I suspect we all have one.
No, not a bellybutton.
Nor an adoration of pop star that is quite frankly embarrassing and, even under duress, has never been acknowledged publicly (I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours).
We all have a favourite childhood bake.
The bake that in one taste, sniff or word brings tumbling back memories of a minature version of yourself agog at the wonder that is this item of childhood delight.
The bake for me that brings back rose-tinted, nostalgic rumblings from my tum is Bara Brith. I know I'm slightly biased, being from Wales and all, but Bara Brith is the best.
Some bake it as a yeasty speckled bread, but for us, it was always a fruity, lightly spiced sticky fruit loaf. I'd travel back to university each term with two tightly wrapped loaves, the Bara Brith cuddled in a layer of baking parchment and a layer of foil. They would be very welcomed back in York, where for the first year the little Baby Belling in halls was not terribly conducive to ten people being able to cook a decent meal. It was ceremoniously used one Pancake Day and the rest of the year we survived on Cornflakes, pizza and alcohol. Only sometimes all together.
This is the (sacred) recipe, which I've made into miniatures.
(for five mini loaves)
Half a cup of cold tea
6 oz (170g) dried mixed fruit
3 oz (85g) brown sugar
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
6 oz (170g) self-raising flour
Five mini loaf cake cases
1. Soak the fruit and sugar in the cold tea overnight (if timing permits; the fruit and sugar should have soaked up the majority of the tea)
2. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/325 F/160 C.
3. Beat the egg and add the egg to the fruit mixture, using a wooden soon to mix throughly
4. Sift the flour and mixed spice and stir into the mixture with a wooden spoon
5. Divide the mixture into the mini loaf cases (the mixture should fill approximately three-quarters of the loaf cases)
6. Pop in the oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the loaves comes out clean
- Bara Brith lasts days. You could conquer Everest with it and still have enough left over for a stroll up Snowdonia
- It also freezes well, wrap tightly in freezer bags and freeze for up to three months
- You could spread a little Welsh butter on the slices, but adding jam is blasphemy
- If you don't have ready mixed dried fruit, you could use a mixture of sultanas, raisins, currents and peel