Last day of August has finally rolled around and with it the end of the summer holidays. Big changes in our house tomorrow with Blake starting third class and Isaac having his first day in playschool. There will be guaranteed tears from me and more than likely a few from him. He has been my little shadow for the last 3.5 years and my mornings without him are going to be very silent without his constant chattering. One of the disadvantages of staying home with kids is the pang of letting someone else play your role even if it is only for three hours a day and I have to admit I am a little jealous of his new teacher being at the receiving end of his chatter and sticky hugs. My feelings may be different by Friday when I realise the advantage of grocery shopping with one little kid instead of three so watch this space! New school term means new haircuts for the boys. I have a fabulous friend, Nitai, who in exchange for a nice lunch will tend to her two little favourite blonde boys and give them cute haircuts! Nitai is a vegetarian and since trying a delicious lunch in Ballymaloe recently I couldn't wait to test it out on her. I have loved Darina Allen since I was a young girl and I remember loving watching her first television series and my mother tutting at the amount of butter and cream she used in her recipes! In fact Isaac is actually named after one of Darinas sons as I loved the name when I came across it in one of her cookery books! Who needs baby name books when you have baking ones!
Darina Allens Soda Bread
450g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
400 ml buttermilk
Preheat oven to 230 degrees.
Sift all dry ingredients into bowl and make a well in the centre.
Bring in flour from sides to form a soft dough.
If too wet add in a little more flour.
Turn onto floured work surface and flatten out into a circle.
Turn over gently.
Transfer to a floured baking tray.
Cut a deep cross in it.
Bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 200 degrees and bake for a further 20 mins or until sounds hollow when end is tapped.
Cool on a wire rack.
So for lunch I sliced up the soda bread into nice thick slices and topped with some slivers of blue cheese, half a conference pear, a handful of walnuts and some mixed leaves. I drizzled over a dressing made up of 100ml of balsamic vinegar, 50ml of extra virgin olive oil and 50ml of runny honey. What a fabulous combination and so easy to make. This would make a lovely starter to a dinnerparty and apart from the soda bread needs no time at all to throw together.
I love a dish like this with really simple and clean flavours with the added sweetness of the honey! Simply delicious as Darina used to say!