Date, Walnut and Lemon Syrup Loaf

Good evening all from rainy Auckland!

I am home for the mid year uni holidays. I have been home a week and already I have watched three seasons of Greys Anatomy, baked four batches of cupcakes and two batches of cookies for Mum. I am bored of the basics and in need of something new and exciting. I really want to make a pink ombre pastel cake, that might be tomorrow's activity.

When I get bored at home, I pull out all of Mum's recipe books searching for inspiration and pretty pictures haha.

In today's Sunday Star Times' Sunday insert, there was a feature by Ray McVinnie. In this feature there was a recipe for these date, walnut and lemon syrup loaves. Since I am a fan of McVinnie's work I decided to give them a try. They looked so nicely styled in the photo.

I am so glad I gave them a go. Chris even liked them. The dates made it rich and moist and the sugar syrup goes crunchy on the top. All with a subtle lemony flavour going on in the background. Oh wait and the crunchy walnuts. Don't forget the walnuts!

Ray McVinnie's Date, Walnut and Lemon Syrup Loaf
(from Sunday 24.06.2012)

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1 cup chopped dried dates
1 egg
1 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup walnut pieces

Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water, then add the chopped dates. Let these soak.

Beat the egg and sugar together until thick and a pale yellow colour. Stir in the melted butter. Sieve in the flour and baking powder and add the lemon zest. Fold these in. Stir in the date mixture (including the water) and the walnuts.

Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Mix together the juice and zest of 1 large lemon and half a cup of caster sugar and pour this cold mixture over the hot loaf (as in as soon as it comes out of the oven hot).

Once cooled slightly, slice into nice chunky slices and cover in butter :) This is best served still warm and with a cup of tea.