We are all adjusting and settling into a different house whilst continuing to pack and unpack. Cooking has not been a high priority so I’m just churning out the most basic meals to keep us going and we have lovely friends who have been dropping over meals. I’m really missing having the time to enjoy the cooking process but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m looking forward to unpacking my cookbooks.
A couple of weeks ago, before life got too hectic, Levi did a little weekend baking and made this soda bread with a little help from me. Incredibly easy to make, just mix the ingredients, knead for a minute, bake and then you have warm bread straight from the oven. Very satisfying exercise to do with kids or without.
The first time I had soda bread was in Castlegregory, Ireland. It was my first time overseas and my sister and I landed in London in the early hours of the morning then flew straight away to Dublin. From Dublin we then caught a train that travelled right down to Tralee where we were met by a family friends sister. She drove us down to Castlegregory where we stayed for several days. Their house was right by the sea with mountains behind and it was so incredibly beautiful. It was here I had my first Guinness and my first toasted piece of soda bread to dunk in a warm bowl of vegetable soup. I loved every minute of our time there, even the strong winds that had us walking almost horizontally to make it to the local pub.
Next time you have no bread in the house then give this a go. According to the recipe you should dust the loaves liberally with extra flour – we forgot this step so our loaves lack a little in presentation but the bread was still fantastic. I think this bread is ideal toasted. Soup to have with is also ideal. Guinness is optional.
(from the River Cottage)
500g plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
400ml buttermilk, thin yoghurt or milk
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
Combine the sifted flour, bicarb and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk and mix together, adding a little extra milk if need be to form a soft, almost sticky dough.
Tip out onto a floured board and knead for a minute until it just comes together. Form one round of dough (or two smaller ones), place on a baking tray and dust with extra flour. Slice a deep cross with a serrated knife about two-thirds of the way through the loaf. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes (less if you have made two smaller loaves) or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.