nan’s date + walnut loaf

I’m so pumped for the weekend. We’ve got a friends engagement party on Saturday night and Meemar and Grandad are in town to babysit.

This means a couple of things. Firstly, that I’m spending the day in the kitchen as what better way to make a guest feel welcome than by having a house full of food. Secondly, the girls are over the moon, waking up at the crack of dawn due to the excitement of having them here (as well as Uncle Richard, and Aunty’s Ali, Lou and Julia.) And thirdly, it guarantees that Cork Daddy and I are going to have one hell of a hangover come Sunday morning.

So this date and walnut loaf is the perfect thing to have handy come ‘cup of tea o’clock’. And talk about a tried and tested recipe; it stems from my Great Grandmother, Evelyn McManus. Apparently it’s been handed around Mim’s bridge club due to popular demand and I can see why. It’s so easy to make and tastes delicious. It’s not too sweet and I guess you could say that it’s kind of like banana bread. In the sense that you can enjoy it come morning or afternoon tea (or anytime in between for that matter).


Using 8 simple ingredients, it’s prepared in a saucepan, taking next to no time to whip up. I’ve made a few small changes to Nan’s recipe, being that I sprinkled some crushed walnuts over the top and I didn’t need to cook it for 50 minutes as her recipe states. (Note the amount of colour my loaf has).

I’m just popping another one in to the oven as we speak as I must admit, the first didn’t last very long. Annabelle loves it just as much as me it seems.

A slice of this washed down with a cup of tea is what I imagine the olden days to be like. Simple, honest, no-fuss food that goes down just as well now as it would of back in the day. So good, I wouldn’t be surprised if my girls are making this for me when I come to babysit their kids.

I hope so anyway.

nan’s date + walnut loaf

1 x cup of brown sugar
60 grams of butter
1 x cup of pitted dates, chopped
1 x cup of water
2 x cups of self raising flour
1/4 cup of walnuts, chopped, plus extra for sprinkling on top
1/4 teaspoon of bi-carb soda
1 x egg
Butter, to serve

  • Preheat the oven to 180℃ and grease and line a loaf tin or small square tin with baking paper.
  • In a saucepan, bring the sugar, butter, dates and water to the boil and cook whilst stirring for 3 minutes.
  • Let this cool down.
  • Stir in the flour, walnuts, bi-carb soda and egg.
  • Pour and scrape in to the prepared tin using a spatula.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes* or until a cake skewer comes out clean.
  • Serve with some butter and a hot cuppa.

Lo’s tips

  • *My sister Ali says that she puts foil over the loaf for the first 15 minutes or so of the baking time. As with a lot of old recipes, I find that I have to cook things for a lot less time as stated on the original recipe. This must be due to my oven being a lot stronger.
  • Keeps well in an airtight container for a couple of days.
  • Can also be frozen.

If you make this date and walnut loaf, please leave your comments below. xx

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