This Book Is Making Me Hungry! — The Runaway by Claire Wong

14 Jun

 

It’s been a long time since a book has made me want to get the mixing bowls out, but The Runaway by Claire Wong did just that. The Runaway is certainly not a cookbook; it is a beautifully written story that swept me into the life and secrets of a small Welsh village. But since it does evoke all the elements of village life, there is plenty of food involved, specifically cake. Cake is served when the police come to call, it is what you take to neighbors when asking a favor, and is ever-present at tea time. Several delectable cakes are mentioned in the book — Coffee And Walnut Sponge, Marmalade Cake, and one I had never heard of, Bara Brith. Bara Brith or Speckled Bread is a traditional Welsh bread filled with dried fruit. It can be a yeast bread or more of a quick bread. I’ve included the quick bread recipe shared by honestcooking.com. Hope you enjoy it! And don’t miss The Runaway; it is a highly recommended book!

Shortly before her eighteenth birthday, Rhiannon Morgan runs away from the remote Welsh village of Llandymna. Camping out in Dyrys Woods, she starts to make a new life for herself. In the woods she finds space for her active imagination — weaving together the stories she loves and memories of her past, including the mother she lost thirteen years ago.

Back in the village, Rhiannon’s disappearance triggers a series of events that uncover the cracks in Llandymna’s quiet surface. Relationships become frayed as a young police officer is forced to investigate his neighbors, and the village’s elderly storyteller hints at a secret that the older generation has kept for decades. But as painful as the village’s past may be, it may hold the key for hope in the present . . .

Claire Wong is a writer originally from Wales, who lives in a two hundred year old stone cottage in Yorkshire.

 

Bara Brith

(from honestcooking.com)

Welsh tea cake, recipe makes 3 small loaves (or 1 large and 1 small)
Author: Ruby Moukli
Ingredients
  • 450 g / 2 ½ cups dried fruit (I used raisins and cranberries, but currants and even dates work wonderfully)
  • 400 ml /1 ¾ cups brewed black tea
  • 225 g / 2 cups self-raising flour (white)
  • 225 g / 2 cups plain wholemeal flour
  • 175 g / ¾ cup unrefined sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp mixed spice (or ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp allspice, pinch of ground clove and a pinch of ground ginger)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp marmalade or jam (I used low-sugar apricot jam)
Instructions
  1. Night Before: Set the fruit to soak in the tea overnight
  2. Baking Day: Preheat oven to 175 C / 325 F and grease and line two loaf pans (one large and one small, or else three small)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flours, then add the other dry ingredients and mix.
  4. Beat the egg and add it to the mixture, along with the jam and fruit (with remaining tea) and stir until just mixed.
  5. Divide into loaf pans and bake for 1 hour (or until a skewer poked in center comes out clean). (Check the smaller loaves at 45 minutes.)
  6. Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then gently turn them out and cool completely before storing in an airtight container (or wrap).
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