Treat Yourself to a Taste of Ireland

What is it about the Emerald Isle? Is it the legends, the myths, the fairytales? Leprechauns, pots of gold, rainbows? The lush green countryside, the smiling eyes, the friendly people? Yes, to all of it.

When it comes right down to it, the Irish people really are just that: down to earth. Their warmth and welcoming nature shines through in the local pubs, their natural musical storytelling and their food.

Of course, it all goes down quite nicely with a wee dram of Irish Whisky – we’re told a smart sip of Redbreast can help ease the jetlag! – or a pint of Guinness.

Food, too, is comforting: from hearty Irish Stew and lamb dishes to oysters and salmon – smoked, steamed, cured, it’s all wonderfully fresh from the ocean that crashes on the island’s shores.

But when most of think Ireland, they think potatoes. We, however, think of the satisfying Irish Soda Bread. We’ve managed to get the recipe, courtesy of Insight Vacations (www.insightvacations.com), to give you a taste of this crusty, flavourful loaf. Slainte!

Next: EASY SECRET RECIPE: IRISH SODA BREAD

RECIPE: IRISH SODA BREAD

small traditional-irish-soda-bread_recipe-and-photo-by-heidy-l-mccallum_-the-mccallums-shamrock-patch-blog

Get the taste of Ireland with this fresh, no-fuss soda bread. Makes 1 loaf, preparation and cooking time: 45min › 55min

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g Plain white flour
    • 250g Plain wholemeal flour
  • 100g Porridge oats
    • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
    • 1 tsp Salt
    • 25g Butter, cut in pieces
    • 500ml Buttermilk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/gas 6 and dust a baking sheet with flour. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then rub in the butter. Pour in the buttermilk and mix it in quickly with a table knife, then bring the dough together very lightly with your fingertips. Now shape it into a flat, round loaf measuring 20cm/8in in diameter.
  1. Put the loaf on the baking sheet and score a deep cross in the top. (Traditionally, this lets the fairies out, but it also helps the bread to cook through.) Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. If it isn’t ready after this time, turn it upside down on the baking sheet and bake for a few minutes more.
  2. Transfer to a wire rack, cover with a clean tea towel (this keeps the crust nice and soft) and leave to cool. To serve, break into quarters, then break or cut each quarter in half to make 8 wedges or slices – or simply slice across. Eat very fresh.