1.Adjust oven shelves to fit an upright nut roll tin. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced). Grease lids and the inside of a 8cm x 20cm (3-inch x 8-inch) nut roll tin evenly with melted butter, place base lid on tin, position tin upright on an oven tray.
2.Stir butter and the water in a medium saucepan over low heat until butter melts. Remove from heat, stir in dates and soda, then remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into tin, tap tin firmly on bench to remove air pockets, position top lid.
3.Bake about 1 hour. Stand roll 5 minutes before removing lids. Shake gently to release roll onto a wire rack to cool slightly. Slice the roll and serve, warm or cold, with butter.
Tall 850ml (8cm x 17cm) (3-inch x 6¾-inch) fruit juice cans make good nut roll tins. Use a can opener that cuts just below the rims to cut one end from the can. Wash and dry the can thoroughly before greasing well. Use a double-thickness of foil to cover the top of the can and secure with string; slash a hole in the top of the foil to allow steam to escape during baking. The nut roll tins (or fruit juice cans) need to be coated thickly with melted butter so the roll won’t stick to the inside of the tin. Don’t use cooking-oil spray, as this doesn’t give a good enough coating and the roll will stick and be hard to turn out.