Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruit cake, which I used to get in my school lunchbox around Halloween every year. Traditionally, a ring is baked into the cake, and there would be great excitement every year as to who would get the slice with the ring in it. I always like to think it was Barmbrack that inspired the writers of Father Ted to come up with the episode where Mrs. Doyle bakes a jumper into a cake! This recipe makes a really beautiful, moist loaf, packed with flavour from the mixed spice and dried fruit, which has sat overnight in cold tea and whiskey to soak up all the goodness.
Any time you ask my dad about food he always brings up oxtail. I’m fairly sure it would be his dessert island dish. When he tried out this recipe, he told me it was "bloody great!" so I think it got his seal of approval! If you haven’t cooked oxtail before the aim is to cook them until the meat just falls off the bone. I serve mine sitting proudly on top of some creamy colcannon mash.