Summer is here.
Let me repeat: SUMMER IS HERE!
This being the longest day of the year, I wish you a wonderful solstice and a beautiful summer filled with Popsicles, large bodies of water, potlucks and most importantly happiness.
Gather the troops, your trusty friends, make a summer of fun. Reach out making new friends, become closer with the ones that you have and cherish. Spend the summer cracking jokes, laughing as hard and as often as you can, going for walks, getting on bikes and rolling to the nearest ice cream shop.
Eat ice cream and laugh all summer.
Summer is a time spend outside, grass between your toes, sun on your face, a breeze in your hair, friends never a far reach. Fire up the grill, keeping it simple, don't fuss over food or fuss over the food but please don't stress over the food.
This simple soda bread is the perfect loaf to tuck into a picnic basket and toted to the park. In the picnic basket toss in a bottle of crisp white wine, a wedge of salami, wheel of your favorite soft cheese or cool butter mixed with fresh herbs and make an afternoon seem like paradise. Spread a soft blanket at the base of a tree, spread a few napkins across your legs and arrange the contents of the picnic basket within an arms reach. Pour a little wine into a tumbler. Lay on your back and take a few deep breaths and remember that everything is okay. Close your eyes and relax. Get lost in conversation and taken away by the simple act of spreading butter on bread.
Gluten-Free Soda Bread with Herbs
Recipe via Lucullian Delights from The Ballymaloe Bread Book by Tim Allen
I use Bob Red Mill's all purpose gluten-free baking flour for gluten-free baking, it has not yet let me down. In a loaf like this that does not require yeast, I weigh gram for gram the GF flour replacing the traditional all purpose white flour. With the GF flour, the amount of liquid varies, I used too much milk and had a very runny loaf and had to bake it in a skillet. It sill tasted great but next time add only half the requested milk and add more from there. Do not over mix, you will be very disappointed.
450 g/1lb Gluten-Free AP Flour (or plain white four)
1 level teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon bread soda, finely sieved
1 dessert spoon each of rosemary, sage and chives, all freshly chopped
400 ml/ 14 fl oz buttermilk
Heat up the oven to 230 degrees C/450 degrees F
Sieve the flour, salt and bread soda into a large, wide mixing bowl. Add the freshly chopped herbs to the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the center. Pour most of the milk into the flour. Using one hand with the fingers open and stiff, mix in a full circle drawing in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky.
The trick with all soda breads is not to over-mix the dough. Mix the dough as quickly and as gently as possible, keeping it really light and airy. When the dough comes together, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface. Wash and dry your hands.
Gently roll the ball of dough around with floury hands for a few seconds, just enough to tidy up. Then pat it gently into a round, about 5 cm/2 in high.
Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet. With a sharp knife cut a deep cross in the middle of it, letting the cuts go over the sides of the bread. Then prick the four triangles with your knife: according to Irish folklore this will let the fairies out!
Put this into your preheated oven for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F for a further 25 minutes, or until cooked. When the bread is cooked it will sound hollow when tapped.