Bran Loaf.

Bran Loaf.

21-04-2020Peter Clover

On Saturday May 2 the lockdown laws across Spain and the Balearics were alleviated
slightly, allowing adults some much welcomed freedom of movement. Mind you, I must
confess, I’m not exactly champing at the bit to get back ‘out there’, especially as I have a
sneaking suspicion that social distancing protocol amongst the locals will take a
downward ‘dive’ with over-excitement drawing people much closer to each other than
they should really be!

Majorcans like to stand almost nose to nose when they talk, just in case you can’t
hear them shouting, and socialising is such a massive part of Majorcan culture that I’m
certain the rules surrounding this sudden, limited freedom will be flouted.
The freedom in question is not a social passport, but supposed to be for exercise
only. Yet, from a spectacular vantage point where I can see across the village rooftops, I
have already witnessed gatherings of groups and friends, rapturously involved in close,
social intercourse, oblivious or conveniently ignorant that they are thoughtlessly breaking
the law! It could be argued that they are not hurting anyone, but in theory, they could be!

The UK are also about to announce that picnics and countryside walks are soon to
be allowed in the first stage of their own lockdown lift. People will be able to exercise
several times a day, head out to the countryside and enjoy picnics and barbeques with
friends! Hello! Isn’t that exactly what a lot of Brits have already been doing every week
back in Old Blighty, regardless of the rules?

Disappointed with some people’s general lack of commitment to sensible
protocol, I have decided to stay put for the moment, and am quite content at this time of
crisis, to be ensconced with Other Half at home, keeping busy and still enjoying life in
Majorca, albeit a life in lockdown.

Other half says the highlight of the day is lunch. And because there are no
appointments or deadlines to worry about at the moment, along with a non existent social
calendar, lunch has become rather special and more relaxed; plus we are tending to make
a bigger deal out of it these days. It’s like celebrating Sunday every day!

As we have finally sussed out the on-line food delivery services in our area, my
own personal highlight of the week is when a ‘delivery’ drops, and all the goodies we
chose at the digital market actually arrive at the door. Excitement mounts as we go
through the produce and see exactly what has or hasn’t arrived.

To get a delivery slot on-line you have to pre-order up to ten days in advance.
However, one of the downsides of home delivery is that you don’t always receive what
you order. You might get an alternative, if you specified, or sometimes a product is
simply out of stock so it’s missing off your list.

Shopping up to 10 days in advance we often forget exactly what we ordered, so
it’s always a nice surprise when it arrives. Plus, with all the time in the world to browse
the digital aisles, we are tending to try new things, or purchase products we have
completely forgotten about, or are difficult to find in the regular supermarket.

Imagine my delight when a jumbo box of Kellogs All Bran breakfast cereal
arrived! Why? You might ask! It’s not as if my bowels have come out in lockdown
sympathy. It’s just that with all this spare time on my hands I have been flicking back
through tried and trusted recipes, especially with the current trend for easy bakes and
treats with minimal ingredients, and came across an old favourite which did the rounds
decades ago and which I haven’t made for years. I had also forgotten how delicious it
was – Bran Loaf. Now, it doesn’t sound very exciting does it? But believe me, it’s a
sticky triumph. And sooooo simple. It’s not something you will find in a Nigella Lawson
recipe book as it doesn’t include ground unicorn’s horn, virgin yak’s milk, or any hard to
come by ingredients, although Kellogs All Bran at a push, could be classed as an exotic
extravagance!

Hopefully, you will have all the other ingredients to hand, but the All Bran can’t
really be substituted. Add it to your shopping list for next time, and then definitely give
this little gem a go. If you haven’t got an American cup measure you can use a regular
120g plastic yoghurt carton which is an approx ½ cup measure. Or any ordinary tea cup.
As long as you use the same vessel to measure all the ingredients it will be fine. Having
said that, if you use a bucket then your loaf is going to be HUGE! Here goes:

Sticky Bran Loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup All Bran, 1 cup milk, 1 cup self-raising flour or plain flour with1 tsp baking powder, 1 cup sultanas, 1 cup soft brown sugar (or less depending on your desired sweetness, although the sugar makes it nice and sticky), 1 heaped tsp of mixed spice. Few drops of vanilla essence (optional) and a standard 2lb loaf 'tin.

Method:

Grease and line your loaf tin with a strip of greaseproof paper for an easy
eviction. Pour All Bran and milk into a bowl and leave to stand for about 10 – 15 mins
allowing the milk to soak up the bran. Add the sugar and mix well. Add sultanas to flour
to coat the fruit then mix both into bran mix with spice and vanilla essence if using. Stir
well. The mixture should be thick, loose and wet. If it looks dry then add a little more
milk. It should easily drop off a spoon. Transfer the mixture to your loaf tin and bake for
just over 1hr at 180C. Test loaf after 1hr by inserting a wooden skewer through the
middle. If it comes out clean then the loaf is cooked, if not then leave it in a little longer.
Simples! Cool loaf for a few minutes in tin, and then turn out onto a rack until cold.
Enjoy sliced and spread with butter. Yummy! Wrap in tin foil and store in an airtight tin.
This loaf gets stickier and stickier as the days go by, although it doesn’t tend to hang
around very long in our house. We often have a slice for breakfast instead of toast.

This loaf is so easy to make I tend to knock one up quickly when I have the oven
on for something else. It’s a real winner, and any extra bran in your diet has got to be a bonus, especially if you’re being locked down in other areas through the stress of it all! Happy baking!

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