Cleaning out my refrigerator yesterday I realised I had a couple of packets of dried dates.What I had bought them for I don’t know. But lately I have been reading a lot about minimalist lifestyles. Not that I could live that way, but there is a lot to be said for living with less and not giving in to consumerism. Maybe the dates were on special and I couldn’t pass them up. What a waste if they aren’t used. I love to have a very well stocked pantry and refrigerator so much so that a friend once looked into my pantry and called to her daughter. “Come and look, it’s just like a supermarket!” I need to curb some of my spending, I think.
So, now I am on a mission to use and not waste what I have. Cook with what’s in the pantry/refrigerator. Yes, a bit of a mystery box challenge, if you like.
Hmmm, what to do with my dates….then I remembered an old Australian classic,
 the Date and Nut Roll. This is an old recipe that I have been using for more than 25 years so I’m not sure where is originated. I have it jotted down in a notebook where I wrote many recipes before my marriage 26 years ago.

For this cake, special baking tins are required. The cake is not “rolled” but baked in a cylindrical baking tin which is sealed at both ends resulting in the cake sort of steaming and baking at the same time. These tins are a little hard to get a hold of but if you do look after them and treat them with care. They are usually made out of tin and can rust easily. Once I remove the cake after baking I quickly wash the tins then place them back into the still warm oven to completely dry. Moisture is a major factor in these tins rusting. 
Hope you like this and if you are Australian, that it brings back fond memories.

Date and Nut Roll Cake (makes 2 nut rolls)

Ingredients
1 cup chopped dried dates
1/2 cup sultanas
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarb soda)
30g butter
1 cup boiling water, from the kettle
1 egg, beaten a little
2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon mixed spice
pinch salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a bowl place dates, sultanas, sugar, baking soda and butter.

Pour over boiling water, mix and let stand until cool

Once cool mix in egg, flour, spice and walnuts.

Mix until it is just combined.

Butter the nut roll tins well ensuring both lids are coated. Seal one end of each tin and place on a baking tray. Fill each with half of the mixture ( it will rise). Seal with the top lid. Keep tins upright and on the baking tray (makes it easier to transfer to the oven and remove). Bake at 175C for 55 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the top lid and breathe in the delicious, sweet and spicy goodness
Carefully remove the bottom seal and shake out gently. 
This picture is deceiving. It looks like a tall muffin but…
..is a long cake. 
Cool on a rack.
This is a delicious almost wholesome cake so I’m sure a lick of butter is ok!

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