Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Soda bread

Oh I do like soda bread, occasionally I'll risk the treat of frying slices of it in butter, but it is best warm from the oven, so best get making it then.

The important parts of soda bread are baking soda & buttermilk. The acid in the butter milk reacts with the soda & makes the bread rise. By dough has some wholemeal in it (so its a wheaten really) and a couple of spoons of treacle.

You sift the flours, soda & salt into a large bowl, mix them and make a well. Pour melted butter, treacle & buttermilk into the well & bring together to make a dough. It doesn't need much work. Bring that to a ball & flatten it out then make a cross in the top. The handle of a spoon works well for this. Dust lightly with a bit more flour and then put into a hot oven.

You can tell its done when the dough visible in the cross is dry or when the loaf makes a hollow sound. Let it stand for about 5-10 minutes (this is necessary if you are using a knife, if you are just going to rip it open, then as soon as your fingers can handle it)

It doesn't really need anything more than butter, but it does have to be butter, margarine & spread just won't do. Eat and enjoy. Soda bread doesn't keep (apparently), but stopping eating it is more of a challenge than not. Should you have some a day or two old. Slice it, melt an unhealthy amount of butter in your frying pan & then toss the slices in till browned on each side. Deny all knowledge of this to any passing Dr or Nutritionist.

Monday, 24 January 2011


The farmers market was on in town, and there were fresh pigeon breasts. I just couldn't resist.

Firstly they come from Wood pigeons and not the winged rats you find round the typical city centre. Hopefully that has cured you of any unpleasant associations between the meat & the scruffy oik birds eating greasy McD's leftovers.

So I had six breast fillets, what to do  ?
First melt butter in a frying pan then add half a chopped onion & sweat it till transparent. Then add a couple of rashers worth of chopped bacon and a good twist of fresh black pepper. Let it all fry gently for a couple of minutes then turn up the heat & add the breasts. Pour over a good measure of brandy & flame (watching eyebrows, kitchen cupboards & so on) and cook the breasts for about 5 minutes, turning every minute or so. Then add a good 1/2 glass of port and simmer for another couple of minutes. Remove the breasts, add a splash more port & a handful of chopped mushrooms (go for something nutty like chesnut mushrooms) and reduce whilst you slice the breast. Put the sliced breast back in, stir round & serve on top of crushed potatoes & vegetables.

There you have it a tasty game supper for about 4-5 pounds a head (you can make it cheaper by bulking up the veggies & spuds)