Happy Paddy’s Day!
I’m off home to see the folks for a few days, but seeing as it’s Paddy’s I thought I’d tempt you with a nice, easy and traditional recipe to celebrate.
The lovely Spudness from The Daily Spud runs a fantastic Paddy’s Day Food Parade, so pop over to Spud Towers to check out all the other recipes.
This is an adaptation of one of Rachel Allen’s recipes, but as usual I’ve had a little fiddle. I know. I can’t help myself. Soda bread is still the staple for many an Irish household, and this recipe is a great basis for all sorts of additions. You can add seeds, nuts, dried fruit (use only 1 tsp salt if you make it sweet), even chocolate chips.
It doesn’t keep well, being yeast-free, but if you slice it and freeze it, you can toast it straight from frozen (if it lasts that long). If you’ve never made your own bread this is a great place to start, as there’s no rising or kneading. And the mud pie element of this makes it perfect to cook with children too!
Traditional Irish Soda Bread
100g white bread flour
450g wholemeal flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp salt
400ml buttermilk (or mix whole milk with the juice of 1/2 lemon)
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp treacle
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/gas 6 and oil a loaf tin. Now put the flour in a bowl and sieve in the bicarb (omit this step at your peril – nasty green lumps don’t give this a St Patrick’s day feel – they just look gross). Add the salt and stir it all together.
Now, measure out the milk and squeeze in the lemon, or just use buttermilk. Add in the egg, oil and – while you have a nice oily spoon – the treacle. Whisk this lot together until it forms a completely revolting-looking brown gooey liquid (persevere, the treacle takes time to mix in). Now, just slosh the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix into a big wet mud pie.
Flop your muddy mixture into a buttered loaf tin, then pop it into the preheated oven and sit back while your entire kitchen fills with the gorgeous aroma of baking bread. As usual, make sure the loaf is done by tapping its bottom (ooer) and making sure it sounds hollow, otherwise give it a bit longer. You might need to cover the top if it’s getting too brown.
Serve warm with lashings of Irish butter and a big blob of home made jam. Or, you can add a slice to the pan after you’ve been cooking the bacon and scoff it, dipped in runny egg of course, with your big durty fry-up. Mmmmmmm.
And finally, I’ll share with you the beautiful Irish blessing that my lovely friend Jen sent me today:
May luck be our companion
May friends stand by our side
May history remind us all
Of Ireland’s faith and pride
May God bless us with happiness
May love and faith abide.