Is there anything better than walking a trail on an Autumn morning?
We've been hitting the trails early in search of birds. Most mornings, the grass is still wet with dew, so I've been wearing these very old leather boots. They're tall enough to protect my legs, waterproof, and so old and beat-up I don't care what happens to them.
My skirt is made of loden, which is largely water resistant, and dries quickly when it does manage to get wet. I find that useful when moving through brush. I also own a pair of loden trousers. I've had both pieces going on 30+ years and they're still holding up well. It was quite a splash out at the time, but I've more than got what I paid for.
The wool cardigan was something I purchased in London on a whim because it was unexpectedly freezing. It has a few moth nibbles (it is a good 25 years old now) but I wear it for outdoor activities and chores at home. This cardigan was my go-to piece when we lived on the farm as it was warm, and long enough to keep most of my body warm. I know it will fall apart some day, but for the moment I am continuing to get use from it.
As Halloween is almost here, I thought this would be a good time to share my barmbrack recipe. I do a tea brack rather than a yeast risen, but it is still best made a few days in advance and stored before slicing. Sometimes I switch up the fruits I use (cranberries, apricots, sultanas, etc.) but the basic recipe is reliable as long as you keep the proportions the same.
If you add charms, I suggest poking them into the loaf after baking, and wrapping them in parchment so no one chokes on a coin.
You Will Need:
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup sultanas
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup candied pineapple (or cherries)
Grated zest of an orange-or lemon
1 cup strong, hot black tea
1/4 cup spirits (I used some really strong cherry brandy)
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 3/4 cup self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice, or an aproximation of mixed spice
In a large bowl, combine everything except the eggs and dry ingredients. Let soak a few hours, or overnight. Add the egg, sugar, and flour. Don't overmix-just stir until everything is wet and combined.
I lined a loaf pan with parchment which made my life much easier. If you don't have parchment, grease and flour the pan generously.
Pour the batter into a large loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F. for about an hour and a half-but start testing at an hour. The cake may seem dry as it cools, but it will soften up over a couple days. To store, wrap tightly in wax paper and cling film.
Oh I do really adore autumn. Hope Monday was nice for you.