March 17 is time to celebrate Ireland’s contribution to the world. Brown soda bread has got to be up there as one of the island’s finest offerings – and we’ve got the recipe
Irish or not, the world goes green on St Patrick’s Day.
When it comes to dinner, green food can get a little unusual, but if you’re not inclined towards pea soup or emerald-coloured cupcakes, don’t panic. Ireland has lots of recipes up its sleeve, from beef and Guinness stew to bacon and colcannon.
Should you be planning a St Patrick’s Day party this year, you’ll need something super-tasty to nibble on as you raise your glass of Guinness to all things green. Let us suggest some brown soda bread and smoked salmon pate. Homemade.
Daunted? Worry not, because here Lesley Keogh of the beautiful and historic Village at Lyons in Ireland’s gorgeously green County Kildare shows you how to tackle it with your very own hands.
If it looks saintly, imagine how it tastes.
Brown Soda Bread
220g plain flour (2 cups)
220g wholemeal flour (2 cups)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder or bicarbonate of soda
500ml buttermilk (2 cups)
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, use your hands to draw the flour and milk together.
Next, pour ingredients onto a floured surface and lightly form into a round (do not over-knead).
Cut a cross on the top (Irish lore says it lets out the fairies).
Place onto a floured baking tray and put into a pre-heated oven 180ºC for about 35-40 minutes.
When you take the bread out, turn it upside down and tap the bottom. If the bread sounds hollow it's done.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Smoked salmon pâté
225g (8oz) smoked salmon
225g (8oz) creamed cheese
1 tsp horseradish sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
A few sprigs of dill
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend. It’s as simple as that!
Then serve with a crisp green salad, or some watercress for a shamrock-style effect. Don’t use shamrock – as pretty as it looks, it’s not actually edible. Watercress makes a good edible substitute.