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It has been a beautifully sunny day, but there was a certain chill in the air early this morning and a light mist rolling over the fields. It is getting to the time where comfort food is on the menu. There is a pan of carrot and lentil soup on the go, bread proving on the side and fruit is soaking for Bara Brith.

Bara Brith (speckled bread) is a traditional Welsh bread, flavoured with spices and packed with dried fruits which have been soaked in tea overnight. There are many different recipes for this lovely tea bread, each family having their own version, some with yeast and some without, and I guess that varying the tea used would ring the changes too, and it has been known to add a little alcohol (for medicinal purposes, obviously). So, in a bowl I have candied orange and lemon peel, sultanas and currants all soaking in strong tea. The problem with making something like this is the waiting, something I am really not good at. Once I have made the Bara Brith, I will have eggs left over so I am trying to decide between Lemon Curd or Lemon Meringue Pie. I love both, but have never made Lemon Meringue Pie before, and it would be another pastry making attempt.

The last time I made pastry, a couple of weeks ago, it was not too bad. I had only made shortcrust pastry a couple of times before, many, many moons ago, and it was not a huge success. Although it tasted fine, it was far too short and just crumbled, which is not helpful when you want it to hold in a filling. I had always intended to master pastry making, but had not got around to it. Bread making came first, and making decent scones came next and then pastry. Once you have mastered the art, the options are limitless – short crust pastry, flaky pastry, chocolate pastry, sweet fillings, savoury fillings, croissants, open pies, pies with lids on – the choice is yours.

So tomorrow, speckled bread followed by something lemony and photos to follow.

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