Nashville Part 2 & Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Bread

This post has been a long time coming.  Way back in November I posted Nashville Part 1 and for the last 5 months I have been meaning to share some more of our trip to the deep south, especially as I gave the suggestion there would be no doubt a Part 2.  Yesterday we had afternoon tea with our neighbours who were giving us the run down on a few good restaurants in downtown Boulder and a place called Lucile’s Creole Cafe was suggested for Creole cusine, which I have yet to explore, and southern style breakfasts such as Buttermilk Biscuits, Shrimp & Grits etc.  This reminded me of all the southern food we had in Tennessee.


One of the trip highlights for me was having lunch at Arnold’s in Nashville.  Arnold’s is a meat and veg diner which is only open on weekdays with a set menu for each day of the week.  We had to line up for a fair while but it was part of the experience and gave us the opportunity to check out everyone else’s trays and what they were eating.  The staff were bustling around and were encouraging the customers to befriend each other at the long communal table.  There were big cups full of iced tea and plastic trays loaded with fried chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens, fried catfish, fried green tomatoes, black eyed peas and my favourite, a baked squash.  There were also pies and I think we had a chocolate cream pie but I didn’t get much as the kids demolished it.  The food tasted like it was loaded with salt and fat but the whole experience was incredibly fun and I would go again and again if my arteries didn’t get a say.


We experienced our first Thanksgiving with family and Joel’s brother and sister-in-law put on an incredible feast.  Ben was in charge of the turkey and roasted it to perfection – I need a lesson.  Rachel was super organised and made so many dishes using recipes from her family and some from The Pioneer Woman.  The Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie was my favourite and Rachel shared the recipe with me but I have yet to cook it.  I’ll be sure to make it for Thanksgiving this year.

Thanksgiving FeastThanksgiving FeastThanksgiving feast

Another recipe that Rachel shared with me was for Cranberry Bread.  It is essentially a loaf cake and it is really simple to make and very yummy, especially when it is still warm from the oven.  Fresh cranberries were plentiful around Thanksgiving.  Cranberry season starts late October but I’m sure you could use frozen cranberries if fresh ones aren’t available.

Cranberry Bread

On our final day in Tennessee we all went to Loveless Cafe for a hearty feed of biscuits and gravy, fried chicken and bottomless coffee.  And when it was time to go home it was hard to resist all the pies so I bought some to try and for the life of me I can’t remember what they were.  I think one was a Coconut Cream Pie but I’m not 100% sure.  I think the reason my memory is a little fuzzy is that I needed to block that food memory out.  I started to feel very sick that evening and felt horrible for the next 24 hours which included our flight back to California.

Loveless Cafe, NashvilleBiscuits Loveless Cafe Biscuits and GravyFried Chicken, Fried Green Tomatoes and Mac & CheeseLoveless CafeLoveless CafeLoveless CafeLoveless CafeLoveless CafeLoveless CafeLoveless CafeLoveless Cafe

When we had first arrived in Tenessee, Joel’s brother had been feeling unwell.  But it wasn’t until I decided to treat all our kids plus my little niece to an evening at the movies that I realised that it must be contagious.  My poor niece was sick right at the end of the movie which had me and 5 kids pushing past the big bathroom line to get the poor girl cleaned up.  Over the next few days Tilly and Levi also picked up the tummy bug and neither of them want to eat a Thanksgiving feast again.  For me, I don’t think I can eat biscuits and gravy again and I can’t even bring myself to write about them.  Suffice it to say, we loved our meal at Loveless Cafe and it was incredibly fun but I’ll have to order something different in future.  Anyway, what extended family holiday isn’t complete without a contagious tummy bug! Thankfully it only really affected our appetites and everyone was well enough to get around and see lots.

One cafe that I really liked was Frothy Monkey as they had delicious lattes.  The kids loved their steamers and one evening my curiousity got the better of me and I had to try their Rosemary Honey Latte.  It was not good, but it wasn’t bad. I guess it was just interesting and I didn’t mind the herbal hit.  But I do prefer my lattes to consist of just coffee and milk.

Rosemary Honey Latte

On our last afternoon, Rachel and I took the kids to Carnton Plantation for a tour of the house and a walk through the gardens.  A beautiful place with incredible history.  I really wish I could go and visit the gardens in the late Spring as I’m sure they would be beautiful. The skies in Nashville were very grey while we were there and it was a strong contrast to the blue skies that greeted us in California when we got home.

Carnton PlantationCarnton PlantationCarnton Plantation Carnton PlantationCarnton Plantation

I loved our time in Tennessee but left feeling that is just so much more to see so hopefully we can return.  I particularly enjoyed time with my sister-in-law who shares a love for cooking and pointed me in the direction for some Southern style recipe books.  I purchased three books mostly because the titles were so enticing – Bless Your Heart – Saving the World One Covered Dish at a Time; You Be Sweet -Sharing Your Heart One Down-Home Dessert at a Time; At My Grandmother’s Table – Heartwarming Stories & Cherished Recipes from the South.

