ArchiveFebruary 2001

Farmers Market

This week Henrietta Green’s Farmers Market Cookbook arrived on my desk.  Henrietta Green is quite a lady, a respected journalist, broadcaster and author of the multiple award winning The Food Lovers Guide to Britain.  She has also written several cookery books and is the winner of an IACP Julia Child Award. Widely acknowledged as the country’s leading expert and champion of Britain’s small speciality food producers, Henrietta was awarded the prestigious BBC Radio 4 Food Programme ‘Campaigner of the Year 2000’, by HRH The Prince of Wales. She was also recently voted one of the Evening Standard’s movers and shakers of London and her role in shaping the British culinary scene was acknowledged by House and Garden who included her in their ‘who’s who of British design for the end of the millennium.’ Henrietta currently sits on the steering committee of the advisory panel for the Countryside Agency’s new local food initiative ‘Eat the View’.  Ever since the 1980’s she has been instrumental in encouraging the British farmers’ market revival. She’s also quite beautiful and a bundle of fun.  Britain’s first Farmers Market set up its stalls in Bath in September 1998,  since then 250 more have mushroomed up around the country, some are weekly,  others fortnightly, others monthly. All are set up for the express  intention of providing an outlet for farmers and small food producers to sell local seasonal produce to the consumers who are desperately seeking this kind of food.  In the US there are now 2,700 from coast to coast, they estimate that over a million people shop at them each week, and the growth from 1996 when they were first counted there has been in the area of 40%.. This extraordinary development has baffled and intrigued the futurologists and business gurus who note with some dismay that the growth in retail food is static and expected to decline, while growth in the speciality food business and farmers market continues to grow apace.  It doesn’t surprise me, even while a large segment of the population seem happy to live out of the forecourt hot counters, a growing number of not necessarily affluent people, are craving fresh naturally produced seasonal food that they can trust, and are prepared to go out of the way to find it. For this reason, I believe there should be a weekly Farmers’ Market in every city centre and reasonable sized town in Ireland. It has already been proven that these markets not only attract more local people but also tourists into the town and so enhance the business of other shops. In fact in both the UK and US there are examples where local supermarkets have invited the Farmers Market Stalls to set up in their car park.  These markets are different from some of the established markets, they do not sell clothes, cd’s, tools, bric-a-brac… they simply sell local food to local people , the producers themselves or an appropriate representative must man the stall.

When Henrietta Green was asked to address the Oxford Farming Conference, she expanded her dream, she explained that while she didn’t see the Farmers Markets as the panacea to all our ills, almost everyone would benefit from the existence of countrywide farmers markets.  They enable local farmers and food producers to sell their goods locally which benefits both them and the local community. They keep the money circulating within the local area and attract people to adjacent retail businesses. Farmers Markets benefit the environment by encouraging sustainable agriculture and small scale less intensive production. They reduce the effects of the long distance transport of food and the need for excess packaging (more welcome than ever in these days of clogged roads and waste disposal crisis.) Furthermore they provide a thoroughly enjoyable opportunity for the consumer to meet the person who produces their food and helps to rebuild the bond of trust which has been so badly damaged between the producers and consumer over recent years. In the words of Dee Nolan , editor of YOU Magazine, ‘Farmers Markets rebuild that all-important relationship between the producer and the customer that had all but died out over the past few decades. It’s good for the producer to be able to meet the customer face-to-face and know their needs. Likewise, its great for the customer to actually see where their food comes from and understand what goes into producing it”. Henrietta Green’s Farmers’ Market Cookbook, published by Kyle Cathie Ltd. London.  Here are some recipes from Henrietta’s book.

Scrambled eggs with smoked eel

Serves 4

5 large eggs
50g (2oz) unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated horseradish
1 tablespoon double cream
4 x 250g (1oz) fillets of smoked eel
cayenne pepper

Although it is not essential, it is much easier to make these scrambled eggs in a non-stick saucepan. I have come across various cooks who make theirs in a frying pan and it just will not do. In a frying pan the eggs cook far too fast and, no matter how hard you try, you cannot achieve that unctuous creaminess that is essential to properly scrambled eggs. In a suitable bowl, whisk the eggs together, then whisk in 25g (1oz) of the butter, a knob of a time. Season lightly with no more than a tiny pinch of salt – remember the eel may be quite salty – freshly ground pepper and horseradish. Over a low heat melt the remainder of the butter in a saucepan, and then pour in the eggs. Using a wooden spoon. Stir constantly until all the butter has melted, then carry on stirring for another minute or so. Turn up the heat slightly and continue stirring until the eggs are just beginning to set. At this point, lift the saucepan off the heat while still stirring them, then replace the pan over the heat and repeat the process, the point is to slow down the process of cooking. Just when you think the eggs are almost – but still not quite – as scrambled as you like them, lift the pan off the heat, as they will carry on cooking for a while even if they are not directly over a heat source. Stir in the cream to cool them down and to make them even more rich and creamy, then turn them out on to warmed plates. Serve with the eel fillets arranged on top and dust with a little cayenne pepper.


