The Easiest Irish Soda-bread

The Easiest Irish Soda-bread

Like everyone else in lock-down, we tried our hands at bread-making. Not the arduous kind of bread where you have to proove it for days. More the kind that you knock up in a bread maker. We did have success although we did still find even using the machine to be a faff, and so never really got away from the supermarket purchases. Until now…

I think it might have been on an Instagram feed that a recipe came up from Siggi’s, using their Icelandic inspired yogurt which does not contain artificial preservatives, thickeners, sweeteners, flavours or colours. I love this yoghurt and so was immediately interested. And, with so few ingredients, decided to give it a whirl.

The recipe uses cups as a measurement, as it’s an American website, so a bit of conversion had to be done first. For the record, this accurate:

  • 1 cup = 136 grammes
  • 1 cup = 237 millilitres

RECIPE

  • 4 cups (544g) of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups (473ml) of 0% plain drinkable yoghurt

METHOD

Honestly, this could not be easier. If you have the four ingredients pre-weighed, it’ll take no longer than 5 minutes before it’s in the oven. Especially if you’re an expert kneader!

reheat the oven to 190°C (or 375°F).

Add flour, salt, and baking soda to a mixing bowl and mix together with a fork. Pour in the yoghurt and stir briskly with the fork until the ingredients are combined and it holds together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for 30 seconds. Pat into an 8-inch and 1 1/2 inch thick round on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a knife to cut an “x” in the top of the bread.

The recipe says to bake for 45 minutes, but we found the bread to be very pale, so did it for 55 minutes and it was perfect for our taste. Let it cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Wrap in a lightly damp towel and let cool completely. And, that is it!

 

Pistachio Pesto

Pistachio Pesto

OK, if you have a nut allergy, DO NOT – and I repeat *DO NOT* – try out this recipe. If you don’t, and you are a fan of the pistachio nut, DO try it out. Because not only is it stupendously delicious, it is beyond easy to make, takes very little time, very little washing up is involved and is not expensive. It’s become a bit of a staple for us, especially when hot evenings mean we don’t want to spend too long in the kitchen.

INGREDIENTS

(I’ve not added quantities as you’ll know how much pasta you want, how many nuts and how much parmesan etc.)

Pasta – spaghetti works well, as the pesto is quite thick, so clings to the strands – but have done it with penne & tagliatelle, and both are as good
Pistachio nuts
Parmesan cheese
Basil leaves
4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
 
 
 

 

METHOD

This could not be any easier. And if you find shelling pistachios to be very therapeutic, it’s the recipe for you!
 
Shell all the pistachios, put them in a blender and add the parmesan cheese, basil and oil. Meanwhile, cook the pasta.
 
 

Blending the nuts & cheese & basil leaves & oil

 
 
Transfer the pistachios mixture to a pan, and stir over a medium heat, adding pasta water to obtain a cream. When the pasta is cooked, add it to the pistachio cream and stir, adding more cooking water until you get the consistency you prefer.
 
 

Heating through the pistachio cream, adding pasta water to get your desired consistency

 
Serve and complete with chopped pistachios, parmesan and a basil leaves,and a sprinkle of black pepper.