The past couple of weeks have been a bit fraught. I ended up going to hospital not once, but four times due to a few complications (baby and I are fine thankfully – they are just keeping a close eye on me because I lost my first baby very late in pregnancy) and I had to stay in for a couple of days last week as a precaution. I have to say though, the staff at the hospital are absolutely amazing and I can’t praise them enough. They did a fantastic job of calming my nerves and comforting me when I was taken through via an ambulance last Tuesday night. Honestly, where would we be without our NHS? I actually dread to think😕
So needless to say, things have been pretty quiet on the cooking/baking front. The housework is being severely neglected. I’m sure my ironing pile contains clothes that we’d forgotten we owned we haven’t seen them in that long, and I just have piles of stuff.
Everywhere. Boys are so messy!
But I’ve been told to rest as much as I can, so I’m trying my hardest to turn a blind eye. To be fair, my eldest has been hoovering daily (one of my bug bears is dirty carpets – normally if I see a speck of dirt I’m out with the hoover) and they’ve both been taking their dirty washing/cups/plates downstairs and helping Dad wash up. They are trying!
I made this fruit loaf just before one of my longer hospital visits. It’s packed full of goodness and is fat free. I only added the banana in because I had a very sad looking one sitting in the fruit bowl. I can’t say you can really taste the banana much, but I was so happy with how this turned out I’m sticking with it! And that little extra fruit makes it even more healthy, I’m sure😉
Malted fruit and banana loaf
Adapted from the “River Cottage Cakes” book
100g malt extract
100g golden syrup
75g dried dates, roughly chopped
75g sultanas or raisins
225g self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
1 ripe banana, mashed
Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the malt extract, golden syrup and milk in a saucepan. Stir over a gentle heat until the mixture is hot and all of the ingredients are well combined. Remove from the heat and add the dates and raisins/sultanas.
Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the fruit mixture, egg and mashed banana. Stir the mixture until everything is well combined and no pockets of flour remain. Spoon into a greased and lined 1 litre loaf tin (approx 20x10cm) and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
Leave to cool completely in the tin. This fruit loaf will last for about a week – if it isn’t devoured by then!