The dog made me do it. Honest. If he hadn’t needed a walk in the rain, I wouldn’t have slipped over in the mud and started to feel old and sorry for myself as well as slightly ‘jaded’ after the over-ambitious consumption (i.e. 3 glasses) of white wine last night.
And if he hadn’t needed a walk as soon as we got back from the kids’ swimming lessons, I might have remembered to take some bread out of the freezer so it would have defrosted in time for lunch. But we got in from the pool, and he looked at me with those big, beseeching, spaniel eyes, and I felt mean for not having got up at 6.30 when it was pouring with rain to take him out before we went swimming. How could I have laid in bed for a whole extra hour when I could have been stomping across the fields with the rain dripping down my neck while he chased pheasant, impervious to the conditions. How selfish could I have been?
In fact, when I did take him out and then came a cropper sliding down a bank and landing on my posterior, did he come and check out what had happened to his mistress? Oh no, no loyal rescue dog he. I clocked him clocking me as I was trying to recover my dignity, taking stock of the situation, and taking the opportunity to leg it for further pheasant follies while I was incapacitated and unable to yell at him to come back. But that’s springers for you.
So feeling in need of comfort, and breadless apart from some drying crusts in the bread bin, I had to make some soda bread (for ‘had’ to, read “used it as an excuse to have a go at the River Cottage Bread Handbook’s version of soda bread”). And if the oven hadn’t been on, I probably wouldn’t have forced myself to do something useful with all that electricity and the extra space in the oven and bake this latest deliciousness that is Baked in America’s Date and Walnut loaf.
I would say that this is the best yet that I’ve baked from this book. I had nearly all the ingredients this time which probably helped, although I had to use half wholemeal plain flour because I didn’t have enough ordinary plain, but I don’t think that’s really made a difference. The recipe uses cream cheese and soft dark brown sugar so it’s beautifully fudgy, and the dates and walnuts managed to distribute themselves throughout the loaf rather than all congregating at the bottom.
The write up in the book refers to it as a favourite after school treat, and I can see why. Just had a slice with a lovely cup of tea. Saturday afternoon heaven.And I only had the best interests of the environment at heart – “Save electricity – bake more cake”. I think it could catch on.