This was one of about 16 cookbooks that were advertised on the Gumtree trading website in Canberra. Elieen, who owned the books, offered them for free to anyone who wanted them. I was the first to reply to her message. I picked them up at her home and met her gorgeous dogs—Scottish terriers.
We had a wonderful chat that afternoon and we have kept in touch ever since.
Just recently, Eileen passed me another bundle of cookbooks and, as a thank you, I gave her an apron and tea towel covered in Scottish terriers. Kicking myself that I didn’t get a photo of them.
But I digress. This cookbook talks about Ligurian bees, an Italian race of honeybees, that occur on Kangaroo Island. They were introduced there in 1885. The Ligurian bees on the island are believed to be the last remaining pure stock of this Italian bee anywhere in the world.
Page 32 has two recipes for honey nut loaves. I made the first one, which included eggs.
Honey nut loaf with eggs
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup honey
1/3 cup milk
2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 cup sultanas
1/4 cup chopped raisins
1/4 cup chopped nuts
Cream butter and honey. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Add milk and the dry ingredients alternately. Gently stir in fruit and nuts. Grease and flour 2 small nut loaf tins and divide mixture evenly between them. Bake in a moderate over for 50–60 minutes.
How it played out
I made this mostly as written, using butter instead of margarine, and chopped dates instead of sultanas. I usually never run out of baking ingredients, but there wasn’t a sultana in the house. As for the raisins, I used golden ones. Also used chopped walnuts. I thought cinnamon and vanilla would add a lot of flavour, but decided to remain faithful to the actual recipe.
I have no idea what size a small nut loaf tin size is, so used one regular loaf tin, and baked the loaf for 60 minutes at 180°C (about 350°F).
I’m still laughing over how tasteless this loaf was. Boring in the extreme. I nearly threw it in the compost bin and then thought, Hang on, this might be salvageable.
Guess what, I was right. I sliced the loaf thickly and made it into the best-ever bread and butter pudding (shown below). It called for cinnamon and vanilla.
I can’t find the online recipe now, but it was along the lines of this one. So just remember that if you ever have a disaster making a loaf of fruit or nut bread, maybe you can turn it into something marvellous.