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Baking Posted on Sun, October 15, 2017 20:32:46


• 125g/4oz butter

• 55g/2oz caster sugar, plus extra to finish

• 180g/6oz plain flour


1. Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

2. Beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth.

3. Stir in the flour to get a smooth paste. Turn on to a work surface and gently roll out until the paste is 1cm/½in thick.

4. Cut into rounds or fingers and place onto a baking tray. Sprinkle with caster sugar and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.

Irish Soda Bread

Baking Posted on Sun, August 27, 2017 01:38:07


• 170g/6oz self raising flour

• 170g/6oz plain flour

• 1 ½ tsp salt

• ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

• 290ml/ ½ pint buttermilk


1) Preheat oven to 400f/200c/gas 6

2) Tip the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda, into a large mixing bowl and stir.

3) Make a well in the centre, and pour in the buttermilk, mixing quickly with a large fork to form a soft dough. (depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff, but should not be too wet or sticky!)

4) Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.

5) Form into a round, and flatten the dough slightly, before placing on a slightly floured baking sheet.

6) Cut a cross on the top and bake for about 30 mins or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

7) Cool on a wire rack.

To make the buttermilk add 4 squeezes of lemon juice to 290ml to milk, a clotting or cheese like effect should take place.

Red split lentils & five-spice soda bread

Baking Posted on Mon, August 21, 2017 21:37:53


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.