Saturday, November 10, 2012

Irish Soda Bread


Going back to college seems like a lot of fun. I mean, it is fun. I love the adrenaline rush of having mid and final tests. Is that weird? Nah.. That is completely normal if you were brought up in my family. Some people climb mountains, some go diving, some love travelling, and I simply love to be with lots of books. Yes. I love library. I love the smell of books and I love to have anything to do with reading.

The thing is; I feel like I've been hitting the wall for the last two weeks. This particular subject, Indonesian Morpho-Syntax, was taking up too much of my precious time. Evil, evil subject. If I was single, perhaps I’d go out, party with my friends, and just forget about it. I notice that the older you get, the more you fuss with silly-nilly, unimportant things. So before I fall to the well of desperation, I just promise myself that even if I flunked at that that subject, I just have to do better next semester.

Case closed. Need a romantic getaway.

I decided to read a Susanna Kearsley book. Yes, that is my romantic getaway; reading. I am not big a fan of romance genre, I have always preferred fantasy and thriller. But Susanna Kearsley writes a heck of historical fiction with a gothic flair and modest romance. Yes, modest is the word for her works and I love modesty, not a sappy, weepy, vulgar, cheap romance novel with shirtless Fabio on the cover. Though I hate to admit seeing those pictures of him rather gave me a funny bashful feeling when I was in junior high.

What I enjoy from reading her books, is that mostly the settings are in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Three countries that I hold very, very dear in my heart. It is imprinted in my soul. Susanna Kearsley carefully weaves a certain important event in history with shreds of stories about ordinary people who happened to be around the time of the event or somehow strangely connected with those people.

I decided to read Shadowy Horses. I was immersed in the book. Gorgeous story. After the relief sigh, came the hunger. Since it has been raining almost every day for the past two weeks, pray tell; what suits the rain and empty stomach better than a hearthy hot stew?

A pot of Irish Stout Stew with a big chunk of Irish Soda Bread.



Here is the recipe for the Irish Soda Bread adapted from www.allrecipes.com
Makes 2 big loafs, half the recipe for your convenience.

Ingredients
For the bread:
440gr all-purpose flour
40gr wheat bran
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
For the glaze:
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

Directions
-Preheat oven to 190 C. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
-In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, wheat bran, and butter.
-Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly.
-Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet.
-In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this glaze mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
-Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
-Take the loaf out every 10-15 minutes to brush it with the glaze.


Scrumptious.

I love the biscuit like crust of this bread. With the stew, Irish Soda Bread complete the meal without overpowering the flavor of the stew. Without the stew, it simply is a great snack.

There are many possibilities to modify this recipe according to whatever mood you are in. You can throw in some raisins, herbs, or like Amiko; she prefers to have some shredded old cheddar in it. It's quite a versatile bread. But what we all love about this bread most of all is that we don't have to wait hours and hours to have warm bread on our table. It doesn't need too much preparations. Throw everything in, mix, form a ball, slash, and pop it in hot oven. Genius.

Alright, time for me to get back to my books. I am not talking about the Indonesian Morpho-Syntax, more like my Susanna Kearsley's books. A girl's got to read what a girl's got to read, right J


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