St. Paddy's Day is my second favorite holiday after Thanksgiving. What is not to love about a holiday that went from a Catholic saintly celebration to one simply of Irish culture--and its genuine love of ale. Wear green, drink Guiness, feel lucky for the Irish.
And so I was. Starting with the green (yes I wore a pinch-preventing outfit), but I also ate alot of green things today, even more than usual. All green things. Pears and frozen green grapes on my mueslix; green lentil hummus; mache with walnut oil; trout with roast potatos, celeriac, leeks, and artichokes...ok, so the trout wasnt green, thank goodness, but you get the idea. I even bought a granny smith apple to stand in for my usual pink ladies.
I drew the line at green beer though, just Guinness.
The best thing I ate though, was not green. It was brown. No, it was not beer, but a fantastic Irish Soda bread (the most successful bread--successful anything-- to come out of my oven lately...). The smell alone made me want to do nothing but eat bread all day: a soury earthiness that was there in taste too. Moist and just slightly crumbly around the crust, i nearly did eat bread all day. When I wasnt drinking it...
Irish Soda Bread
The recipe I adapted this from was in Fresh by John Bishop. I subbed honey for brown sugar, and used half millet and half flaxseeds in my bread, whereas Bishop uses toasted pepitas; I have simply listed "seeds" here, so feel free to improvise with your own favorite. The original recipe also calls for half buttermilk and half whole milk, but I absolutely love the tang of buttermilk so I went full out on it. Do your best to let the bread cool at least half an hour before cutting in, otherwise its crumb will, well, crumb all over your counter. Whatever you dont eat fresh out of the oven will keep for three days in an airtight container, excellent with marmalade in the mornings.
Preheat oven to 425F
1 c AP flour
1 c WW flour
3/4 c rolled oats
1/4 c seeds
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
In a seperate bowl, stirring to dissolve, combine:
2 T hot melted butter
1 T honey
In a slow, steady stream, pour in:
1 c buttermoo
Combine the wet with the dry ingredients, then turn out onto a clean, well floured work surface, and form into a domed round, roughly six inches in diameter. Place dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and continue baking 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when rapped. Have a beer, or do an Irish jig, while the bread cools to sliceability.