… it seems that London has turned into a quagmire of excitable children and very bemused and tired looking parents being hauled around the city. The half-term holidays in the UK seems to produce this panic-inducing disease of madness that descends on a city that is just working out its routine after the Christmas break. Those frenetic but free-flowing streams of determined commuters have been disrupted by the giant pebble of kids and no body is happy… during any other week in the year I can drag my tired arse up from the tube station, along St Martin’s Lane, into my favourite coffee shop and on auto-pilot make my way to my desk, gently readying myself for the day ahead. Not this week. This week I’ve had to fight from way too early for any normal kid to be in town until way too late for sensible parents to allow their kids in town… it must stop now.
toasted tea cakes
there’s something about the aroma of cinnamon and candied fruit baking in the oven that not only makes the whole house smell incredible but that is also so utterly reminiscent of Easter even though you get the same sweet scents at Christmas too… and that scent seems to be everywhere right now so that every corner you turn you’re tempted by the thoughts of toasted goodness. It is quite remarkable we make it home without putting on stupid amounts of weight. Of course toasted tea cakes are not exclusive to Easter, they’re a tearoom staple up and down the country taking the place of the scone during colder months which, if you ask me, is a wondrous thing…
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
60g caster sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 sachet fast action dried yeast
50g unsalted butter – room temp
200g mixed fried fruit and peel
1 beaten egg for glazing
line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
pour a little vegetable oil on your work surface and then tip the dough onto it and knead for 8 minutes or so until the dough is soft and silky.
tip the mixed fruit on top of the risen dough in the bowl and start working them into it. After a minute or two, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the fruit is thoroughly mixed in.
divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each into a ball then flatten with your hand and brush the teacakes with the beaten egg. Place them onto the baking trays, cover in some lightly oiled cling film and let them rest and rise for another half an hour whilst you pre-heat your oven to 200C
bake for 10-15 minutes until risen and golden and then cool on a wire rack