Posts Tagged ‘Irish Soda Bread’

IRISH SODA BREAD

March 15th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

 

Ingredients:

4 c unsifted regular all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

¼ c sugar (optional)

1/8 tsp cardamom or coriander (optional)

¼ c butter or margarine

1 egg

1¾ c buttermilk

Directions:

Combine in a large bowl the flour, salt, baking powder, soda, sugar and spice (if used).

Add butter or margarine, and cut in with a pastry blender or two knives until crumbly.

Beat egg slightly and mix with buttermilk; add to dry ingredients and stir until well blended.  Turn out on a floured board and knead until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.

Divide dough in half, and shape each into a round loaf; place each loaf in an 8-inch cake or pie pan.  Press down until dough fills pans.  With floured knife, cut crosses on tops of loaves, about ½ inch deep in the middle.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.  Makes two loaves.  Bread is done when bottom of bread sounds hollow when tapped.  Turn the bread out into a basket lined with a towel. Irish soda bread tastes best on the day it is made; it tends to become stale if stored too long. You may be able to revive day old bread with a sprinkling of water and a quick toasting. While butter is a common topping, you can also use clotted cream or preserves.

Currant or Raisin Soda Bread:

Follow basic recipe above, including the sugar; omit cardamom or coriander.  Add 2 cups currants or raisins to the flour mixture with 1¼ teaspoons caraway seed (optional).  Blend with egg and buttermilk and proceed as directed in above recipe.

Whole Wheat Soda Bread:

Substitute 2 cups whole wheat flour for 2 cups of regular all-purpose flour in the basic recipe above.  You might add 1 to 2 cups raisins or chopped dates, if you wish; mix in with the dry ingredients before adding the liquid.

March Madness Prevails at Boothbay Harbor Region Bed and Breakfast

March 14th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

Our westward view over the Sheepscott

All those sayings that we are all too familiar with regards happenings in March just happen to be swirling around in my head today.  You know, sayings like:  “Beware of the Ides of March” or “March comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb” or “When Irish Eyes are smiling – they’ll steal your heart away” – you know those sayings.  It all started this morning as I sat at my desk in the Owner’s Quarters here at Hodgdon Island Inn  looking out of the window.  The window showcases our westward view over the Sheepscott and it appears that our snow fortress is weakening. 

Our snow fortress is weakening!

 The walls of snow are melting away before my eyes.  I am reminded of that infamous “I’m melting “ scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy douses the Wicked Witch of the West with the bucket of water – only here on our tiny island in Boothbay, Maine, Mother Nature is doing the dousing and our once wicked white world is turning into a pool of spring greens and browns!

OMG!  March is a very busy month in the State of Maine! Kicking off the month  there was the annual yum-yum fest known as Maine Restaurant Week, March 1-12th, where one can get scrumptious three-course meals at a set price; then we had the 2011 Flower Show in Portland this past weekend, March 10-13th, titled “The Enchanted Earth”. The show is a collaboration of green industry landscapers, growers, gardeners and industry retailers dedicated to the continued success of everything about “Gardening in Maine”.

Beware of the Tides of March!

Higher tides than ususal predicted this weekend

Next up is the Ides of March (March 15th), but the TIDES OF MARCH is much more appropriate.  Why you ask? Because at every full moon, when the earth and the sun and the moon are lined up in space, the gravity of the sun and moon reinforce each other and the earth’s tides become particularly high.  It is predicted that the tides will be higher than usual, especially on Saturday hence the “Beware of the Tides of March”.

 Now we’re counting down to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th.  For many it is a day of partying, parades, eating corned beef and cabbage and drinking green beer  (Sarah’s Cafe, fun restaurant on Route 1 in Wiscasset). For others it is a day of prayer and contemplation. For me it is a day filled with many memories, lots of love, much laughter, a few tears, good Irish music and an Irish jig or two.   I may have mentioned that I am first generation American-born of Irish ancestry, but I don’t know if I mentioned that I am also an Irish step dancer.  My mother, Sheila, was born in a town on the coast outside Dublin, Ireland not too dissimilar from Boothbay Harbor

Currant soda bread is cut in wedges to serve;whole wheat soda bread is featured.

But most importantly of all:  one must eat Soda Bread on this great day!  Now I could write an entire blog on Irish Soda Bread because there are as many different recipes for it as there are shades of green on the Emerald Isle, but we stick to the Byrne Family recipe which has been handed down for many generations.  I have shared this family heirloom with you in the recipe section of our blog I hope you enjoy it!

And the last of this month’s fun activities here in the Pine Tree State is Maine Maple Sunday set for March 27th .  Most sugarhouses offer free maple syrup samples and demonstrations on how pure Maine maple syrup is made. Many farms offer games, activities, treats, sugar bush tours, music, and so much more. 

March isn’t the only month with lots of things to do and see here in Maine .  Come and see for yourself.  And as always, if you need a place to stay, we’ll be here on our tiny island and as is customary in Ireland, Richard and I will  bid you “cead mile failte” {Cade (rhyming with “wade”) meala fault cha. Fáilte is said quickly} – a hundred, thousand welcomes!