Yay...today is not just the first day of the year, it's also the first day we have actually felt like we own and live in this house rather than the house owning us if that makes sense?! We are walking carefree from room to room and most things actually work ok, lol! It's great. We've been working hard on it again the last few days (after having a nice break over christmas) and have it in pretty good shape. Still lots to do of course but things are comfortable and enjoyable now, horrah!
I finally got to unpack our kitchen after all this time (oh, just about 2 1/2 yrs, blush) and have been having palpitations over the idea of being able to cook normally again....something that has been lacking from this blog. My list of things to make is ever increasing but what better to start with than some scrummy bread to fill our new home with that freshly baked smell of goodness. So, here's my basic recipe for white soda bread with a festive twist at the bottom..
BASIC WHITE SODA BREAD
500g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp caster sugar
pinch of salt
salted butter (and jam is yummy too!)
Preheat the oven to 220C (400F / Gas Mark 6). Sift the flour and bicarb into a large bowl and stir the sugar and salt through. Make a well in the centre and pour in almost all of the buttermilk. Stir from the sides to draw the dry into the wet, continuing to bring together to a dough (adding the remaining buttermilk if necessary). Knead lightly to shape into a smooth ball, without over-working it too much and place on a non stick baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut a deep cross in the dough and then bake for about 40 minutes until golden and cooked through. You can tell it's cooked if the bread is crisp on the bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Leave to cool a little on a wire rack and then when just warm (or cold) serve sliced and spread with butter. This will keep fresh in an airtight container for a day or two.
FOR A FESTIVE TWIST:
Stir 50g dried cranberries, 50g sultanas and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon into the mix with the sugar and continue as normal.