Jack Adair Bevan’s negroni bara brith
300g mixed dried fruit (e.g. sultanas, raisins, currants)
225ml hot oolong tea
25ml Jin Môr
100ml Martini Rosso or an inexpensive sweet vermouth
100g dark brown muscovado sugar
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 egg, beaten
butter, for greasing
The award-winning food and drink writer Jack Adair Bevan has been kind enough to share with us a handful of recipes this spring, celebrating some of Wales’ finest ingredients. This gin soaked take on a classic bara brith is as good as it sounds. Serve it with a slick of butter and generous pinch of Halen Môn sea salt.
From Jack – As a little boy, I lived for a year in a little cottage with my mum near a small seaside village called Dale, in Pembrokeshire. The rest of our family lived in Milford Haven and I can remember the older generations would use any excuse to bake Bara Brith. They would often leave it wrapped in a cotton tea towel outside the front door if nobody was home. I like to add Martini Rosso, gin and Campari and take out a little of the tea to give a little more depth to the overall flavour. Serve it with a thick spread of salty butter.
Put the dried fruit in a bowl and pour over the hot tea, Campari, gin and vermouth. Mix in the sugar and stir well to dissolve. Leave to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4) and grease a 900g loaf tin with butter.
Sift the flour and mixed spice into the soaked fruit with all of that wonderful liquid and stir in the beaten egg.
Mix thoroughly and pour the mixture into the greased tin. Bake for about 55 minutes, until the cake has risen and is cooked through. A knife inserted will come out clean when the bara brith is ready.
Leave to cool on a wire rack. You are supposed to leave the bread to mature for a couple of days, as if that’s going to happen!
We’d heartily recommend Jack’s book A Spirited Guide to Vermouth, which is full of his original recipes – from a Blood Orange Vermouth and Tonic to a Rosemary Bijou. It also has contributions from some of our favourite chefs, including Russell Norman, Olia Hercules, Gill Meller and Jeremy Lee.