4 tablespoons brandy (or orange juice)
200g self raising flour
1/2 a nutmeg finely grated
150g soft dark sugar
200g walnuts, chopped apart from a few for decoration
200g glacier cherries
3 large eggs, beaten
Put the sultanas to soak in the brandy for a few hours.
Heat oven to 180 C
Line the base of a 20cm round, lose bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper and butter.
Put the flour, nutmeg and sugar in a large mixing bowl, chop butter in to lumps and mix together using finger tips to produce a bread crumb consistency.
Add the soaked sultanas with any remaining liquid, walnuts (apart from a few for the top) cherries and beaten egg.
Carefully mix and combine.
Put the mixture in the cake tin, smooth to give a slight hollow in the middle. Arrange whole walnuts on the top. Wet finger tips with a little water and lightly dampen the cake surface to avoid it becoming too dry.
Place in the middle of the oven for half and hour.
Lower the temperature to 150 C, cook for a further hour.
Check after thirty minutes and if the top looks too brown, cover with a piece of greaseproof paper.
Use a fine skewer inserted deep into the cake to see if the mixture is cooked through. The skewer should be clean if the cake is cooked, allow a further 15 minutes and check again.
Leave in the tin to cool.
Remove when cold. Double-wrap in greaseproof paper and store in a cool, dry place.
Walnuts – the edible options are endless.
Eaten Spanish style with cheese and honey is divine, in homemade cake or banana loaf is scrumptious, tossed in a salad or over breakfast cereal is a treat. The flavour is fabulous and the soft crunch under the teeth gives a brilliant texture.
Healthy Walnut Research
The University of Barcelona has been working on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for years. The inclusion of a 30g daily serve of tree nuts, – mostly walnuts, with almonds and hazelnuts too, produced a massive 30% reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke.
What’s good in Walnuts?
Lots of poly and mono unsaturated fats – and to stop these fats going rancid, there are lots of antioxidants – all wrapped up in a crunchy fibrous structure.
Fats come with calories, it’s not surprising that 100g walnuts have 654 kcal – our Spanish friends recommend a modest 30g per day. Walnuts are 15% protein, 7% dietary fibre – a smattering of iron, calcium and selenium with bits of the antioxidant vitamins E and A, and some B vitamins folate and niacin. The high protein value means that a small serve of walnuts provides a big feeling of satiety. This comes with very little sodium and low carbohydrate.
The fancy chemicals are the flavanols, the anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins. These guys are the antioxidants associated with protecting us from heart disease and stroke.
Walnuts also contain a little choline which is showing promise in research on the prevention of cognitive decline in old age.
Storage – keep cool. All nuts are high in fats, to avoid them getting bitter and rancid we need to eat them promptly or keep them cool – and check the ‘eat-by’ dates when we buy them.
There’s lots more interesting info on walnuts, here’s a taster !