Look, I’m not anti diet. Goodness knows I’ve been on enough of them myself. I’m just anti people going on a diet in January. For one, it’s cold so really not the time of year to be cutting the calories and swapping hearty comfort food for salad. Secondly (and this is my real, selfish reason), it’s my birthday month and I have had it up to here with people making excuses:
“I can’t come out; I haven’t got any money until payday.”
“I’m not drinking in January so I’ll come and just drive instead, I’ll give you a lift!”
“I’m doing the low GI majority plankton diet, so I’ll come for your birthday meal but I’ll just order steamed vegetables.”
“Maybe we could celebrate later in the year instead when the weather’s better. I just hate going out in the cold.”
Reader, it’s just plain rude. Would anyone suggest this to a June birthday baby? No they would not. Perhaps us January lot should get together and have a party just for us? And it’d obviously be the most fun birthday party in the world as everyone knows that all the best people are born in the first month of the year.
Onto the recipe. I have for you an orange and cardamom tealoaf. It’s warming from the light, gentle spice of the cardamom, sunny from the zingy orange and surprisingly almost fat free, meaning it’s the perfect bake for this dieting month. Perfect served sliced with a cup of tea; I’ll leave it with you to decide whether to adorn it with some soft salted butter and perhaps a little orange curd too.
Photo by the lovely and talented Scott Choucino.
Lots of great recipes like this in my books, Recipes from a Normal Mum, (available on Amazon, at The Works, Waterstones, WHSmith, The Book Depository and many smaller outlets) and The Power of Frozen (available exclusively in Iceland stores and through their website) which is just £2.99 at the mo! And no, the recipes are not just about frozen food. Every recipe has instructions of how to make with chilled ingredients too.
Orange & cardamom skinny tealoaf
- A little butter or oil for greasing the tin
- 245ml strong, hot tea
- Zest of 1 orange
- Juice of 1 orange (55mls)
- 5 cardamom pods
- 280g raisins
- 330g self-raising flour
- 55g dark brown muscavado sugar
- 60g caster sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly whisked
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4 and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
Bash the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar to remove the seeds and grind them finely. Make the tea in a jug, add the orange zest, juice, ground cardamom seeds and raisins. Leave for 20 minutes for the flavours and liquid to absorb into the fruit.
Stir together the flour and sugars until well combined. Use the back of a spoon to squash any lumps of brown sugar if yours has clumped together. Add the tea mixture including all the liquid, stir, then add the egg and mix until just combined, but beware over mixing.
Spoon into the tin, level and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour until a skewer comes out of the centre of the loaf clean. Cool on a wire rack in the tin.
This loaf keeps well for up to 5 days kept in a tin in a cool place. It can also be frozen as a whole loaf or in slices for up to 1 month. Defrost at room temperature.
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