Things I Love III – Irish Comfort Food

There is nothing like Irish soda bread – hot out of the oven with melted butter, sharp cheddar cheese and and strawberry jam – ach (the way the Irish say it – ach…can you hear it?) – comfort food. I was introduced to this bread by my good friend Anne  – who bakes this bread on a regular basis.  She has the recipe from her mom Maise – and she serves it with a cup of tea or coffee – and cheese and jam.  Umm umm good!

The soda bread is a heavy bread – chewy in a way -not airy – dense I would say – and very tasty!  The crust is crunchy – so good!

You need to eat it with cheese – I like to have a nice sharp cheddar – or aged cheddar. Slather on some great strawberry jam – add a piece of cheese and a cup of tea or coffee and you have a great afternoon snack break, or an evening treat when friends drop by.  And the best jam – homemade strawberry freezer jam – and I have a great recipe.

I used to make this jam in June – during strawberry season – I would go pick the strawberries and then make several batches and put it in the freezer.  I have not done this in years – I need to get back to this – find the balance in my life – I know – tired of hearing it – me too!  My sister and I talk about doing this every spring – this is our year!  I will give you the recipe below – so easy and so tasty – and you can just put it in the freezer – or give it away as a gift!

My friend Anne – such a beautiful Irish lasse!

Irish Soda Bread

    4 cups (1 L) all purpose flour, (can substitute 1/2 the all purpose flour with whole wheat)
    1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
    1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
    1 tsp (5 mL) salt
    2 cups (500 mL) buttermilk
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, baking soda and salt and flour. Make a well in middle of the flour, and add buttermilk all at once.Use your hands to mix buttermilk into flour to form a soft dough.Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Lightly knead the dough a few times to make a smooth ball. 

Place loaf onto parchment-lined or greased baking sheet or put in greased loaf pan. With sharp knife, score a large ‘X’ on the top of the dough. Bake in the centre of a 425 F (220 C) oven for about 35 minutes. The loaf is done when browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Serve warmed with butter and honey or cheese and jam.

  • Spotted Dog Variation:
    Add 1 cup (250 mL) raisins or currants and 1 tsp (5 mL) caraway seeds (optional) to the flour

Strawberry Freezer Jam

  • 2 cups crushed fresh strawberries
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 (1.75 ounce) package dry pectin
  • 3/4 cup water
  1. Mix crushed strawberries with sugar, and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the pectin into the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 1 minute. Stir the boiling water into the strawberries. Allow to stand for 3 minutes before pouring into jars or other storage containers.
  2. Place tops on the containers, and leave for 24 hours. Place into freezer, and store frozen until ready to use.

Enjoy everyone!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!


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