From Mum’s Old Recipe Book: Mystery Sister Tea Brack

I’ve called it that because it’s in one of the sisters’ handwriting but I can’t decide which. They both went through a cramped, backward-slanting gothic phase, as in fact did Mum (she was briefly learning calligraphy from a retired drama-school headmistress who lived down the road). Since the cost is given in ‘s’ and ‘d’ it must be pre the 1971 decimalisation.

TEA BRACK – dated 5th August, no year

  • Cost: about 4s 2d
  • Approximate preparation time: 15 mins (plus overnight standing)
  • Cooking time: 2 hours


  • 8 ozs (ounces) sultanas, cleaned
  • 8 ozs currants, cleaned
  • 8 ozs soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 pint medium-strength cold tea (plenty of that swilling around in the UK)
  • 1 lb (pound) self-raising flour
  • 4 tablespoons milk


  • Put fruit, sugar and tea in a bowl. Soak overnight
  • Next day, turn on oven: set at moderate, 375º F, Mark 5 (gas)
  • Grease a round 8 in (inch) tin; line base with greaseproof paper and grease the paper
  • Sift the flour into bowl of fruit. Add milk and beat
  • Turn into prepared tin. Bake in centre of pre-heated oven for 2 hours.
  • Cool on a rack

I’ve sorted it out and bullet-pointed it to make it less cramped-looking on the page, and easier to follow.

Enjoy 🙂

PS: if you’re wondering where the word ‘brack’ comes from, it’s a short form of barm brack, an Irish recipe upon which there are many variations (including this one). In Irish gaelic it’s bairín breac. So now you know.


5 thoughts on “From Mum’s Old Recipe Book: Mystery Sister Tea Brack

    1. Hi Maggie, sorry I hit a bizarre sequence of buttons just now and believe I accidentally trashed your question and my complicated answer. All my hideous school maths terrors came back in a great rush!! But for you, I’ll try.

      To me an ounce (as opposed to a ‘fluid ounce’) is a measurement of dry weight. You would measure your flour, currants etc in ounces (oz) on a set of scales. An ounce is 1/16 of a pound (lb). I looked it up on the internet and an ounce is equivalent to about 28.35 grams.

      A fluid ounce is for stuff like milk and eggs and you would use a measuring jug with fluid ounces marked on a scale up one side.

      Nowadays some people use Metric measurements – grams, kilograms etc (weight) and litres, millilitres etc (volume), some still use the old Imperial system and some use both or either. It depends how old you are, or how old the person was when they were writing out the recipe!

      If someone else can explain this better or wants to correct anything, please do. Just don’t hit me with a rolled up maths exercise book, pleeese?

      Liked by 2 people

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