Tag Archives: breakfast

Connie’s Irish Soda Bread Recipe–even easier than no knead dough

Irish Soda Bread

I am late for the airport.  Or will be. Which is why I shouldn’t be posting.  But this is typical for me, “I’ll just insert complex activity before the taxi gets here in 1 minute”.   Anyway, our cheese club meets 5 times a year and for our first meeting (now held at Cheesewerks –now serving amazing brunches!) was broken up into a few subjects.  One was Irish cheese and Connie, who presented it, made this Irish Soda Bread.  So soft.  So tender and dense.  So “make in a jiff”.   As in, 45 minute and done (35 minutes for baking).

IRISH SODA BREAD

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Make a well in the flour.
In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.
Add wet to dry all at once and mix with hands or wooden spoon just to combine.
Knead on floured surface to form ball that holds together.

Split the loaf in two and make two smaller loaves.
Place side by side on parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 425 for 35 minutes.

After 35 minutes give to bottoms on the bread a little knock, if they sound hollow they are done.

To make a whole wheat version, substitute 2 cups whole wheat flour for 2 cups all-purpose (50/50 split).
Add 1 cup of raisins.  Some “traditional” recipes added caraway seeds as well.

**Maybe Connie will answer this: why don’t you mix all the dry together and just add the buttermilk to that?  Is there a reason?  I did it as per these instructions and it worked, but it was against my instinct!

Cheese Club at Cheesewerks. How perfect.

For those curious, here is our cheese club meeting,table loaded with cheese and goodies.  Jill is presenting about her and Lisa’s trip to NY to take a Cheese Boot Camp at Murray’s Cheese.

Cheese Tasting

Here we were pairing different cheese styles with sweet, salty, sour.

And now, I am off to NYC for a 2 day Master class in Cheese At Artisanal.  WHOOT!!!!   Crap, I’ve really got to get going.

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Kick-Ass Mother’s Day Breakfast in 10 minutes (I timed it)

Simple can be phenomenal.  The thought of  perfect soft-boiled egg ( runny, rich yolk,  sea salt) and generously buttered toast makes my shoulders relax and my mouth water.    Relaxation, pleasure and fun (dipping toast into your yolk is fun after all) can be delivered to mom in 10 minutes.  Best of all, no clanging pots to wake her from her sleep and barely a dish to find “soaking” in the sink when she finally comes downstairs.

But the key word for soft-boiled egg heaven is “perfect”. Not too loose, not too firm.  Let me, soft-boiled egg fanatic, give you the inside scoop.

Take the eggs out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature before cooking them.  This helps prevent cracking (less shock of a cold egg hitting hot water).

I  never remember to take the eggs out of the fridge in advance, so I put them into a bowl of warm water while I bring a small pot of water to a boil.

Using a pin (a safety-pin from your dry cleaning hanger will work just fine) make a small hole in the bottom of the egg to relieve some of the pressure when it goes into the hot water (another trick to prevent cracking).  I admit to skipping this step on regular days but–come on—it’s an occasion.

When your water is boiling add your egg(s) and keep the water at a gentle simmer.  You want some bubbles still breaking the top.

Water should cover the whole egg. Do as I say not as I do.

Now set your time for 5 minutes (6 minutes if you want the yolk slightly firming at the edges) and go to work on getting the toast into the toaster (don’t toast it yet though) and butter at ready.

When the timer goes off, drop the eggs into a bowl of cold water to stop their cooking.  NOW press the toast down.  When done, butter the toast, cut the cap off your egg (be confident with the knife to make the first crack and then gently slide the knife through to the other side, turning the egg upright fast for fear of losing any of the runny yolk.).  Sprinkle  sea salt on the egg and the toast.  Tad-ah!  Done.

Bring directly up to mom with a little spoon and a napkin.

Garnish with good coffee.

And gild the lily with a bar of sea salt chocolate.  (yes, kind of cliché yet kind of genius at the same time).

Bring it all up, allow for a quick kiss and thank you and then leave her the hell alone.

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Bread and Butter Haiku

Chewy baguette with crispy crust.  Monforte butter, hand-churned from creme fraiche (which was made from organic cream from Mapleton’s Organic).

LUNCH.

Calls for a Haiku.

BREAD AND BUTTER

it would not be  bad

to lose skinny human friends

for fat chewy ones

Finish with a pear.

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Forget the a.m. cream cheese, go for chevre.

Memories.  Since it is the weekend and time for languid, lazy breakfasts, I was remembering the cheese and coffee pairings I did awhile back.

And how the chevre and black coffee was a brilliant match.  So I thought I would repost the reminder.  Buy some chevre and make a really good cup of coffee (or hell, buy that too) then sit back and watch someone else slave over the waffles and bacon.  And make sure they promise to do their own breakfast dishes.

And if you’ve promised someone breakfast in bed just add fresh fruit to the menu and you will be the best ever bed chum in as much time as it takes you to grind coffee beans and wash strawberries.

Have a good one!

PS–I just remembered this Ginger Melon salad (see bottom of post) that would step up the chevre/coffee thing and  would totally earn you foot massage (at least in this house).

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Gwyneth Paltrow is GOOPing on my territory

My mouth is a bit smaller than in this picture.

