March is one of my favorite months. We finally begin to emerge from the bleak Winter. Tiny bits of green are pushing their way through the cold ground, my orchid blooms at home, the clocks “spring” ahead, and we celebrate a fun Irish holiday. I decided to challenge myself and do a little baking this time.
Two years ago I created a tasty Shepherd’s Pie.
Just for good measure I made it again this week and it was as delicious as when I created it. The key, and a very important one: is to make sure you reduce the liquid as I instruct. Your end result should be a thick, glossy and very delicious filling.
Last year I worked up a classic Irish dish into something a little different: a root vegetable Boxty, which garnered high marks.
Looking to go as authentic as I could I turned to my friend Brona. On her advice I headed to Yonkers, McClean Avenue to be exact, and the famous butcher shop called the Butcher’s Fancy. Right at the front door I found my flour, and a variety of other items.
This recipe will take as little as five minutes of active time, and bake in 45. Within an hour you will be enjoying this lovely bread. To read more about how I created it, and some interesting variations click this link: Celebrating Spring and Getting my Irish On.
Raisin-Walnut Irish Brown Bread
Makes 1 loaf
2½ cups coarse whole wheat flour, I used Odlum’s Coarse Wholemeal flour
½ cup of toasted wheat germ
½ cup ground flax, I used Bob’s Red Mill Gold Flax Meal
½ cup hemp hearts
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons of Lyle’s Black Treacle
1 tablespoon honey
5 tablespoons Kerrygold Butter, melted
2 cups of buttermilk, room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and combine with a whisk.
3. In another bowl mix the milk, honey, treacle and butter.
4. Blend all together with a spatula, until combined.
5. Turn into a buttered or sprayed loaf tin. Bake for about 45 minutes. It’s done when the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it. Remove and cool on a rack.
1) Brona’s original recipe: Just 2 tablespoons of honey for the sweetener and 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
2) Savory Flavored: Use only 2 tablespoons of treacle and eliminate the honey, raisins and walnuts
• If going authentic you need to get Odlum’s flour and Lyle’s treacle. In Westchester County, NY you can find both at The Butcher’s Fancy in Yonkers. It’s a great little grocery and butcher shop on McClean Avenue. You can also find them on line.
• Flax and hemp can be found in the organic aisle at the grocery store. You can also find them both at Whole Foods in the bulk bin.