Once upon a time long long ago Dear Reader, when you were but a twinkle in your daddy’s eye, I lived in Ireland. I lived there from when I was around 2ish until I was 17 and left the Emerald Isle to go to drama school in Guildford. I have absolutely no hankering to go back there (and in fact the sunny Isle is not unlike the Emerald one) but don’t visit my mother often enough there as she constantly reminds me. I don’t feel that there is anything there for me any more and I have lived here in the UK now for 30 years. I see my mother here several times a year – in case you thought that I’d heartlessly abandoned her, but there are one or two things that I still love about my Irish years – music and poetry is one and Tayto crisps and soda bread are some of the others.
Soda bread. Much beloved of the Irish the world over and a doddle to make. When we were kids, my mother making bread was more of a threat than a promise and when it snowed and we were stuck up the mountain, often home made bread would be produced…..The very best soda bread came from Lily Cahill’s shop in the local town of Rathdrum and slathered with butter it was the best breakfast and tea staple. I haven’t made any for years not least due to the lack of availability of buttermilk which doesn’t seem to be stocked by any supermarket here more’s the pity.
And so I improvised with a dollop of natural yoghurt mixed in with the milk which seemed to do the trick. The beauty of the soda loaf is that there is no yeast involved and little or no kneading which suits me just fine.
It must always be marked with a deep cross which I’m sure Catholicism has some hand in but actually also makes for ease of portioning should you wish to share.
It was a lovely thing to behold and made the house smell like days of yore. TG and I had hunks thickly spread with butter to accompany some vegetable soup that I’d made and it was grand.
I may have had another piece with our friend Paul’s honey…
Now I remember why I was an overweight teenager……oh well!