Sunday, 24 October 2010
Well, it may not have been as dreary as I had secretly wished on Saturday morning, but some agonizing stomach cramps kept me in bed and cancelled my plans, and so Saturday morning involved no culture and plenty of rest, instead. I needed it, I realize now as I sit aching and exhausted and not even nearly rested enough; I needed Saturday morning and the rest of the day, and probably also Sunday, in pyjamas with tea and a book. But I got distracted and ended up spending the afternoon mixing and chopping and whipping and measuring and kneading and playing with my amazing kitchen to my heart's content. I may have burnt everything slightly, and I may have created more calories than two people could consume before things start to turn stale and crumby, but it was a delighful Saturday afternoon, nonetheless.
My family has been one of Soreen's leading customers for as long as I can remember. Every family picnic for 23 years has involved slices of the sticky joy, topped with a wedge of butter (margarine has never crossed the threshold of my parents' house) or cream cheese, leaving us chewing silently for a good 15 minutes, and trying to get our teeth clear of the residue for the rest of the day. I continue to eat Soreen on a regular basis, and have passed on my love for 'the original fruity malt loaf' to Daniel, who in turn has passed it on to his colleagues. After reading this article last week (discovered by Daniel's latest brainwashed colleague, probably on a sugar high from his afternoon Soreen snack), I decided to have a go at making my own, to a smoky but rather wonderful result.
I didn't have enough golden syrup, and no treacle or malt extract at all, so I had to send Daniel out on an expedition for the ingredients. I used dates instead of raisins, and stout instead of ale, but the loaf is rich and fruity and incredibly...malty...without being sticky. The malt extract made me gag when I opened it, as it smells like a brewery, in extracted form, and to add to the pain it was also hellish to weigh. The kitchen was covered in sticky residue, everything stuck to everything else, but the colour of the mixture was a delight to greedy eyes, and the consistency was so un-cake-like but so obviously right.
The finished product was slightly burnt (note that the recipe is for a fan oven!) and not at all like Soreen as I know it, but a tasty result and an extra point towards my culinary experience to boot! Like a rich fruit cake, with hardly any fruit; one of those tastes that you can't quite describe but it's so good that everyone should try it anyway. Served with ice cream and eaten in pyjamas under a blanket, it served a whole slice of comfort into the chilly Saturday evening!