I love coffee. I love really good coffee even more. Sometimes I will drink bad coffee if the other option is no coffee at all. You see a trend here?
As far back as I can remember it's been that way. I can't imagine the start of any day without it's super giving powers. It doesn't help that I am not a morning person. What does help of course is a little caffeine to get the brain ticking. Sometime ago, I read an article about a study that said that caffeine in the morning provided no more alertness than eating an apple first thing in the morning. I tried eating an apple. I'm sure their study was faltered.
While I have my favourites I go back to time and again, I don't really discriminate. Short black espressos, cappuccinos, lates, piccollos, macchiatos all get their turn.
I don't consider myself a coffee snob but I do have some rules I live by. No flavourings or syrups. Ever. And no coffee after 4pm if I intend getting any sleep that night.
Most of the time I am happy to sip a cup of coffee unaccompanied. However one of my favourite treats is a simple, unadorned and not too sweet piece of cake to go with my cup of coffee. Step in this pecan and date loaf. It's not overly sweet but sweet enough, and while it is a loaf it's near enough to being a cake. It can be eaten spread with a little butter or even some butter with cinnamon mixed in it is lovely. Or just plain as is my want most of the time.
Date & pecan loaf
Adapted from recipe by Alison Turner – Good Taste, July 1998
200gm pitted dates
½ cup brown sugar
2 cups SR flour
2 tsp mixed spice
¾ cup pecans, chopped
1. In a saucepan over low heat, add the dates, butter, sugar and water until the sugar is fully dissolved. Set aside and cool for about 15 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 170 C. Grease a loaf pan approx 10cm x 19cm
3. Place the date mixture into a food processor and process until fine.
4. Place date mixture into a mixing bowl.
5. Add the flour, mixed spice, eggs and pecans. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
6. Pour the batter into the greased loaf tin and bake for approx 50-55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when loaf is pierced in the centre.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the loaf tin for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack.
8. Serve spread with butter or flavoured cinnamon butter if desired.