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I left the house on a typical British summer morning, not too warm, not too cold to finish work at 4pm to find the weather had suddenly turned autumnal and I can’t believe I’m about to say this but I ended up putting on the heat when I came home, just to take the chill out of my bones!

On my way home I started to think all things autumnal, even Christmasy and one thing came into my mind – my dad’s Bajan Coconut Sweet Bread.   This is something that is often made at Christmas time and is most enjoyable with a cup of tea or hot chocolate.  It seems to me that every Christmas he makes this bread and gives each one of us a loaf.   I love it with a thick slice of ham and a splash of Bajan hot pepper sauce on top.

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Ingredients:

Makes 1 large or two small loaves:

  • 175g or 6oz or 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 115gm or 4oz or 2/3 cup demerara sugar
  • 225gm or 8oz or 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 200gm or 7oz or 2 cups plain flour
  • 115gm or 4oz dessicated coconut
  • 5ml or 1tsp mixed spice
  • 10ml or 2tsp vanilla essence
  • 15ml or 1tbsp rum (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • about 150ml or 1/4 pint or 2/3 cup milk
  • 15ml or 1 tbsp caster sugar, blended with 30ml or 2 tbsp water, to glaze

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c or 350°F or Gas mark 4.  Grease two 450gm or a 1lb loaf tin or one 900gm or 2lb tin.
  2. Place the butter or margarine and sugar in a large bowl and sift in the flour.  Rub the ingredients together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the coconut, mixed spice, vanilla essence, rum if using, eggs and milk and mix together well with your hands.  If the mixture is too dry, moisten with milk.  Knead on a floured board until firm and pliable.
  4. Halve the mixture and place in the prepared loaf tins.  Glaze with sugared water and bake for 1 hour until the loaves are cooked.  The loaves are ready when a skewer comes out clean.

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