Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!
Well hello there and greetings from sunny Perth This will be my third consecutive St. Patrick’s Day away from the nest but this doesn’t mean I don’t get to celebrate, oh no! Where I have been living over the last three years, there have been copious amounts of Irish ex pats surrounding me. Before Perth, I lived in Doha, Qatar. Doha had a relatively smaller ex-pat community in comparison to what we have here in Perth but regardless of that, the Qatar Irish Society always threw the biggest ball of the year, aptly named The Irish Ball. Glad rags were donned and curls were pinned and we went out to celebrate our national day with 500 other Irish ex-pats living in the desert. I was pretty lucky that last year Orla, the organiser of the ball asked me to submit some of my recipes for the Ball programme. It was pretty nice to see some of the recipes that I inherited from my family in print.
2012 marks my first year in Perth celebrating St. Patrick and all that it is to be Irish. I have been told we’ll be kicking the day off with a full Irish and a pint of Guinness with the rest of the GAA boys. I couldn’t think of a better way (apart from the grapefruit I gobbled a few moments ago!!)
I am extremely proud to be an Irish ex-pat living abroad. Everyday I meet and see the amazing differences that Irish people are bringing to other cultures and the wider community. We have the Aussies playing GAA, I think that says it all!
To celebrate our national day, I thought there was no better recipe to share than the scrumptious Ballymaloe Brown Soda Bread from my cookery bible. A beautiful rustic loaf to line those tummies before the shenanigans kick off down the pub.
I usually make my mum’s soda bread when I am baking however, all recipes in our family are a handful of this and a dash of that. Recipes that are created whilst standing over the mixing bowl. She nor I are ever able to recreate the same loaf twice and this, my dad says, is what makes it magic. No two loaves are the same. So to give you a more comprehensive recipe, here is what you will need for a great soda bread:
600gm unbleached plain white flour
600gm brown flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
850ml buttermilk (I used part butter milk and part sour milk)
Preheat oven to 230°C
Sieve all of the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
Pour in the buttermilk or sourmilk and begin to mix from the middle, folding in all of the flour from around the sides.
The dough should come together in a few moments.
It should not be wet and sticky, but soft.
Wash and dry your hands and cover in flour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and tidy up.
Flip it over and flatten to 5cm (2inches)
Sprinkle flour onto a baking sheet and place the bread on it.
Cut a cross in the centre and pierce the four corners with a fork…this is known as letting out the fairies!
Place the tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Turn the heat down to 200°C and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.
It should have a hollow sound when you tap it.
Leave it to cool for a few minutes and lather in butter or lashings of lemon curd.
I hope you all enjoy the festivities today…we’re off for a pint of Guinness in the sun