Friday, 17 March 2017

Dia de São Patrício - um dia de panificação,"Ah sure, it will be a great craic !"

Guinness and spirits are not the only great consumable goods to come out of Ireland. Corned beef, cabbage and lamb stew accompanied by traditional Irish soda bread are tasty ways to "keep it real."
Last year I was given  a recipe for Irish soda bread by a guest who had been staying in the house.With Saint Patrick´s day once more upon us I thought I would make this again and also try a variation on the theme with a batch of white soda scones.I thought I would have a bit of a "Norn' Iron" fry up too with some Irish potato bread.(farls)
So come on release the leprechaun within you and If you're cooking on March 17th, you can get into the festive spirit by incorporating a little green into your work attire. Try a green apron?
White soda Scones 
The key to tender scones and most Irish baking recipes  for that matter is handling the mixture as little as possible.
3 2/3 cups (1 pound) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups buttermilk

( If butter milk is not available use a 50/50 blend of plain yogurt and water)
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 450F. Sift flour, salt and baking soda into a large bowl, and rub the mixture with your fingertips to incorporate some air. Make a well in the centre and pour in most of the buttermilk. Using one hand, with your fingers open and stiff, mix in a full circle, bringing the flour and liquid together, adding more liquid if necessary. The dough should be quite soft, but not too sticky.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and do not knead it but gently bring it into a ball. Flatten slightly to a height of about 1 1/2 inches. Cut dough into squares or whatever shape you like. Place scones onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes (depending on size). When cooked they should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack.
This scone recipe is from Rachel Allen, the Martha Stewart of Ireland.  It is from her book, Favorite Food at Home with Rachel Allen (Morrow, 2006). 
Potato Farls
The word farl literally means "fourths": they are shaped from a circle of dough cut into quarters. They are part of a family of Irish potato breads and pancakes which include boxty, potato fadge and stampy. Traditionally they were made with oatmeal, butter and potatoes – no flour, no bicarbonate of soda. But it's worth experimenting to get the texture you want. The less flour and bicarb you use, the denser and moister the farl. Using more flour and bicarb and moistening the mixture with milk creates an increasingly light and fluffy bread‑like substance.
Don't hesitate to leave a few tiny potato lumps, it makes the farls a bit more luscious. Try not to use excess flour when shaping the rounds; As I said above I have found the best way to shape the bread is to use your hands instead of a rolling pin and a pizza cutter to slice before cooking.
4 medium potatoes
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
Please note the above ingredients are approximate. Potato Bread is best made while potatoes are still hot.
Peel and boil potatoes until tender.
While hot, mash potatoes well with salt and butter.
Gradually work in flour in smaller increments until a soft dough forms. Dough should be a little tacky but workable.
Turn out onto floured surface and knead for about 1 minute.
Divide and roll into a circular shape about 9" and 1/4" thick.
Cut into 6 or 8 'farls' (wedges).
Grill in a hot, greased griddle or pan until well browned on both sides.

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