'River Cottage Handbook: Cakes'? Your time to shine. It's a lovely book, lots of hints, tips and more traditional bakes. Rhubarb Pudding Cake, Vinegar Cake, Somerset Cider Cake and Toffee Apple Cake all make an appearance. None if your fancy-pants cupcakes or cake pops here. I unveiled the Random Recipe Thumb Generator. Or in other words, flicking through the book with my thumb and with my eyes closed. The God of Random Recipes (that'll be you, Dom off of Belleau Kitchen), can't have a terribly sweet tooth. Both last month's courgette cake and this month's chosen recipe are bloomin' healthy for cakes. But, the Thumb Generator has spoken, or thumbed. Fruit, Nut and Honey bars, coming up. In any case, my twisted logic reckons that the healthier the cake, the more slices you get to eat. I'm not one to complain about that.
In the Handbook, these are described as the perfect energy bars- 'an energy dense, sustaining, mini meal' to be more precise. Do you reckon they still count as energy bars if I'm eating them lying prone on the sofa, feebly shouting 'Go Tim! Um, I mean Andy!' at the Wimbledon tennis on the television?
And finally, there is no note in the Handbook about them looking a little like the stuff you leave out in your garden in winter months for hungry birds....
Fruit, Nut and Honey Bars
(from River Cottage Handbook: Cakes)
Ingredients 125g unsalted butter, cut into cubes 100g light soft brown sugar 100g honey 150ml fresh orange juice Finely grated zest of 1 orange 200g porridge oats 100g dried apricots 100g dried cranberries and goji berries 50g chopped walnuts 125g mixed seeds, e.g. pumpkin, linseed, poppy, sunflower
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/Gas Mark 4. 2. Lightly grease and line with baking parchment a 18x25cm square shallow baking tin 3. Gently heat the butter, honey, sugar, fruit juice and zest in a large saucepan, stirring from time to tome 4. Once the butter has melted and all the ingredients blended together, remove from the heat and add the oats, dried fruit, nuts and 100g of the seeds and stir well 5. Transfer to the baking tin and level the surface 6. Sprinkle the remaining seeds evenly over the top 7. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top 8. Cool before cutting into squares
These will keep for up to 10 days in an airtight container
They are dead easy to make and you can select your own favourite berries, nuts and dried fruit. For example replace the cranberries and gojiberries with dried dates. Or replace the walnuts with almonds or hazelnuts.
I accidently (watching the tennis you see) left mine in the oven for about 10 minutes too long, hence the 'burnished' look!