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Irish Soda Bread with Rosemary | A St Patrick’s Day recipe that’s definitely worth the effort

Irish Soda Bread with Rosemary recipe

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A St Patrick’s Day recipe that’s definitely worth the effort

As I am a breadmaker owner (and I don’t even use that, as my other half makes all the bread!), I have to confess that I haven’t baked much of the stuff since school.

However, I happened to be at the photography studio when this recipe was being shot and so I watched Sara, our food stylist, make it and it did look incredibly simple.

It tasted absolutely gorgeous too
and we enjoyed with a delicious
potato and leek soup
(DD recipe
of course). 

As today is St Patrick’s Day I thought it the perfect excuse to have a bash at Irish Soda bread. It worked and trust me it really is worth the effort.

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Irish Soda Bread with Rosemary

Makes 1 loaf
Time 45 mins
Calories 140/slice Fat 2g of which 1.2g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Plain flour 450g (1lb)
Irish porridge oats with multi seeds 50g (2oz)
Salt 1 tsp
Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
Butter or white fat 25g (1oz)
Finely chopped fresh rosemary 2 tbsp
Fresh cultured buttermilk 300ml pot
Whole milk 100ml (3½fl oz)

1 Preheat oven to 200ºC/Gas 6. Mix together flour, porridge oats, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Add butter or fat and rub in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in rosemary.

2 Add buttermilk and enough milk to make a soft but not sticky dough. Transfer to a greased and floured baking sheet and shape into an 18cm (7in) round. With a knife, score into four and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

3 Serve bread warm with a delicious soup (such as Creamy Leek & Potato Soup) or a selection of Irish cheeses and pickled onions.

Cook’s Tip
If can’t find oats with seeds, use plain Irish porridge oats instead.

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Secrets of Food Photography

irish soda bread recipe

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Secrets of Food Photography

I love a train journey. As soon as I step on board and settle into my seat it evokes nostalgic feelings from childhood, even now.

I am lucky enough to be able to experience train travel on a fairly regular basis with work and last week I enjoyed a trip down to London for the first 2015 Dairy Diary photo shoot. As the Pendolino whizzes its way through the countryside, it’s a great opportunity to escape from the distractions in the office and have some quality thinking time, to plan new projects and marketing strategies.

Photo shoots are some of my favourite work days. It’s lovely to get the chance to spend a day in such a creative environment.

I also get to sample some rather delectable food,
which last week included pancakes for breakfast,
a very tasty steak pie for lunch and a cheeky little
champagne cocktail.

Many believe that food photography is faked but at our shoots, every recipe is made exactly as per its instructions. We just happen to have a very clever food stylist, Sara, who makes everything look so appetising. The only minor cheat was the addition of a tiny amount of sugar to the champagne cocktails to make them fizz for longer.

By far the most fun (and challenging) shot was a gorgeous chocolate torte topped with sparklers. It looked fantastic but took a few attempts to get it right without looking like a bonfire!

The props room is like an Aladdin’s Cave and gives me the chance to look through all the props selected by our stylist for the book. I think she has particularly excelled herself this year with some beautiful cloths, crockery and glassware.

Irish Soda bread recipeIrish Soda Bread with Rosemary

It will be a while before you get to see these fabulous images but I can share this recipe with you. I had this for the first time at last year’s photo shoot and it tastes just divine. We (actually not me but my former-baker fiancé) usually bake bread in the breadmaker but after sampling this we have made bread ‘properly’ a number of times. Irish Soda Bread with Rosemary is delicious with soup and so easy to make.

Happy baking everyone!

 

How to grow kitchen herbs

How to grow your own kitchen herbs

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How to grow your own herbs for the kitchen

Whilst doing all the testing for our next cookbook, I have come to realise just how expensive fresh herbs can be. They don’t last long in the fridge either and often go to waste if I forget to freeze any leftovers.

So, this year I am
determined to grow
my own.

It will be wonderful to step out of the kitchen door to the subtle scent of sage, mint and rosemary, and be able to clip a few leaves off to add to salads, soups and stews.

Here are some tips on how to sow your own seeds. Something I haven’t done for a long while!

 

 

Grow kitchen herbs

Grow kitchen herbs

Pot Herbs for the Kitchen

Fresh herbs give a great lift to many foods – so grow your own in pots sited near the kitchen for ease of picking. And why not choose some colourful, fun containers to plant in?

