Denise says:

Tu B’shvat, New Year for trees has many different traditions and customs. During the Middle Ages, the Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Lurie of Safed instituted a Tu B’shvat seder which has been recently revived and practised by many Jews, religious and secular. The main idea was that by eating different fruits and drinking 4 cups of wine according to their season we would appreciate G-ds bounty that we so often take for granted and the amazing world around us. Another custom suggested that when a baby was born, the parents planted a tree in its honour on the Tu B’shvat following the child’s birth. If the baby was a boy, a cedar tree was planted and if it was a girl, a cypress tree was planted. As the children grew so did the tree and when the children got married, the wood was used to make their chupah. As two trees were joined in the chupah so were the bride and groom in their marriage. This fruit and seed loaf is delicious to enjoy as part of the Tu B’shvat celebrations, or at a buffet tea or even for breakfast with cream cheese and topped with slices of oranges. It is a healthy recipe as the main sweetness comes from the dried fruits and it is also packed with a wide selection of ingredients high in fibre. Preparation Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 45 minutes Makes: 1 loaf


400ml hot strong coffee 100g dried figs – hard stalks removed – cut in half 140g sultanas 50g porridge oats 200g Self raising flour ½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda 100ml yoghurt - soya or regular - I like vanilla flavoured or use plain 50g brown sugar 100g mixed nuts – almonds, brazils, hazelnuts walnuts - roughly chopped 1 large egg Topping 1 tablespoon each – sunflower seeds and sesame seeds plus teaspoons to sprinkle 25g pumpkin seeds


1) Preheat the oven to 170C/350F/ Gas mark 4. 2) Pour the coffee into a large bowl and stir in the figs, sultanas and oats. Set aside to soak. 3) Line the base and sides of 1 kg loaf tin with baking parchment paper. 4) Mix together the flour, bicarbonate soda, brown sugar and nuts. 5) Beat the egg and yoghurt into the cooled fruit mixture,  then stir the dry ingredients into the wet. 6) Pour into the prepared tin, level off the top of the mixture  with the pumpkin and sesame seeds. 7) Bake for 45 minutes or until the cooked. 8) Leave to cool before removing from the tin. To serve the stylish way: Cut into slices, spread with cream cheese and serve with fruit.