I always look forward to a cup of tea or coffee of an afternoon, especially if there’s something home-made to have with it! More often than not I prefer something that isn’t creamy, chocolatey or too sweet and this walnut loaf always hits the spot. There’s something about the old fashioned taste and texture of this loaf that’s very comforting. The other advantage is it’s super easy to whip up. You don’t need to drag out the stand mixer or even soften any butter. Whilst you can certainly eat this the day you make it, I think it tastes better as it ages and you can keep it for a good 5 days without it going stale. It’s lovely plain but also very good spread with butter.
1 generous cup coarsely chopped dates
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 cup strong black boiling tea
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups self raising flour
3/4 cup roughly chopped walnut pieces
Place coursely chopped dates in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with baking soda and cover with boiling-hot black tea. Set aside for 1 hour for dates to soften and cool.
Heat oven to 160C. Grease and line a standard loaf tin with baking paper. Stir brown sugar, egg, butter and vanilla into the cooled date mixture. Add the sifted flour and walnuts and stir until just combined. Spoon mixture into prepared loaf tin. Bake for 1 hour or until loaf tests cooked when a skewer inserted comes out clean.