fruit mixture.

Turn the batter into the tin, place in the oven and bake for 90 minutes. Allow the brack to cool for about 20 minutes in the tin before turning it out to cool on a wire rack.  It taste delicious hot, straight from the oven but it is even nicer two days later. That is if it lasts that long.

This has to be the easiest cake to bake. It really is so simple. 

Happy Baking.

1 comment:

  1. I am also a Downton Abbey fan I told my daughter she had to switch off her phone or leave the room she wasn't impressed (the bloody thing buzzes every ten seconds) I also tape it and watch it again during the week. I will expect to see that lovely china the next time you come to the AFL and your poshest accent :)
    ps where did you get the jars for the tea bracks?


Thank you so much for your kind comment.


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