All three books are delightful and they’ve opened my eyes to a whole new food world. There are lots of recipes that just don’t appeal to me (usually involving cans of crescent rolls, miracle whip or instant pudding mix) but I enjoy the read and some of the recipe titles just make me want to cook them:- No Flames, No Fuss, Easy Bananas Foster; Best Thing You Ever Put In Your Mouth Yellow Cake With Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing; Strawberries On A Cloud; Make Ya Wanna Slap Your Grandma Chocolate Cobbler.

Out of all these new recipes I am really enjoying this Cranberry Bread and will be making it again and again.  Thanks Rachel!

Cranberry Bread

 cranberry bread

2 cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp grated orange rind
¾ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1 cup fresh cranberries, whole
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degree F) and grease a loaf tin.

Mix together the dry ingredients and make a well in the center. Mix in oil, orange rind, juice and egg until blended then fold in cranberries and pecans.

Bake for one hour and 10 minutes.

This entry was posted in Afternoon Tea, Baking, Bread, Cakes. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Nashville Part 2 & Cranberry Bread

  1. Rachel Hockey says:

    Poor Levi and Tilly! I had forgotten about that awful sickness. I have had to stop eating all gluten due to my autoimmune disease. It hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it might be but seeing this bread makes me hungry! I can imagine perfectly how it smells and tastes warm from the oven and so moist. Mmm!

    • natalie says:

      Perhaps you had better start working on a gluten-free version of this bread then! I don’t know if that is easier said than done though. xxx

  2. Brooke says:

    Mmmmm yummy! What a great holiday… Except for the throwing up of course. Sad that you can’t even think about biscuits and gravy. Everything in America looks so colourful, despite the fall and the grey skies. I have subscribed to a couple of US cooking mags – Taste of Home (love that one – all reader contributed recipes) and Every Day with Rachael Ray – also a good one. The US style of cooking is so different to our staple dishes in Australia, I have enjoyed making a gumbo and pulled pork, burgers etc at home. Funny how the same ingredients we always have in the fridge can be used in different combinations to make totally different foods! My latest favourite is zucchini bread. Yummy.

    • natalie says:

      Yes US style is different. Even at bake sales. We were just up at school tonight for a concert (Tilly was playing the ukelele!) and there was a bake sale and it is just different to Australia – mostly because very little is home baked. Wow you have been busy cooking! I have never even eat a gumbo so I should make sure I do this year!

  3. Wow what a wonderful post! Love learning about places I have never been before, especially in the USA. I feel inspired! And cranberry bread? Fantastic!

  4. Mittnay says:

    I know this is almost a month after you posted this – but I had to pipe up and say … as a former Californian who moved to North Carolina – I’ve done a lot of learning about Southern food. One gift I give to many of my friends who come south to visit is this book, “A Love Affair with Southern Cooking – Recipes and Recollections”, by Jean Anderson. I highly recommend it – because of the history (and great food) contained between its covers.

    Brooke up-above voices the same thought I have about Australian food. I asked a dear friend from Brisbane to bring me Lyle’s Golden Syrup – and a recipe book of his choice. He was spot-on with the Lyles syrup … but I was slightly disappointed in his choice of cookbooks … “Women’s Weekly 1000 Best-Ever recipes from AWW” is a great book – but it doesn’t feel like the Australian “style” of cooking … more like a great example of “world recipes cooked in Oz”. 🙂

    I loved reading your impressions of CA – and can’t wait to see CO through your eyes.

    • natalie says:

      Thanks for the book recommendation! I will look that up. You can get Lyle’s Golden Syrup on Amazon – which I have found very handy as I make batches of Anzac biscuits quite often. Australia is such a young country and our cooking is heavily influenced by England, Italy, Greece, South-East Asia and so many more places. We take these influences and make the food our own. I cannot think of one cookbook that is quintesentially Australian. Stephanie Alexander’s book The Cooks Companion is the kitchen bible in most Australian cooks kitchens but her food has a large French influence and some Asian influences. But if you were to choose one book then I would go for that one. But I can understand why your Brisbane friend didn’t get it for you – it weighs a tonne!

  5. Sharolyn says:

    I love that sign for Carol Fay’s Biscuits. I also notice a photograph of the stuffing on a tray. I LOVE the way stuffing is a dish in itself and doesn’t necessarily go inside the turkey. It seems to miss the point a little… but is very delicious! Now I think about it… I could use my loaf of stale bread for some stuffing tomorrow, thanksgiving style, why not? We have tried it with all kinds of goodies like sausage and apple and cranberries mixed in. I so look forward to swapping stories with you in person some day soon Natalie and sharing all those funny words like ‘biscuits’ which can cause confusion in North America. x

    • natalie says:

      I had heard references to ‘dressing’ but wasn’t sure what it was. Now I know it is stuffing. And better still stuffing cooked separately which makes it much more appealing to me. It was my favourite dish from Thanksgiving. I look forward to exchanging recipes and memories with you too Sharolyn!

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