I’m back with a wonderful recipe for you today which comes all the way from rural Wales. I’m fortunate enough that my mother has some wonderful farmer friends who introduced her to this lovely recipe and boy what a lovely recipe it is!
Before we get stuck in, I want to share with you two funny stories that go with today’s post.
I really wanted to make some Bara Brith and photograph it for you all. I haven’t eaten Bara Brith in about 7 months now and I kind of have a craving for it. I asked Matt to pick me up some soft brown sugar yesterday so that I could get cooking and..
Yep, he’d forgotten it, and you know what happens around here lovelies, a task master like me couldn’t let his crimes go unpunished 😉
So last night and before dinner, I streamed my phone to the Chromecast on the TV and I made Matt pick out the image he most liked, the one that really made him hungry for Bara Brith. Cruel? Me? Maybe just a little bit 😉
When I was younger, I used to go on camping rallies with the Civil Service Motoring Association and we particularly used to stay in south Wales. One year we took a trip to Port Talbot with the Gwent (welsh) group, all was going well.
We used to go with the Gwent group so often because the banter was there, and in particular some not-too-gentle patriotic ribbing. Welsh flags got substituted for English flags, bumper stickers got taped over an replaced with a red cross, and so on. It was all good, friendly fun that ran year after year, day in and day out.
One day, an inflatable sheep appeared at the top of our camps flag pole and my brother, who was about nine at the time, was curious. One of the gentlemen pulled him aside and gently explained that the English say Welsh farmers “play mummies and daddies” with their sheep, my brother ran back to the tent with his hands clasped over his mouth and nothing more was said.
A few days later, we attended the local farmer’s market and my brother clocked a local butcher. Confident as ever, he marched up to the butcher and gently tugged on his jacket.
“Excuse me” he said, the butcher was instantly smitten with him and his manners.
“How can I help you, young man?” the butcher asked, presumably expecting to be asked for some free meat.
“Well,” my brother began, “is it true that the Welsh farmers shag their sheep?”
We left the market very promptly after that!
And now, on with today’s recipe!
Bara Brith means “mottled bread” in plain English. It is traditionally made with mixed, dried fruit, but you can use just sultanas, if you prefer. It also requires leaving the first part of the recipe to soak overnight, so make it in advance if you plan to serve it to guests. Although the fruit gives it plenty of moisture, it’s also much better with a little butter on top, as well!
For this recipe, you will need:
- A large mixing bowl,
- A clean terry towel
- A large mixing spoon
- A loaf tin
- Greaseproof or parchment paper
- Cooling rack
- 2 breakfast tea tea bags (don’t use Earl Grey, it’s not strong enough. This is a hearty recipe!)
- 300ml boiling water
- 450g mixed dried fruit
- 250g soft dark brown sugar
- 450g self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2tsp mixed spice
- In a large bowl, soak the tea bags in the boiling water and stir until a strong black tea forms. Remove the tea bags and discard.
- Stir in the dark brown sugar and add the mixed fruit and mixed spice. Stir again, cover with a clean terry towel and leave overnight.
- The next day, heat the oven at Gas Mark 3 (125C°/ 325°F).
- Add in the flour and the beaten egg. Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are combined.
- Line a loaf tin with greaseproof or parchment paper and transfer the mixture. Level out to avoid uneven cooking.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 90 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Once cooked, remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
- To serve, slice approximately into 12 pieces and spread with a little butter. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this wonderful recipe from the UK. which story did you enjoy more? Let me know in the comments!
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