As you're by now probably aware, I am alllllll about baking for gifts. Not only is it recessionista friendly, it also just shows you've put a little time and effort into a gift.
Last weekend, it was this loaf. It's called Fruit Tea Loaf and it's from Nigella Lawson's Feast. It's likely (if you have some dried fruit around) that you'll have all the ingredients already in your cupboard. It's dairy free, containing only an egg to bind together the tea-soaked fruit, the flour and the spices. Nigella's calls for ground cloves, and Hungry and Frozen says she used cinnamon - I changed things up by using some beautiful mixed spice my friend bought me from Gewürzhaus in Melbourne.
It is ridiculously easy. I didn't soak the fruit overnight (I gave it a couple of hours then blasted it in the microwave) but that didn't seem to matter. It smells divine, and from the recipient of this one: "it was just about the best loaf I've ever had". High praise coming from someone whose talent in the kitchen is a constant inspiration. I assisted my flatmate in making one on Sunday for his work morning tea; we added dried cranberries to the dates and sultanas, and whilst it didn't get the paper and ribbon treatment, apparently it too went down a treat.
In other news my Saturday was spectacularly brightened by my friend Ed whose been selling Martinborough Peonies at the Hill St Farmers' Market in Thorndon. Last week he'd sold out while we had a coffee, so he bundled me up the dregs they deemed not worth selling in newspaper and I left one happy girl. Strangers on the street smiled at me just from seeing them. Something about these flowers people just adore - maybe it's their cruelly short season, or the way they bloom to quadruple in size, or their beautiful smell, or the amazing colours which change with time. Whatever the reason, mine lasted a week and were just divine. Happy Saturday x