“…by the way,” said next eldest sister as we wrapped up our telephone consultation about Kitty’s earache, “my friend Sarah says that she reads your blog. So it’ll now be spreading like wildfire through St Thomas’s prep school in Fulham.”
And I like to encourage these things so I thought I would do a special post to say:
(now you all stick your hands in the air and scream)
I must say I don’t really understand West London. That’s not to say I don’t like it, I just don’t understand it. Whenever I go there I always seem to end up at the wrong end of a very long road lined with identical houses, stopping shaggy-haired Sloanes to ask for directions.
I am assured by people who know these things that people who live in West London live there partly because they have houses in the countryside in a westerly direction and living so close to the M40 makes making a break for it on a Friday less hellish.
It is probably prejudiced of me to assume that everyone living in West London is a shaggy-haired Sloane who disappears to Gloucestershire from Friday-Sunday every week, but this blog is nothing if not a collection of sloppily-applied prejudices. If you disagree with me, feel free to express yourself in the comments section.
But I really do think that my new reader(s) might appreciate this recipe for Dundee cake
, which is the technical term for the fruitcake that my mother has been making once a week for the last 20 years. It is very light and crumbly and popular with most children. It also keeps very well, so handy to make on a Thursday and take to the countryside for the weekend. You know. Just if you happen to be going.
Pre-heat your oven to 150C.
For this you need an 18-20cm tin. This is important. I used a tin that was far too large and the cake came out quite flat and therefore slightly overcooked (although still delicious). So do, please, source a correctly-sized tin – or double the quantities for a larger tin. If you grease and line your tin, you will make your life considerably easier for yourself along the line.
200g self-raising flour
140g caster sugar
1 cup glace cherries
500g mixed dried fruit – this can be anything you like, raisins, currants, mixed peel, chopped apricots and dates. Go wild.
1 Cream the butter and the sugar together.
2 Separately whisk the eggs and then add to the butter and sugar in short bursts. I have never managed not to curdle this and neither, my mother tells me unapologetically, has she. So if it curdles don’t worry.
3 Fold in the flour with a metal spoon.
4 Tip in the mixed dried fruit and glace cherries, stir to combine. As with any cake, only stir until the ingredient is reasonably evenly distributed and then stop so as to ensure a light and crumbly texture
5 Put this into your appropriately-sized tin.
6 Now put this in your 150C oven for 2 hours. If you, y’know, happened to have an Aga, you can cook it in the simmering oven for 2.5hrs. I know that seems like a long time but that’s the way with some kinds of cake.
7 This is very nice on its own, or it is extra-terrific with a lemon icing, made with sieved icing sugar (the sieving is very important) and the juice of one lemon.
Eat with a cup of tea while making a list of all the shite you need to pack up for the weekend, idly wondering if two houses is really worth all the bloody hassle.