Sow seeds in March, or buy small herb plants in April or May, pot up at once and start picking leaves as soon as the plants have grown slightly. A sunny position is best. The job will take about an hour.

What you need

Plants Seed packets or small plants of parsley, thyme, marjoram (oregano), sage, mint and rosemary.

Equipment Six small plastic pots for potting up seedlings bought at the garden centre. Seed tray, modular cell system or jiffy pots for sowing seeds, if using. Five containers such as the enamel kettles. Soil-based potting compost and proprietary seed compost if using. Broken crocks for drainage. Trowel.

Instructions

1 Fill the seed tray or modular cell system with seed compost and sow your seeds according to the instructions on the packets, or sow in jiffy pots according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep on a kitchen windowsill while the seeds germinate, then move them outside when all danger of frost is past.

2 When the seedlings are large enough to handle, pot them on into the plastic pots using potting compost and lining with broken crocks for drainage.

3 Or, line the plastic pots with broken crocks and fill with potting compost, into which you have mixed some sharp sand (if using). Then plant your garden centre seedlings, place into the containers and set out in an attractive arrangement. In general, allow one herb per container, but if the container is big enough, put several in together – here rosemary, parsley and mint have been put in the central container.

4 Place the young herb plants outside only when all danger of frost is past. If you’re uncertain, place them outside on sunny days and bring them in at night until the weather warms up enough for them to be left outside permanently.

5 Pick and use the leaves regularly. All these herbs can grow quite large and, by the end of summer, may well have outgrown their containers unless you keep them under control.

Notes Most herbs do best in full sun. They don’t require rich soil, but they must not be allowed to get waterlogged, so good drainage is essential. Rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram are tough, shrubby plants and can be kept going for years if put into the ground or grown in large enough pots. Mint and parsley are herbaceous and will die down in winter, but reappear again in spring.

Aftercare Regular picking is needed, and watering with care.

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Seasonal Garden IdeasThis project is taken from
Seasonal Garden Ideas 

a collection of lovely, easy
projects for any garden.

Now available online
for just £3.99  

PLUS FREE P&P!
(Feb/March 2013 orders).

 

 

Herbs for the Garden

Fresh herbs give a great lift to many foods – so grow your own in pots sited near the kitchen for ease of picking. And why not choose some colourful, fun containers to plant in?

Sow seeds in March, or buy small herb plants in April or May, pot up at once and start picking leaves as soon as the plants have grown slightly. Plant in a sunny position. The job will take about an hour.

Plants required
Seed packets or small plants of parsley, thyme, marjoram (oregano), sage, mint and rosemary.

Equipment required
Six small plastic pots for potting up seedlings bought at the garden centre.
Seed tray, modular cell system or jiffy pots for sowing seeds, if using.
Five containers such as the enamel kettles.
Soil-based potting compost and proprietary seed compost if using.
Broken crocks for drainage.
Trowel.

1 Fill the seed tray or modular cell system with seed compost and sow your seeds according to the instructions on the packets, or sow in jiffy pots according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep on a kitchen windowsill while the seeds germinate, then move them outside when all danger of frost is past.

2 When the seedlings are large enough to handle, pot them on into the plastic pots using potting compost and lining with broken crocks for drainage.

3 Or, line the plastic pots with broken crocks and fill with potting compost, into which you have mixed some sharp sand (if using). Then plant your garden centre seedlings, place into the containers and set out in an attractive arrangement. In general, allow one herb per container, but if the container is big enough, put several in together – here rosemary, parsley and mint have been put in the central container.

4 Place the young herb plants outside only when all danger of frost is past. If you’re uncertain, place them outside on sunny days and bring them in at night until the weather warms up enough for them to be left outside permanently.

5 Pick and use the leaves regularly. All these herbs can grow quite large and, by the end of summer, may well have outgrown their containers unless you keep them under control.

Notes
Most herbs do best in full sun. They don’t require rich soil, but they must not be allowed to get waterlogged, so good drainage is essential. Rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram are tough, shrubby plants and can be kept going for years if put into the ground or grown in large enough pots. Mint and parsley are herbaceous and will die down in winter, but reappear again in spring.

Aftercare
Regular picking is needed, and watering with care.

Project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas

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