- Food & Drink
On Sunday the Out To Swim Team 1 – aka Team Awesome – got the go ahead to do their Channel relay to raise money for The Food Chain. They would be allowed to launch themselves off Dover beach at midnight that evening. I can’t imagine a worse time to stroll down the shingle and then paddle into the sea covered in goose grease but Sister Number 1 was not afraid. In fact, she was keen and by 11.50pm that night the first swimmer had hit the water.
Sister Number 1 dived in at 1am and after two more hour-long swims, some major sea sickness and cheering on her four team mates, Team Awesome triumphantly swam into and them clambered all over France. They made it in just 13 hours and 14 minutes, which is about as fast as a night ferry. Take that P&O.
So far they and Team 2 (who are approaching France as I write this on Wednesday night) have raised over £6,900 for The Food Chain. If you’d like to do good without getting out of the chair or off the internet, you can donate here. And you can read the Out To Swim report on the relay here. If you want to bake the final cake in my series of recipes from the charity cake sale, look below.
Earl Grey tea bread
Makes 8–10 slices
I began baking this cake inspired by Leonard and her partner, the enigmatic Mr S. Leonard was a key ally in the fight to produce baked goods for sale at a market while still doing a full-time job. We won the battle for a while, but ultimately lost war. However, the recipes for many excellent cakes were our prizes. I began making this because Mr S is a fan of fruited cakes and Leonard always drinks Earl Grey. The starting point was a recipe on a random internet forum, which I have never been able to find again so I can’t credit it, but thank you anonymous website for the giving me the essentials of this cake.
225g mixed dried fruit, to include sultanas, raisins, currants and mixed peel in your preferred proportions (or just use ready-mixed dried fruit like me)
300ml strong Earl Grey tea
Butter or oil for greasing
225g self raising flour
125g caster sugar
1 medium egg
2 tbsp thick cut marmalade
200g icing sugar
Yellow food colouring, optional
1 Put the dried fruit in a bowl or tub and pour over the tea. Cover and leave to soak overnight (or do what I did: run out of time 5 days in a row and leave them to wallow for ages. The fruit can take it).
2 Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C. Grease a 450g loaf tin with butter or oil and line the base with baking parchment. Sift in the flour into the fruit and stir to mix with a wooden spoon – this is not a cake to use electric beaters with. Stir in the sugar.
3 Beat in the egg and the marmalade. Scrape the cake batter into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until it’s risen, golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in the tin for about 15 minutes, then tip out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
4 Peel the paper off the cake. Sift the icing sugar in a bowl and add enough lemon juice to make a thick, spreadable icing. I like to add a drop of yellow food colouring to get a nice lemony colour, but I’ll leave that up to your principles. Spread the icing over the cake and leave it to set. It’s a moist cake, so it will keep for 3–4 days in a cake tin.