There is whispers of spring in the air... it's trying to break through these murky days of overcast and dreary clouds and chilly winds. I love to see the trees and plants slowly coming back to life with buds and leaves slowly unfolding to begin a new cycle of growth.
Th flowers are getting ready to burst forth when spring truly arrives. To show off their glorious display of colour and foliage. It's mother natures fashion show really and it's my most favourite time of year. Knowing that the cold winter days are behind us for another year is a relief - to say the least. Winter is not my favourite season at all. Mind you the only thing I do like is the comfort food during these months. .
Boy does my body know it when spring rolls around! I end up with a few extra curves than I started the season off with. Oh well. Now that spring is on it's way it's time to get some recipes under your belt ready for the picnic season. I love sitting out in the sunshine, on a clear blue skied day, picnic blanket underfoot and a nice lunch spread out before me and my hubby. Sitting back relaxing and enjoying each other's company and a good picnic lunch and if your feeling indulgent a glass of wine in hand!
The basics of a good picnic basket must be food that can either be eaten with your hand, or easily packaged to be eaten with minimal fuss, easily transported, food safety kept in mind and it must TASTE good! I thought this loaf would make a fantastic addition to any picnic hamper in the spring and summer season to come. It's easy to make, tastes REALLY good and makes a nice light lunch when served with a nice soft cheese such as Brie.
What is it you may ask? Well it's a Zucchini, Cranberry & Walnut Bread. It's something a bit different to your normal run of the mill nut and fruit breads and with the addition of zucchini and cranberries it's packed full of goodness... if you kindly turn a blind eye to the amount of sugar that's in it! All in moderation I say.
Zucchini, Walnut & Cranberry Bread
2 2/3 cups Plain Flour
1 Tsp Bicarbonate Soda
½ Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Cinnamon
¼ Tsp Mixed Spice
1 1/3 cups Caster Sugar*
½ firmly packed cup Brown Sugar
3 Eggs, beaten
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
200ml Sunflower Oil
200ml Sunflower Oil
3 large Zucchini, grated
¾ cup Walnuts, toasted, chopped
Plus 6 whole Walnuts to garnish.
1/3 cup Dried Cranberries (Craisins)
Soft Cheese (Such as brie), to serve
*You can probably add less of the sugar if you would like.
Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a 2-Litre loaf pan.
Sift flour, soda baking powder and spices into a large bowl.
Stir in sugars, and then add egg, oil, vanilla extract, grated zucchini, walnuts, cranberries and a pinch of salt.
Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined, then spread into the prepared pan and top with extra walnuts.
Bake in middle shelf of oven for 1- 1 ¼ hours or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool slightly in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Slice and serve with cheese.
This loaf would also make a great addition to brunch with friends and family served with fresh fruit and coffee of course. If you don't like soft cheese then a good slather of butter also works well on this loaf. It keeps for a good week in a air tight container and would also freeze really well.
Also don't forget to enter the Coco & Milo Cushion giveaway for your chance to win not one but TWO gorgeous cushions. The competition finishes up on Thursday 1st September and the winner announced on Friday the 2nd September.
What's your favourite thing to pack in a picnic hamper?