Tea Loaf & Fresh Walnuts

Posted on November 7, 2010


Our friends at the Heage Firs Farm, just up the road, have a beautiful walnut tree in their garden.

If it wasn’t raining quite so hard and I hadn’t got Market Kitchen heading over later today to film me making cake I would go photograph the tree plus the carpet of walnuts lying beneath it.

Here is a basket full of the ones they gave me. I want to do something creative with them.

As you may know from the Not Walnut Bread post, I proclaim not to like walnuts. But like those that I ate straight from the tree in a French farmhouse many years ago these taste different. They don’t have that bitter ‘walnuttyness’.

They do look like mouse brains though.

As Anne suggested I baked them in the shells in a low oven for around an hour and they came out of the shells easily and even out of the brown husks (with a bit of faffing). They taste creamy and delicious so I think it is the husks that hold the bitterness.

It’s just dawned on me as I am editing this. The first thing I shall do with these is to add some to the Derbyshire Tea Loaf that I am baking for Market Kitchen today. Their Big Adventure is about finding local ingredients and cooking with them.

What could be more local than a recipe based on the one from Mrs Clark at the farm, using walnuts from a genuine Derbyshire walnut tree?

Any other recipes gratefully received for me to use for the rest…


Cut to 7.30pm and here is the version that I made for the filming, with added walnuts, this is the actual photograph I am taking that they show in the VT:

And here is the recipe from an earlier blog post….just add walnuts!

Derbyshire Tea Loaf

Make a pot of tea for you and your cake. Drink a cup yourself and pour another mug of hot black tea over:

5oz sultanas (I don’t like candied peel or raisins but use mixed dried fruit if you prefer)
1/2 oz glace ginger
3oz of golden caster sugar
Mix it together then leave to soak overnight

PS – You’ll need 3 oz of glacé cherries, brown sugar and nutmeg later.

Next day, in another bowl, mix:
8oz Self Raising Flour
2 tblsp marmalade
1 large beaten egg
a good pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
Then add the tea/fruit/sugar mixture and stir in a leisurely manner.

NOTE: depending on how big your tea mugs are you may not need all the liquid, hold a little back and only add if the cake batter is stiff. That said it should be quite a wet mixture as this is what makes it moist.

Pour into a lined 2lb loaf tin. Just a strip of greasproof for lifting it out is usually enough if you butter it.
Add 3oz cherries at this stage so you can space them out.
Push them onto the cake (around 12 or more so that everyone gets a bite of the cherry!) and squidge them down into the mix a bit.
Sprinkle brown sugar and a grating of nutmeg on the top.
Bake for 50-60 minutes at around 175-180c until a skewer comes out clean

Leave in the tin for 5 minutes before taking out. (You can also bake this in 2 x 1lb loaf tins, but just cook for 45 minutes)

Be good and eat it as is, or be bad and have with butter.

More about the Market Kitchen episode here.