Irish Soda Bread Minimize

This recipe is one I remember baking with my Great-Grandmother in Coldblow. 

Irish Brown Soda Bread (makes 2 x 1lb loaves) 
8 oz wholemeal flour
4 oz white flour
4 oz wheat bran
2 oz brown sugar (the darker the sugar the better the taste)
1 teaspoon bread soda
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
16 fluid oz Butter Milk

Preheat oven to 160˚c (325˚f or Gas mark 3) i.e. moderate oven (if fan oven check the manual for temperature equivalent)

Sieve white flour, salt, bread soda and baking soda into a bowl

Add the wholemeal flour, wheat bran and sugar and combine well

Make a well in the flour and add the eggs and milk

Mix well

N.B. The result should be a mixture that is dropping consistency, but not liquid/runny. However, this always depends on the flour, temperature etc. so you may have to add a dash more/less milk.

Divide the mixture evenly between two well greased 1lb loaf tins

Cook in the oven for approximately 45-60 minutes at 160˚c (325˚f or Gas mark 3) i.e. moderate oven

N.B. To check if cooked - Tap on bottom of tin and should sound hollow when cooked

Cool on wire tray

When cool wrap in brown grease proof paper and the bread should keep for a few days (or slice and freeze) – if there’s any left !

 N.B. If you don’t have Butter Milk add 1 teaspoon of Bextartar as the acid to the white flour when sieving.


  1. use Guinness instead of milk (yummy)

  2. add a teaspoon of ginger and a teaspoon of caraway seeds

  3. add 2 oz of raisins or currants

Irish Stew Minimize

Irish Stew is very simple to make and I make it the same way as I rememer my Great Grandmother making it except that she used Mutton not lamb and we didn't have celery. 

You will need Lamb (chops or pieces), water, some potatoes (three or four), about four carrots, some onions, a couple of sticks of celery, a little butter & oil, salt, pepper, parsley, and thyme. My Great Grandmother never measured anything, she just threw everything into a big heavy pot that sat on a hook, for the whole day, hanging over the fire. Her stew is still the best stew I've ever tasted. My Grandmother likes my stew and says it tastes very like her mother's ... praise indeed.

Here is how to make up the stew: 

Heat a little butter and oil in a heavy pot over a hot ring until it sizzles not burns, throw in the lamb, one roughly chopped onion and season with the Salt & Pepper. Toss around the lamb and onion until they are brown (should only take a few minutes). Now throw in some whole peeled potatoes (about three or four you can halve them if you like), the carrots (peeled and chopped diagonally in fairly large slices), three or four whole peeled onions (or again half them if you like), the sticks of celery (about three or four chopped into fairly large pieces), the parsely (a good handfull chopped), and about four leaves of thyme (pulls the leaves from four stalkes). Mix it all around with a wooden spoon and pour in Water until all the ingridients are well covered. Bring to a simmer, turn down until the water barely bubbles, leave for three to four hours on a low heat. Serve garnished with more parsley and Irish Soda or Brown Bread.

Remember, "a stew boiled is a stew spoiled". Of course the reason we leave the stew cooking for so long is that in the past, when we were poor and couldn't afford lamb, we used Mutton which needed to cook slowly for longer in order that it would become tender. Lamb doesn't really need to cook slow or for so long, but I guess old habits die hard. (Just as well, I published that recipe in 2000 in the middle of the Celtic Tiger, but now I guess we'll be going back to mutton and no harm).

TIP stew always tastes better the next day.

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