This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
He placed something else by my side: a fat square slab of fruitcake.
I swallowed. “I can't…”
“Yes you can. Cook's best bara brith, all the way from Plas Eden. Best thing for those recovering their strength from a fever.”
One of the things I love about a good book is when you get a merest whisper of food, but it builds up, adds layers, creating real depth to the story. And when the food is combined with other elements, you are transported right inside the very heart of the book. Where the magic happens.
In Eden's Garden by Juliet Greenwood, it isn't just food that is used to create atmosphere. The Welsh language is an additional emotive element, combining forces with the food, to transport you to Wales before you can say 'Bread of Heaven'. And there is quite a lot of food mentioned in the novel. Carrot cake and spiced apple cake are two of the delicious cakes mentioned. But it is the Bara Brith, the Welsh speckled bread (of heaven?), adding that extra something, demonstrating exactly where the reader is in the world.
250g dried, mixed fruit (currants, raisins etc)
250ml hot, strong tea
200g light muscovado sugar
350g self raising flour
3 tsp mixed spice
1 beaten egg
Loaf tin, baking parchment, bowl and wooden spoon.
- Start preparing the mixed fruit the night before you want to make the bread.
- Place the mixed fruit and sugar into a bowl and pour over the hot tea. Leave to soak overnight.
- The next day pre-heat the oven to 160°C regular or 140°C fan.
- Grease loaf tin and line with baking parchment.
- Add the flour and spice to the tea-soaked fruit. Mix.
- Add beaten egg and softened butter to the mix.
- Pour into loaf tin.
- Bake for one hour twenty minutes. I covered mine with foil over the top after the first forty minutes to stop it becoming too dark.
- Remove when a skewer comes out clean and sprinkle with sugar.
- Serve with lots of butter or on its own.