Date slice

I made these for myself really because I love the ones they sell in my local wholefoods shop and I've never quite been able to recreate the sticky gooeyness of them. This is pretty close and had the added bonus of one of the two children liking them too - hidden dates - hurrah!

225g (8oz) chopped dates
150ml water
1 tsp vanilla essence
175g (6oz) plain wholemeal flour
175g (6oz) porridge oats
175g (6oz) butter
75g (3oz) demerera sugar
2 tbsp cold water

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Line a 20cm x 30cm swiss roll tin with baking parchment.

Put the dates into a saucepan with the water and heat gently for 5-10 minutes until the dates are mushy. Remove from the heat and mash with a spoon to make a thick purée, looking out for and removing any stray stones. Stir in the vanilla essence. Set aside to cool.

Sift the flour into a bowl, adding also the residue of bran from the sieve and the oats.

Rub in the butter with your fingertips or a fork, then add the sugar and water, and press the mixture together to form a dough.

Press half this mixture into the lined tin, spread the cooled date purée on top, then cover evenly with the remaining oat mixture. Press down gently but firmly.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool in the tin, then mark into sections and remove with a spatula.

Recipe from Rose Elliot.