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Recipe: Use your loaf and add some fruit

We open the 1993 reader recipe column by inviting your ideas for breakfast dishes. British or exotic, we would like to hear about them. A shortlist of recipes will be test- cooked, winners selected and the recipes printed.

Those whose recipes we choose will win breakfast for two at a window table in the River Room of the Savoy. Continental and full English breakfasts are served weekdays from 7-10.30am and weekends from 8-10.30am. The dining room overlooks Embankment Gardens and the Thames. Send your recipes, stating the source if not original, to: Emily Green, Recipe, Weekend Features, the Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

The following contribution was found in something of a collector's item, a 1946 edition of The Best from Midwest Kitchens by Ada B Lothe, Breta L Griem and Ethel M Keating. These women, with their sturdy names and proud middle initials, were clearly keen bakers who had little time for false modesty. One recipe is titled 'A perfect loaf of bread'.

Its inclusion of sugar, butter and milk is not my idea of perfect bread, but the trio's cake-style loaves and muffins are classics. Here are two such fruit breads. To test the loaf after cooking, insert a skewer or sharp knife into the centre. If it comes out cleanly, the loaf is done. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm.

Orange Date Bread

Serves 8-10

Ingredients: the juice of 1 medium-sized orange, and its peel

boiling water

6-8 pitted dates

2tbs melted shortening (butter, fat or vegetable oil)

1tsp vanilla essence

1 egg, beaten

12oz/340g strong white flour

1/4 tsp salt

1tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

6oz/170g sugar

4oz/115g chopped nuts

Preparation: Place juice and any flesh from orange in measuring cup. Add boiling water until it reaches the 8oz/235ml mark. Pour into mixing bowl. Discard the pips and put the orange peel and dates through finest knife of the food chopper. Add to the orange juice and water. Mix well. Blend in melted shortening, vanilla and well-beaten egg. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sugar. Blend into fruit mixture. Add nuts. Pour into greased and floured bread pan. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes at 350F/180C/gas 4.

LIKE Irish soda bread, the following recipe requires sour milk, which reacts with the bicarbonate of soda to make the loaf rise. Use either milk that has gone slightly 'off', or sour fresh milk with 1/2 tsp lemon or vinegar.

Banana Bread

Serves 8-10

Ingredients: 1lb/450g strong white flour

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp salt

4oz/115g butter

6-8oz/170-225g sugar

2 eggs, well beaten

3-4 mashed bananas

4tbs sour milk

Preparation: Sift flour, soda and salt together three times. Cream butter and sugar. Add well-beaten eggs. Mash bananas with a fork and add to sour milk. Add alternately with flour to creamed mixture. When well blended, pour into a greased bread tin. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours at 350F/180C/gas 4.

(Photograph omitted)