Tales of seeds and weeds ... and a cake.

Several weeks ago, mr digandweed emptied out the contents of the compost bin on the allotment and I spent a back breaking hour sieving it to remove the stones (how do stones get into the compost?) and larger bits of debris. The result was a stiff back and a big mound of lovely compost.
I felt sure that Monty Don would have approved. The compost was like powdered chocolate. You could have sprinkled it on your cappuccino!

I lovingly spread it over some of the raised beds and sowed some parsnip seeds.
I was thrilled some days later to see tiny shoots appearing. I carefully watered them and stood back flushed with pride.
But it soon became apparent that, like the mother bird who carefully tends her chick only to find out too late that it is an imposter in the form of a cuckoo, I had in fact been carefully nurturing a myriad of tiny WEEDS!
My beautiful compost had obviously been full of dormant weed seeds which under my care had sprung into life and as a result I had a thick patch of varied and very healthy 'imposters'!
Down on hands and knees, I carefully searched the area for any seedling that might resemble a parsnip, but found none.
So in desperation and feeling not a little cross, I pulled up the lot!
I have now planted more rows of parsnip seeds.
This time, I will be carefully scrutinising the seedlings as they appear.

Now, this sorry tale has nothing to do with the cake I made, except that a piece of cake makes everything seem better!
And this cake, as you may have guessed, had figs in it.
The original recipe from a Marks and Spencer Count on us recipe book called for apricots, but since I had no apricots I used figs instead.

Once the fruit has been soaked, the recipe is very quick and easy. Just a brief whizz in the food processor is all that is needed.

The ingredients are:
50g ready to eat dried apricots or figs, roughly chopped
50g ready to eat dried prunes, roughly chopped
50g raisins
300ml strong tea,cooled, no milk
225g plain white flour
2 x 2tsp baking powder
1tsp ground ginger
125g muscovado sugar
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180c/gas 4
Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
Soak the dried fruit in the tea for at least 2 hours.
Put all the other ingredients into a food processor and blend to mix. Add the fruit and soaking liquid and blend again.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until cooked.
Cool on a wire rack and then enjoy.

The result is a cake which I like to think is relatively healthy with a texture and taste not unlike malt loaf.

The sun is out in the Cambridgeshire fens as I write. I hope it is with you too.
Happy weekend !


  1. Mmm, the cake looks delicious. Lots of weeds spring up here as well, especially at this time of year, they're turbo charged. Good job on the compost sifting though! Wishing you a good weekend. CJ xx

  2. I wish I could pop round the cake looks delicious. The sun is out here too but the winds are quite strong so it is making it quite cold. Have a great weekend.

  3. Yum! Cake does make everything better, even weeds!

  4. Oh, sorry to hear about the weeds! Hope the anticipated parsnips come along soon - and turning to cake at times of crisis is always a good idea. It looks delicious.

  5. That sounds like a wonderful cake. Good luck with the parsnips. I had a dozen sugar snap pea plants and managed to harvest four peas last week, went away for the weekend and have come back to find virtually all the plants have been munched. Growing veg can be very frustrating!

  6. Awww, bless! But I bet those were the sturdiest little weeds after all that tlc. The fruit loaf looks delish. I never think of baking with figs (my fallback is dates) so must give them a try.

  7. Lovely cake! Am also very impressed that you sieved your compost, ours goes on lumps and all!


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