For the five-spice soda bread

• 250g/9oz wholemeal flour

• 200g/9oz strong white bread flour, + (extra for dusting)

• 1tsp fine salt

• 1tsp bicarbonate of soda

• 1tbsp Indian five spice, (cumin, mustard, fenugreek, nigella, and fennel seeds)

• 400ml/14fl oz buttermilk, (see tip below)

For the lentils

• 100g/5 ½ oz red split lentils

• 1 bay leaf

• 1 dried red chilli

• ½ tsp turmeric

• ½ tsp fine salt

• 75g/ 3oz of unsalted butter

• 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

• Handful of fresh coriander approx. 10g (roughly chopped)


1) Preheat the oven to 200g/180c fan, gas mark 6, line a baking tray with baking paper

2) For the soda bread, put the flours, salt, bicarbonate of soda and five spice into a large bowl, and mix well. Make a well in the centre, and add over half the buttermilk*. Bring the dough together by hand adding more of the buttermilk if needed, (you may not need any more.)

3) As soon as the flour is absorbed, and the dough comes together, lightly flour the work surface, tip the dough into it, and roll it into a neat ball. Place on a baking tray. Using a sharp knife make a cut down the centre vertically, and then the same horizontally to form a cross, cutting all the way down to the base. Bake on the middle shelf for 30 mins, until bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on base. Put on a wire rack to cool.

4) While bread is baking, wash the lentils rinsing them till the water runs clear. Put the lentils into a pan with 1 ltr cold water, the bay leaf, red chilli, turmeric, and salt. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 30 mins. After the 30 mins, the mixture should be thicker, and the lentils will have broken up.

5) Melt the butter on a small frying pan over a medium heat, add the sliced garlic, and fry till golden brown. Pour the garlic + the butter into the lentils, and mix through. Now add the chopped coriander and take the pan off the heat. Serve the warm lentils with chunks of the soda bread.

*if you don’t have buttermilk, just mix 4 tbsp of lemon juice, or white wine vinegar, with 400g of milk, leave for 5mins until curdled.