First the acting, then the singing, next a cookbook and now a blog post about cheese. I’m exhausted GP.  You don’t have to do everything.  Let me do the cheese- seriously.  I mean, really…what else do I have?  A small film called Salami Heaven, songs at pre-school where I keep my voice low enough to blend in with the hum of the fan and a kick-ass recipe for fudge.  But no cook book.

All I had was the cheese.  And now you had to go there.  And I had to go there to get the link to your post. It’s just unjust.  But, it is kind of a good post.  I grudgingly admit.

And I do love, love, love (love) La Fromagerie in London, and their cheese room and their soft-boiled egg for breakfast with the imported Italian coffee.  And nothing bad to say about Murray’s cheese in New York either.

The newspaper is for when you eat breakfast alone-- which is the best way to dine in the early morning.

Just one thing, I resent the “cheese is kind of unhealthy” disclaimer off the top.  At its best, made with care and with pristine milk I would consider it pretty darn healthy.  And btw, so does Patricia Michelson, owner of La Fromagerie.  A quote from her first book, The Cheese Room (personally autographed–(ha GP!)– to my husband… but details..),

“Who would have thought a book on cheese would contain a beauty tip? Not such a daft idea as we should all know about the health enhancing qualities of cheese–good for teeth and bones as well as the blessed dietary attributes of Parmigiano Reggiano for young children, women in pregnancy, the elderly and sporty types.”

She’s talking about the fact that Italian scientists have studied the benefits of Parmigiano-Reggiano for many years. It is easy to digest for children (and people with gastrointestinal problems) as the long ageing process slowly breaks down the milk proteins. It has high levels of calcium and phosphorus making it very good for people suffering from osteoporosis.  Plus for athlete’s it can provide the protein they might get from meat, but is lower in cholesterol and generally one of the lower-fat cheeses.

BTW, Patricia’s books are wonderful and fun to read, not only if you love cheese but if you enjoy food.  And if you’re in London, you must absolutely head to her store.  Even more important than a visit to Top Shop,  afterall,  you can dress in cheese, but you can’t eat clothes.

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Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Cookbooks, Magazines (+recipes from), Strange but Tasty

That’s “Duchess Commoner” to you

Serenity at 4 am.

Until midnight last night I was determined not to care too much about the Royal wedding.  I set my alarm for 5am which seemed much more reasonable than 4am (and surely there was only so much footage of sentimental crowds in Union Jack T-shirts that one could make fun of).

Within one minute of my head hitting the pillow I had turned the light back on and re-set the alarm to 4am. Then double checked it.  A total sucker.  Dammit.

At 4 o’clock I  steeped myself a cup of tea using my wedding china (I just gave up all resistance) and curled up on the couch.  It was quiet and dark and insect-like fascinators were buzzing all around Westminster Abbey in HD glory.  It was like Alice in Wonderland had landed on everyone’s head.

I watched, I ate scones.  I ate all the bacon.  (Sorry family.)

I texted my friend Nic to ask if she also thought David Beckham looked hot. (she did)

My soft-boiled egg long forgotten.

I overcooked my soft-boiled eggs during the walk down the aisle. (Here’s the dress and check out Pippa!)

During the vows I used a paring knife to carve the likeness of the new Duchess of Cambridge out of a cantaloupe.

OK, I ate a ginger-cantaloupe salad (recipe below).

Essentially, I was one happy commoner.  Wills and Kate 4-Ever! T.I.D. T.I.N.D.

GINGER-MELON SALAD (adapted from the Rose Bakery Cook Book)

This is a very simple, do-ahead recipe. I think this syrup would be a nice boost when your melon (dare I say it?) might not be quite in season and less sweet.  Or try adding the ginger syrup to real iced tea.

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup water

4 cm piece fresh ginger (peeled and grated*)

juice of 1 lemon

1 cantaloupe, cut into bite-size chunks

1 honeydew, cut into bite-size chunks

Put the sugar and water into a small saucepan and simmer until sugar dissolves.

Add the grated ginger, set syrup aside to cool.

Strain syrup and add lemon juice.

Pour the syrup over the melon an hour before serving. Toss and chill.

*the original recipe suggests slicing the ginger but I think grating it infuses more flavour (since you’re straining it anyway).


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Ready or Not Here I Scone

I plan to eat a scone every 10 minutes as tribute.


CBC’s Jian Ghomesi tried to squelch my media-hyped Royal wedding anticipation on Q this morning by implying/saying straight out that there were more important things in the world than Kate and Will.  Well, too late Jian, that was my stance until last weekend but now the scones are ready to go.  (Couldn’t resist dropping the fact that you born in London though, could you? Well, so what, I’ve been to London too and took a highly informative double decker bus tour. That’s right.)

So, without further ado-my eats Friday, April 29, 2011, 4 am

Soft-boiled egg  (with Maldon sea salt of course)

Bacon and a breakfast sausage (why choose when there will be hours of wedding bonanaza)

Scone-with raisins and candied orange (it covers the “wedding fruitcake” theme)

The Duchy Original Damson preserves  (have been consuming them like crazy all week, you rock the preserves Prince Charles)

Melon salad with ginger-lemon dressing (the fruit component which makes this a healthy breakfast)

Royal Early Grey tea (seems only right)

Will post pictures at breaking dawn.  Or a lot later.

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