Monday, 27 July 2015

Meals on Mondays and an old fashioned tea loaf.

We returned from our short break in Suffolk this weekend and now I am faced with mountains of washing (and that means ironing too) and not much in the fridge. At this point it struck me that it might be worth while writing a regular blog post on Mondays.
I was born in the 1950s when the whole ethos was "make do and mend" and "waste not, want not".
World war II had meant rationing of vital foodstuffs so that everyone had a small and reasonably fair share. I suppose this is what  leads to me hating food waste. I love cooking and usually am a bit of a spendthrift when it comes to food but I always make a point of using up the odds and ends left from the weekend. Cold meat from a Sunday roast might become a cottage pie, curry or hash; cold roast potatoes and leftover greens become "bubble and squeak". Winter lunches mean soup to my husband and so vegetables are never wasted.
The week away meant that the pickings were sparse. The fridge revealed a few eggs, some chorizo sausage, some ever so slightly over-ripe tomatoes and onions (always onions!). I googled for recipes with chorizo and found a recipe on BBC Good Food for Rigatoni with spiced prawns, chorizo and tomatoes. We always have a few varieties of pasta in the cupboard so I will probably use penne or farfalle instead of rigatoni. I was short of the prawns but as I was only cooking half the recipe 100g of prawns were all I needed. Mike ran the errand for me so I could continue my chores.

I had noticed several almost empty packets of dried fruits in the cupboards and a  half empty jar of malt extract. Malt loaf was a childhood favourite of mine so I decided to throw one together before tackling the ironing. If you have never tried making this and have only tried the commercial version I can really recommend this recipe. It is so easy and you will not need a mixer just a large bowl, a large spoon to mix the ingredients and either a greased and lined 2lb loaf tin or 2 x1lb tins. I use the paper linings from Lakeland to save on the greasing and lining.

Heat the oven to 170°c or 150° fan oven. Shelf in the middle of the oven.

Ingredients for Malt Loaf
sunflower oil, for greasing
150ml hot black tea (I used Assam tea for a maltier flavour)
175g malt extract, plus extra for glazing
85g dark muscovado sugar
300g mixed dried fruits
2 large eggs, beaten
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • note: I bought the malt extract originally in our local health food shop.
  1. Throw the mixed dried fruit (mine was a mix of sultanas, raisins with a small amount of currants), malt extract, sugar and hot tea into the bowl and stir well until mixed.
  2. Mix the beaten eggs in.
  3. Add the plain flour, stir well then add the baking powder and bicarb. Beat again to combine.
  4. Quickly pour the mixture into the lined tin and place in the centre of the oven.
  5. Bake the small tins for approximately 50 minutes. A 2lb loaf will take about 10 minutes longer.
  6. Test with a skewer to check that there is no wet mixture at the bottom of the loaf.
  7. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes or so then remove to a rack to cool.
  8. Brush the top with a small amount of malt extract while the loaf is warm to glaze.

  • If you can bear to leave the loaf in a tin for a day or even two the texture of the loaf gets a bit stickier and more luscious. Slice and serve buttered with a cup of tea. Yum!!!!

  • Dinner turned out fine too. Mike did not manage to get raw King prawns as the recipe intended but I tossed the cooked prawns through at the last minute and they were almost as good. The pasta I used was Gigli. This is a shape I had never heard of before. I searched online and apparently Gigli can also be called Campanelle (little bells, bellflowers).

It looks a bit of a dog's dinner here but it tasted good. Try the link to the original recipe for a better photo!

I hope to get back to some crafting tomorrow. We are having a lunch party for friends in a few weeks and I would love to make some bunting to pretend we are having a summer party- when will the sun shine again, do you think?

Meals on Mondays might become a regular feature to encourage me to blog regularly. I hope you like it. Please leave comments and let me know what you cook.



  1. It is always great to be able to make something from nothing isn't it! xx

  2. I've copied and looked up conversions for the Malt Loaf recipe. REALLY want to try it. I'll have to see if I can find the malt locally, but will order from Amazon if I have to.

    The pasta looks yummy too!

  3. I love malt loaf but I've never tried making it.. I'll have to try your recipe :)

  4. Mmmmm malt loaf! Thanks for the recipe

  5. I've never tried making a malt loaf either! Will definitely try this - it is the non fattening recipe this isn't it? lol I will nee

  6. Oops I will need to make it Saturday so that by Monday Evie and my daughter can help me eat it, otherwise I've chance to eat it all. Though I suspect it might keep well?
    I was going to York today to the Quilt Museum but it's chucking it down with rain so I had a rethink!
    I like the idea of the Monday Meals posts! I'm a great believer in using up what's left in the fridge and stir cupboards and in some cases my 'mash up meals' turn out really tasty though wouldn't win Foody Fotograph of the Year!

  7. I don't like to waste food either I love the malt loaf I will try this recipe, love pasta too!


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