Alice in wonderland/Fairytale was the theme for a recent soiree at 'The Book Club Boutique' a literary salon located in Blacks in Soho. I haven't been there yet but it sounds like an amazing place. The motto on their facebook page is 'books, booze and boogie woogie', but apparently you are just as welcome to be drinking tea from a china cup as gin. The decor is open fires and sofas and writers read their poetry and musicians play live music in what sounds like a really cool spot.
On the Alice theme I think that it was probably seeing Tim Burton's wonderful Alice in Wonderland with Johnie Depp's completely over-the-top Mad Hatter on Wednesday that inspired my Nutty Fruit Cake...
You will need the following:
. Ninteteen ounces of dried fruit. I like to mix
sultanas, currents, cherries, dates and figs and walnuts
. Eight ounces of butter.
. One teaspoon of cinnamon.
. A small piece of fresh ginger, grated. I was aware that ginger is anti-inflammatory but was amazed to discover that it's also anti-tumour! It's great that another yummy thing is also good for you....
. A little vanilla extract.
. Two beaten eggs.
. Eight fluid ounces of water.
. Five ounces of sugar, I like to use dark muscovado sugar as it gives a lovely deep flavour and colour to the cake.
. One teaspoon of baking powder.
. Ten ounces of Self Raising flour.
Put all the fruit, butter and water into a saucepan along with the vanilla extract and simmer for twenty minutes on the hob. All the ingredients meld together, the fruit rehydrates and plums up and the kitchen smells difficult. At this point you can also add add some alcohol if you feel inclined. Rum or a liqueur like Amaretto would be good, I also sometimes use almond extract which gives another nutty dimension to the flavours.
Meanwhile you can be preparing an eight inch cake tin by greasing and forming a paper colour to protect the top from over cooking.
Once cooled down add two beaten eggs to the fruit. I always try to get the best organic or at least free range eggs that I can.
Fold in the remaining ingredients, combine well and then put into the lined cake case.