I know it's waaay past St Pat's day, but well, dont think it's ever too late to put up a post on irish soda bread! Twas my first attempt (and taste!) at this and I have absolutely no clue or yardstick to measure it by. I was nonetheless thrilled when a nicely browned gigantic scone-looking mound emerged from the oven, all warm and toasty that I wanted to hold it close and hug it lovingly and let out sighs of contentment.
Anyway, the bread was to be an accompaniment to the Guiness beef stew that had been simmering slowly for over an hour, the chunky meat pieces lapping up all the goodness of the black stout. As soon as the stew was ready and the bread was cool enough to handle, I practically lunged at it with my knife, eagerly working it into nice thick slices. I slathered on a thick layer of my precious stock of Lescure buerre flecked with coarse sea salt (I couldn't find Kerrygold butter! La chance!) and sank my teeth into the bread. It was soft, surprisingly moist and had an almost cake-like quality to it, but that's when it happened. The brakes were slammed on my tastebuds as everything came to a screeching halt.
Something was amiss. My feet were still planted firmly on the ground; I wasn't jolted to cloud nine like I was expecting to!
Crap. The bread was SWEET.
I had been reading so much about irish soda bread and how gorgeously it pairs up with the highly salted Kerrygold irish butter, and I did come upon a few recipes offering the sweet version which included raisins, but I steered clear of these. There's nothing more I love than good savoury bread and salted butter, and my expectations of the soda bread laid somewhere between low earth orbit and the vast, vast outer realms of space. Of course this sounds nuts considering I've never even tasted this, but the rave reviews on this recipe just held endless promises!I even dipped it in the stew to see if it changes the taste. Bleah.
But well, all's not lost. It's not great as a savoury bread or with butter for that matter, but it definitely holds its own when eaten plain. I'm sure it'll be delicious with some confiture or thick cream too. As for me, I've got tentative plans for some nice creme brulee style french (irish?) toast..
Meanwhile, here's a little clip of one of my favourite songs: Brian Boru by Alan Stivell. It might just put you in the mood for some irish bread! :)