One of the great things about having friends with children older than the small person is that we get a preview of what phases and stages kids can go through before we hit them ourselves. Some I’m looking forward to, like the learning to talk bit. Others, like heartstopping need to scale every giant tree, fence and rooftop, not so much.
Today I discovered another perk to this friends with older children business. Today was the first netball game for one of the LMF’s daughters and the beloved, small and I went along to cheer her on. The sun was shining down, the courts were packed with six year olds in oversize t-shirts and scary women with whistles, we had coffee, we had croissants and it was glorious. Well, it was glorious, for the full three minutes of coffee-clutching, croissant-munching sunbaking we had before the first whistle. Then the shrieking started.
M! FIND A SPACE! RUN TO A SPACE!
STAY ON YOUR PLAYER! STAY WITH THE ONE THAT SAYS GA!
MOVE! MOVE MOVE MOVE! DON’T STEP! DON’T STEP!
sotto voce….if I was coaching, they’d be a well oiled machine
GO M, GO! THE OTHER WAY!
STAY ON YOUR PLAYER! ARMS UP!!! DEFEND!!!!!
Not one of the parents. No. That was the beloved. Who, up until now has been keeping her netballing expertise completely to herself. Just a little glimpse of the future parent.
Anyway. None of that has anything to do with fruit loaf.
Sort of Jamie Oliver’s Fruit Loaf
30 grams of dried yeast
30 grams of honey
~700 mls of warm water
500 grams of strong white bread flour
500 grams of wholemeal spelt flour
30 grams of salt
1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon
150 grams of dried dates
200 grams of dried apricots
150 grams of sultanas
Combine the yeast and honey with 300mls of the warm water in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside while you chop the dried fruit and prepare the flour – it will grow right in front of your eyes, foaming up to the bowl’s brim.
Mix the flours, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Add the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
Continue stirring, adding the remaining water until the mixture holds together. You may need a little more or a little less water depending on the particular flour you use.
Add the chopped dried fruit and stir to incorporate.
Dust your benchtop with flour. Turn the dough onto the bench and knead.
Knead for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is pliable and not too sticky.
Separate into two portions.
Butter two large bowls and put one portion in each bowl. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours. I put each bowl in a plastic bag with a hot heat pack and tie up the bag. This rises the dough beautifully in about 1 hour. The Nanna used to put her dough in bed with an electric blanket on and, if it’s sunny, SF will put hers in the car. Whatever takes your fancy and gets the job done.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down to knock the air out, knead lightly for a minute or so, then put it into your tins (or on a tray for a freeform loaf) to rise again.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius (180 fan forced).
When the dough has risen again bake for 30-40 minutes. To test if it’s cooked, turn out of the tin and knock on the base of the loaf – it should sound hollow. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
For a glossy, sticky finish, brush the still hot loaves with honey.
Slice, slather generously with butter and eat. Yum.