discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Nan's nutloaf

Long time dear readers will know I have been blessed with two wonderful Nan's.  One is known as Mama (my mum's mum) and the other Nan (my dad's mum).  Even luckier is the fact I still have them in my life.  When I was growing up, they both had a big influence on my life, although I didn't realise it at the time.
Mama had 11 children, raised on her own (she is a saint), and had a big hand in helping raise the grandchildren that ensued.  She was our babysitter as there was no daycare in those days, so her house was a riot of yelling, feeding and where you were usually pushed out of your seat to an older cousin. I was one amongst a million but we all felt loved and cared for even if it wasn't with a gentle touch.
Nan's house was different.  It was quiet and everything just so.  When we had any meal, the table was set with a tablecloth and I just loved doing those jobs. There was always a chair for me.   Nan and Pop  had 2 sons and a smaller extended family.  I was the only granddaughter gifted to Nan so you can imagine the word spoilt came up often.  My pop spent most of his time in the back vegie patch and was rarely inside.  I spent every Saturday and Wednesday night with Nan while my parents worked and it was a treat for her to pick me up from Mama's and I'd go around and kick the older boy cousins that had been a thorn in my side as I had my biggest ally with me....although they had long memories and I'd be in for it when I returned.

Saturday we baked and went to the local football.  Nan was a wonderful baker and quite often it would be this nutloaf, other times it might be rock cakes or her melt in your mouth shortbread.  I'd sit up on the bench and help measure and mix, and the biggest job of all - licking the spoon and bowl. The smells would make my tummy rumble.
Before we headed off to the football, Nan would take me up to the bathroom, dampen my fringe and give it a little trim, we'd both put red lipstick on and off we'd go with a hot thermos of sweet tea and our baking.

It was while I was baking this nutloaf that all of these memories came flooding back to me like a warm hug.  The smell of the spices put me straight back to Nan's kitchen and a smile settled on my lips for hours.

Nan's nutloaf
1 1/2 cups of self raising flour
pinch of salt
1 tspn mixed spice
60gm butter - at room temp
1/2 cup caster sugar
generous 1/2 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
generous 1/2 cup of sultanas
1 egg, beaten well
1/2 cup milk
  1. Grease the nutloaf tin and pre-heat oven to 190c/375f.
  2. Sift flour, salt and spice into a medium sized bowl.  
  3. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Add sugar,, nuts, sultanas and stir through.
  5. In a seperate small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk.
  6. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir to combine - gently and don't over mix.
  7. Leaving the bottom on the nutloaf tin, fill with the cake batter and bake - keeping the tin upright when you put the top on and into the oven.
  8. Bake for approx 50-60minutes - you will smell it when it is ready! Though you can take the lid off and check with a wooden skewer - if it comes out clean the loaf is done.
  9. Leave in the tin on a cake rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before you take the loaf out.
  10. Serve sliced with butter and a cup of tea - perfection!



I'm sorry there isn't any nice photos of the nutloaf slathered with butter but I made this during the day in anticipation of my Nan coming for dinner.  I've been doing Wednesday night dinners for her and my dad ever since I had my little one which is a family tradition I love.   I'm always worried when I am doing one of her recipes and just hope it comes in close.  As I dished it up, she told me that she hadn't baked nutloaf in the 8 years since Pop passed away, it was his favourite.  As she sipped her tea and ate a slice, she smiled and said it was as good as hers.  What a compliment, I think I could have shed a tear.

And that my dear reader is why I love to cook and bake - it just warms my heart.

Ciao, Jan x

17 comments :

  1. what a beautiful memory Jan and thank you for sharing it with us. You are truly blessed. My last living grandparent just turned 88! Have a super day :)

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    1. You are lucky too Tandy!! Nan will be 91 at Christmas and Mama turns 90 in January and I'm hoping they will be around for many more birthdays. xxx

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  2. Yum, that looks delicious...I've got one of those tins and I used to make date loaf in it....love the stories that go with the recipe too. Have a great weekend. By the way get "A table Orchard" by Michelle Crawford out of the library....I had to wait 2 weeks for it as it's relatively new. She is from Hugo & Elsa Blog fame...it's the story of how they moved from Sydney to Tassie including recipes...I've only read an hour while at footy training tonight and it's lovely....I could picture her house, home, their new stove from England....put your name down for it at your local library. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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    1. Your date loaf sounds great too Kathy, anything fruity and nutty has my heart!! I'll definately keep and eye out at the library, thanks for the heads up. x

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  3. Jan your mama and nan sound delightful. Nut loaf brings back so many great memories for me. My mum has the same nut loaf tin. It really is the only way to eat walnuts....delicious. x

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    1. Thanks Suzie, I really feel blessed with 2 such wonderful women in my life - such a sentimental softy I am!! You might have to ask your Mum to make you a loaf - for old times sake xxx

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  4. What a beautiful story Jan. You are so lucky to have your grand mothers still in your life and to have such fond foodie memories. How special to share your loaf with your Nan.

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  5. I adore cake and whilst there are many fancy ones I like, I actually LOVE a slice of a good old fashioned recipe...especially one with nuts and sultanas. Thank you Nan for the recipe and thank YOU for sharing. xx

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    1. You are so welcome Monique - I hope you enjoy it as much as we did xxx

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  6. I never knew my grandmothers, I love theses stories. A few nut loaves have been mentioned recently on blogs I follow and I'm trying to test them all to find the one closest to the one my mum used to make. I wonder how this will go? :)

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    1. I'll be very interested to hear what you think if you do try it....So many of my friends didn't know their grandparents either so I really appreciate how lucky I am. xxx

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  7. These are such wonderful memories of you nan Jan! I wish I had some of my grandmother's recipes but when she lived with us I was about 13 and just didn't care about cooking :(

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    1. What a shame Lorraine - if only we knew!! I wasn't that interested in the cooking just the tasting truth be told!!! I've only really been interested in their recipes since starting this blog and my baking journey - so I'm grateful to have 2 amazing bakers only a phone call away :) xxx

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  8. I love this post, Jan - thanks for sharing these beautiful childhood memories. Nan's nut loaf looks delish! I'm thinking a thick slice slathered with butter - YUM!

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  9. What a beautiful post! My two grandmothers are both long gone but I remember watching one cook and helping the other one to cook. My mother was too worried about the mess to allow any of us to cook at home. It's a wonder that I ended up loving to cook.

    I love the nutloaf and look forward to trying it.

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    1. Thanks Maureen - I have to remind myself to let go of control of the 'mess' and get my little one in helping as it's just a wonderful thing to do together. I hope you enjoy the nutloaf xxx

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