I have been a great admirer of Darina Allen of Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork Eire for some time. I have bee fortunate to meet her on her visits to South Africa. The Allen family are heroes of the invigoration of Irish Cuisine. The late Myrtle Allen, Darina’s mother in law started cooking meals for the public in 1964 in The Yeats room in her farmhouse in Shangarry. Now Darina’s brother Rory O’ Connell, her daughter in law Rose Allen are part of the family business and each have their own television cooking shows.
I get a news letter from Darina and last week she had a modernised version of a Brown Irish Soda Bread. I love homemade bread and good bread is hard to find, unless you are looking for sourdough or a good baguette. This bread is so easy to make and so utterly delicious.
Darina Allen’s Brown Soda Bread
This is a modern rather than traditional version of soda bread, it couldn’t be simpler. Just mix all the ingredients together and pour into a well-greased tin. It’s important to put all the milk in – the dough may seem too wet, but it’s meant to be that way for this particular bread. It will keep well for several days and is also great when toasted. Most modern Irish soda bread recipes include far too much bicarbonate of soda, which makes the bread very dark and taste strongly of soda.
Makes 1 large or 3 small loaves
400g (14oz) stone-ground wholemeal flour
75g (3oz) plain white flour, preferably unbleached
1 teaspoon dairy salt
1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (bread soda/baking soda), sieved
1 organic egg
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 teaspoon honey, treacle or soft brown sugar
425ml (3⁄4 pint) buttermilk or sour milk
sunflower or sesame seeds (optional)
I used fine sea salt and dark muscovado sugar
one loaf tin 23 x 12.5 x 5cm OR three loaf tins 14.5 x 7.5 x 5cm. I used one loaf tin from Le Creuset, non stick.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Brush the inside of the loaf tin or tins with vegetable oil.
Put all the dry ingredients including the sieved bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and mix well. Whisk the egg, adding to it the oil, honey and the buttermilk or sour milk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in all the liquid. Mix well, adding more buttermilk if necessary (the mixture should be soft and slightly sloppy). Pour into the oiled tin or tins. If desired, sprinkle some sunflower or sesame seeds on top.
Bake for about 1 hour or until the bread is nice and crusty and sounds hollow when tapped. Leave to cool on a wire rack
Note: I sent the oven just below 200C. I sprayed the tin with Spray ‘n Cook even though it was non stick. After 50 minutes, I took the loaf out of the tin and put it back into the oven for a further 10 minutes.
This loaf was utterly delicious with strips of smoked trout.
Read more about Ballymaloe Cookery School – CLICK HERE
The perfect wine with this lunch time snack with a bottle of Deetlefs “Voyage 3566.1” 2018.
The wines from the Breedekloof mostly fly below the radar, a pity because not only is a sensationally beautiful wine region, but so many of the wines produced there offer such great value and brilliant flavours.
The grapes for this wine were picked ripe to allow the best possible expression of the four grape varieties. Three different techniques were used to offer the best juice and wine, whole bunch pressing for some and on skin fermentation and an oxidative technique. The grapes used were Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Semillon and Muscat d’Alexandrie.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is simple and elegant. I love the D of Deetlefs with the very symbolic key running through it. In the glass, the wine is a rich golden yellow. The aromas are of ripe stone fruit, white peach, apricot, desiccated pineapple and white tropical flowers. From entry, there is a rich counterbalancing acidity which goes through to the dry, long and gently waning aftertaste. The palate is generous, where flavours of halva, the stone fruit and quince paste intermingle with the sparky citrus. An impressive glass indeed.
The Deetlefs “Voyage 3566.1” 2018 is more a food wine than a sipping wine. And as I said perfect for the Soda Bread and the trout or a good smoked fish paté. Click HERE for the recipe. It would also be excellent with a chicken casserole with mushrooms and cream. A smoked fish salad with crunchy lettuce, croutons, anchovy strips would be a great partner.
Read more about Deetlefs Wine Estate – CLICK HERE