Date and walnut loaf – lovely!

2 Aug

DSCI0115Those of you that follow my blog will know I rarely post a recipe for cakes.  However, when I am having visitors, I do like to make a cake for when they arrive so they can have some with a coffee. I made this loaf for just such an occasion. My Brother-in-law and Niece were coming for the night to break their journey on the way home from University.  I knew they would be arriving after lunch so a fruit loaf like this is perfect in case they were peckish.

The last time they called in I made Peggy’s Banana Bread (recipe on blog under favourites) so I wanted to do something different.  I was amazed at how many recipes there were for Date and Walnut cakes/loaves. Most of them needed ingredients I didn’t have in the cupboard so this is my version. It was light and tasty, even better with a bit of butter smeared on the slice. First here are a few bits of trivia on walnuts.

  • It would take 1,051,818,240 walnuts laid end to end to circle the equator. Not sure how they worked that out!
  • Walnuts are the oldest tree food known to man, dating back to 7000 B.C.
  • Early history indicates that English walnuts came from ancient Persia, where they were reserved for royalty. Thus, the walnut is often known as the ‘Persian Walnut’.  Walnuts were traded along the Silk Road route between Asia and the Middle East.  English merchant marines transported the product for trade to ports around the world and they became known as ‘English Walnuts’  even though England never grew walnuts commercially.
  • California produces two-thirds of the world’s walnuts.
  • Shelled walnuts contain about 4% water content by weight.
  • Walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, thought to reduce risk of cancer. They also provide protein, several essential
    vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants, yet are free of trans fats and cholesterol.
  • Because walnuts resemble the brain, they were believed in medieval times to be able to cure headaches.
  • More recently, Nasa has used pulverised walnut shells as thermal insulation in the nose cones of its rockets.

Well here is the recipe.

Date and walnut loaf

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 175g softened butter
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 100g stoned dates
  • 50g pack walnut pieces
  1. Preheat the ove to 160C/Fan 150c/gas 3.
  2. Prepare a 2 lb loaf tin by lightly greasing the inside the lining with greaseproof paper.
  3. Tip the flour, cinnamon, butter, sugar and eggs into a food processor and whizz together for a few minutes until blended. Mash the banana and add to the processor and blend for a few seconds. Finally, blend in the honey.
  4. Chop the dates (or use scissors to snip into small pieces) and add to the cake mix with the nuts.  Mix well so they are well blended.
  5. Spoon the mix into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour. It should feel firm when lightly pressed. Give it another 10 minutes if it is too soft.
  6. Cool for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Remove the paper and slice for serving.

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