Cheese Soda Bread

This is a variation of my classic Irish Soda Bread, a little jazzier and possibly it’s slightly posher brother! It’s ideal if you want something different for a dinner party or to impress a member of the opposite sex with your culinary skills during an intimate little soiree…

It’s also good to just make and eat yourself!

  • 260 gm Strong White Flour
  • 80 gm Strong Wholemeal Flour
  • 1 tsp  bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 290 ml Buttermilk
  • 125 gms of  fresh Parmesan, finely grated.
  • 1/2 tsp English Mustard powder
  • 5 or 6 sprigs fresh rosemary

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F/Gas Mark 6).
  2. Mix the  flours, bicarbonate of soda, salt and mustard powder together in a bowl.
  3. Sprinkle in the cheese and mix, sometimes I find doing this a bit at a time help to ensure the cheese is evenly distributed.
  4. Make a well in the ingredients, pour in the buttermilk and combine to make a dough.
  5. Pop the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently kneed for a few minutes, then make a round shape.
  6. Carefully lift the dough and put on to a lightly floured oven sheet. Cut the recognisable cross onto the top, decorate with the rosemary sprigs and pop it in the oven.
  7. After 30 mins, when the beard is golden, test to check if it’s cooked by tapping the base. It should sound hollow.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.

Once it’s cool cut into thick slices, add butter or spread and dunk into a rich and hearty home-made tomato soup.

I’ve used Cheddar instead of Parmesan before, however I needed to use a food processor to break the cheese up and distribute it thru the dry ingredients.

Irish Soda Bread

Soda Bread

Was sitting on the sofa on Saturday, thinking back to some of my old staple recipes and I remembered that I regularly made Soda Bread.

An old Irish rustic standard, and exceptionally easy to make. I wonder why I stopped making it…..

Ingredients

  • 170 gm Strong White Flour
  • 170 gm Strong Wholemeal Flour
  • 1 tsp  bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 290 ml Buttermilk

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F/Gas Mark 6).
  2. Mix the  flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the buttermilk and combine to make a dough.
  4. Pop the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently kneed for a few minutes, then make a round shape.
  5. Carefully lift the dough and put on to a lightly floured oven sheet. Cut the recognisable cross onto the top and put in the oven.
  6. After 30 mins, when the beard is golden, test to check if it’s cooked by tapping the base. It should sound hollow.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

Once it’s cool cut into thick slices, add butter or spread and dunk into a good home-made soup or top with your favourite preserve…

Lime Granita

Lime Granita

After making up a batch of Lime Infused Vodka, I was left with whole batch of de-zested fruit. Rather than just throwing them away or quartering, bagging them up and freezing them for fruit ice cubes for drinks, I decided to make Granita (a semi-frozed Siciliana water ice dessert). This Lime Granita is zesty and cleanses the palette like a sorbet and is easy to make!

It’s also brilliant as the base of frozen Margaritas, just scoop into a salt rimmed glass and add Tequila…..

Ingredients

  • 250 gm sugar
  • Juice of 12-14 Limes
  • Zest of 1 Lime
  • 1 ltr water

Method

  1. Make a stock syrup by combining the water, sugar and Lime zest together in a saucepan and bringing to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 5 mins and then allow to cool
  3. Combine the stock syrup and Lime juice in a shallow freezer proof container. Spread of more than one rather than filling too deeply.
  4. Freeze for 2 hours.
  5. Now comes the repetative bit, it’s worth it tho. Every 15-30mins rake it with a fork so that it breaks up into little grainy ice crystals. Once the entire mixture is frozen, but grainy and separated it’s ready to eat.

Once you’ve made it, the Granita can be left in the freezer but you’ll need to rake it up before serving.

Lime Vodka Recipe

On a trip to the local supermarket I noticed a basket of limes, all reduced to 10 pence. The idea of a lime infused vodka came instantly to mind. What’s more this recipe only uses the zest, so I used the pulp to make a Lime Granita too, double bubble!

This flavoured vodka is great for mixing with Coke.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of vodka
  • 7 Limes

Method

  1. Wash the limes under warm water, to get rid of any wax coating
  2. Removed the lime zest, (making sure that you don’t get any of the pith as it will make the taste bitter). This can be done with a zester or with a knife  if you use a knife shred the bigger pieces of lime to increase the surface area.
  3. Put the lime zest into a sterile bottle or Kilner jar
  4. pour over the vodka and store in a dark, cool place for 2 to 3 weeks, shaking frequently.
  5. Strain vodka through muslin or a coffee filter and bottle into a clean bottle.

The lime zest will lose it’s vivid green colour and the vodka will take on a pale green hue

Plum Vodka Recipe

Plum Vodka

This plum vodka recipe uses any plums that you have left over, at the end of the summer. Once you’ve strained them off, use the plums to make a wickedly boozy crumble or stew down to make a lovely plum sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of vodka
  • 450 g plums, halved and stoned
  • 225 g sugar
  • 1/2 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Vanilla pod

Method

  1. Split the Vanilla pod 3/4 of it’s length, keeping the seeds in the bean
  2. Place the vodka, plums, cinnamon, vanilla and sugar in a large saucepan.
  3. Heat the mixture gently until the sugar has dissolved (don’t allow to boil or the alcohol will dissipate). Allow to cool.
  4. Transfer the vodka plum mixture into a large sterilised kilner jar and store in a dark, cool place for 3 months, shaking once a week.
  5. Strain the plum vodka through muslin and bottle into a clean bottle.

Sloe Gin Recipe

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sloegin_7722

Making sloe gin is slow but not laborious. There’s no cooking required, just patience as the sloes steep in the gin. No need to buy expensive Gin as the Sloes will add their mellow flavours to the liquid.

Ingredients

  • 450g/1lb sloes
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 1 litre/1¾ pint gin

Preparation method

  1. Prick the tough skin of the sloes all over with a clean needle and put in a large sterilised jar.
  2. Pour in the sugar and the gin, seal tightly and shake well.
  3. Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day for a week. Then shake once a week for at least two months.
  4. Strain the sloe gin through muslin into a sterilised bottle.

 

 

 

A little thought for food……….

Over the last few years, maybe a little too many to remember I’ve come across recipes that I have enjoyed. They have had subtle changes and evolutions but as the years pass I tend to forget them and cook different things.

This is now my place to store my favourite recipes, allowing me comment on the variations that I try and how those changes work out.

Feel free to look and comment if you feel the urge.

Not that Mr T…..

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