After a long walk with the dogs, we like nothing better than to curl up with a book, a cup of tea and a fire in the fireplace. Of course, one never wishes to have what the Irish peculiarly call a “dry cup of tea”, an expression I’ve never been able to understand, but which means that the tea should be accompanied by something to eat.

To ward off this dreaded state, we keep a tin of gingersnaps to hand. Better yet are the occasions when I’ve been in an ambitious mood, and we have Date & Nut Loaf, preferably paired with a piece of crumbly cheddar cheese. This recipe is from Williams Sonoma, and it produces a lovely, moist and very flavourful loaf.  I often make three small loaves using their mini-loaf pans, rather than making one large one.  That way, one can freeze two of them for future treats, or take one along as a hostess gift.