This is my go-to recipe for Irish Soda Bread. It comes from the falling apart Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (paperback, Bantam, 1987) my dear friend M gave me when I bought my house 25 years ago.
Irish Soda Bread
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, plus time for the loaf to cool
- 335g all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. fine salt
- 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds (see note)
- 55g (1/3 cup) raisins
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease the bottom of an 8” round baking pan.
- Combine the first 6 ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into 12 small pieces, sprinkle across the dry ingredients, and cut the butter into a flour for about 3 minutes. The butter should mostly disappear into the dry ingredients.
- Add 3/4 cup of buttermilk and stir it in. If there is still dry ingredients in the bowl or a ball hasn’t been formed then add a bit more buttermilk and stir. The dough shouldn’t be damp.
- Knead the dough a few times within the bowl. Then transfer it to the prepared pan. Cut an X about 1/2″ deep across the top of the loaf.
- Bake until well-browned, about 45 minutes. If you want to check the internal temp. you want to reach ~205°F.
- Remove baking pan to a cooling rack and remove the loaf from the pan. Cool at least 1 hour before cutting.
Ted insists Irish Soda Bread needs to have caraway seeds. I don’t really remember that flavor in Irish Soda Bread. So add them if you like and leave them out if it’s not your cup of tea.
Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts
Prep time: 35 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, medium dice
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 lb. spinach, well rinsed
- juice from 1/2 a lemon
- kosher salt and black pepper
- Cover the raisins with ~1/2 hot water and allow to sit for 30 minutes to hydrate.
- Place pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until nuts are golden brown; shaking pan periodically.
- Wipe out skillet, return to medium heat and add the oil. Heat until shimmering; add onions and a generous pinch of salt. Toss to coat with oil and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped garlic, toss and cook until fragrant (about 1 minutes).
- Add spinach, another generous pinch of salt and cover the pan. Cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes.
- Remove the cover. Stir onions and spinach together. Continue to cook, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes or until moisture has evaporated.
- Add lemon juice, raisins and pine nuts; stir to incorporate. Taste; add pepper and salt as desired.
If a lemon isn’t available add 1 tablespoon of cider or white vinegar.
A few weeks back my husband Ted, who is in charge of the bread baking in our home, made a delicious braided bread that was flecked with golden raisins and dried sour cherries, with sesame seeds and finishing sugar too. It was a slightly odd addition to the dinner menu however the taste was excellent and, honestly, just look at it.
Last weekend I roasted some cubed butternut squash, tossed it with finely chopped red peppers, and served it as a side dish. I had a fair amount left over and got it in my head that I wanted to make dessert with it for some reason or another. If I’m being honest squash pie isn’t my favorite pie. It falls well behind apple, chocolate cream and chicken.
Butternut Squash/Apple Cake with Tangerine-Ginger Streusel
Google found me 12 Perfect Fall Desserts Made with Winter Squash, one of which seemed to fit what was in my head. Crystallized ginger was not to be found at my local mega mart though so I used some homemade candied tangerine peel that Ted made back when tangerines were in season. The result was surprisingly moist with the squash basically disappearing into the cake.
The last slice of cake.