Did you know that January is celebrated as “National Hot Tea Month”? I didn’t! As a member of a tea-loving Facebook group, I discover all sorts of information that only passionate tea-lovers know and share. And as the author of Teatime in Ireland, I do know that tea plays an important role in Ireland and that sharing a cup with friends is a legitimate social event, making tea-drinking a great way to connect. In the introduction to my cookbook, I suggest that that in Ireland all roads lead to tea; “From breakfast and lunch breaks to weddings and wakes, a cupan tae is always a welcome guest. Irish tea is far more than just a hot drink to go with a scone and jam: it’s an important custom that serves as a symbol of hospitality, friendship, and pleasure. Some say the Irish people have a relationship with tea that “transcends the ordinary” — hyperbole, perhaps, but given that the average person in Ireland drinks four to six cups of tea, perhaps not!” Here’s a delicious recipe to enjoy with your tea, one of more than 70 available in my cookbook. To order a signed copy, visit irishcook.com.

ORANGE TEA LOAF

Makes 1 loaf

            This not-too-sweet tea loaf comes together in a matter of minutes. You can serve it unadorned, tart it up a bit with marmalade glaze, or make it sweeter with a drizzle made with confectioners’ sugar and orange juice. If you choose to sweeten with the glaze, you might also like to add some candied orange slices .

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup sunflower oil

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

1/3 cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 tablespoon orange marmalade mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for glazing

Steps:

     * Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan and dust with flour; tap out excess.

     * In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, oil, and eggs. With a wooden spoon, fold in flour and then stir in orange juice and zest.

     * Transfer mixture to prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and then return to upright.

     * In a small bowl, heat marmalade and water in a microwave on HIGH for 20 to 25 seconds, or until runny; brush marmalade over top of warm cake (optional). Let cool completely before cutting into slices.

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Tags: Baking, Cooking, Irish Kitchen, Irish cooking, Meals, Recipes

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