Mixed Vegetable Soup

Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 spring onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
4 ripe plum tomatoes, halved, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 litre (1 3/4 pints) fresh vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 small potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
100g (4oz) baby carrots, quartered
250g (9oz) young spinach leaves
1/2 bunch or radishes, topped and tailed
100g (4oz) asparagus, chopped
Large handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
To serve: 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the spring onions and garlic and cook gently over a moderate heat to soften for about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock and seasoning and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook for a further 15 minutes. Add the radishes, carrots, young spinach leaves and asparagus, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the basil and serve the soup in bowls drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

Summer Mixed Vegetable Soup

Prepare as for the spring soup but replace the spring onions with 1 peeled and chopped red onion. Replace the carrots with 3 medium courgettes cut into cubes. Replace the radishes with 100g (4oz) sugar snap peas. Remove the spinach and asparagus. Add 50g (2oz) grated Parmesan at the same time as the extra virgin olive oil.

Autumn Mixed Vegetable Soup

Prepare as for the spring soup but replace the spring onions with 1 chopped onions. At the same time add 1 teaspoon of crushed cumin seeds. Replace the tomatoes with 3 sticks of chopped celery. Replace the potatoes with 150g (5oz) brown lentils and the spring carrots with two peeled and cubed carrots. Replace the radishes with 450g (1lb) peeled and cubed parsnips. Remove the spinach and asparagus. Simmer for an extra 10 minutes. Replace the basil with a large pinch of finely chopped fresh thyme. Replace the extra virgin olive oil with 150ml (1/4-pint) double cream.

Winter Mixed Vegetable Soup

Prepare as for the spring soup but replace the spring onions with 1 peeled and chopped onion. Replace the fresh tomatoes with a can of plum tomatoes. Add 3 sticks of chopped celery at the same time. Replace the potatoes with 1 peeled and cubed celeriac. Replace the spring carrots with two medium peeled and cubed carrots. Leave out the radishes, spinach and asparagus. Replace the basil with a handful of chopped parsley.


Slow-roasted Chilli pork

Serves 6-8
1 shoulder of pork weighing approximately 4kg (8lb 2oz) skin scored
4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
4cm (11/2in) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3 large red chillis, halved, deseeded and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas Mark 7

Place the pork skin side up on a rack over a roasting tin. Place the garlic, ginger and chillis in a pestle and mortar or food processor and pound or process until you get a rough paste, then slowly mix in the oil and vinegar. Using a spatula or – if you must – your hands (but remember to wash them thoroughly or the chillis might irritate your skin), rub the paste all over the scored skin of the pork. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the pork from the oven; reduce the temperature to 125oC/250oF/Gas-mark 1/2. Turn the pork over with the skin side down on the rack and return to the oven and cook for an unbelievable 23 hours. Remove from the oven and turn the oven up to the highest setting – 220oC/425oF/Gas mark 7. Turn the pork over to crackling side up on the rack and roast in the hot oven for a final 20 minutes to crispen up the crackling.
To serve:
Cut away the crackling with a sharp knife and break it up into pieces then start to carve the meat. Actually at this stage the meat is so tender that it is probably easier to break up the meat using two forks to pull it apart.

Rhubarb and ginger cobbler

Serves 6
For the filling:

600g (1lb 50z) rhubarb prepared and cut into 2.5cm (1 in) pieces.
175g (6oz) caster sugar
Zest and juice of 1 small orange
2.5 cm (1in) piece stem ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoons stem ginger syrup
For the cobbler topping:
250g (9oz) plain flour
3 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoons baking powder
Large pinch of salt
30g (11/2-oz) butter cut into small pieces
1 egg
125ml (4fl oz) buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6.

Mix the rhubarb with the sugar, orange zest and juice, stem ginger and syrup, and spoon into a 23cm(9in) baking dish. To make the cobbler mixture, combine the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Beat together the egg with the buttermilk then add to the dry mixture until it comes together to form a smooth non-sticky dough. Break off portions of the dough and place them on top of the fruit, pressing lightly. Carry on until the entire surface of the fruit is covered with the dough pieces to give a ‘cobbled’ effect. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of caster sugar on top of the dough. Bake in the preheated oven for 34-45 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately with lashings of cream.

Flight from the Land

During the past few years the flight from the land has continued to accelerate. The Irish Farmers Journal predicted that within the next decade the number of farms will be down from 100,000 to 20,000, and 80,000 farmers will be forced to leave the land – everywhere doom and gloom. Farmers wonder where it’s all going to end, even those who are still making a good living say the joy has been taken out of farming and moan about the filling in of forms, the Catch 22 situation with subsidies and expensive chemical inputs.
Many feel trapped and see no way forward and reluctantly encourage their children to pursue alternative careers no matter how strong their love for the land may be. However, this feeling of hopelessness is not shared by everyone. A few weeks ago I attended the Conference of the Soil Association at Cirencester Agricultural College. The mood among the capacity audience of over 600 delegates was optimistic and upbeat. Sainsbury’s sponsored the conference as they have for four years now, and reiterated their support for the organic movement, and confirmed the amazing 40% growth in demand for organic produce yet again, in the year 2000. In fact in the UK, the major supermarkets are vying with each other to sponsor organic events. Waitrose, together with the Mail on Sunday You Magazine sponsor the prestigious Organic Food Awards.
Three Government Ministers attended the Soil Association Conference. The Rt. Hon Michael Meacher, Minister for the Environment, Nick Brown Minister for Agriculture, and the Danish Minister of Agriculture- a dynamic gutsy woman called Ritt Bjerregaard. She explained how 20% of Denmark’s milk is now organic . The surplus milk on the home market is now being exported. Is it possible we will see Danish Organic milk on the shelves over here, instead of Irish organic milk which the market is crying out for. I was bringing milk from Glenisk in Co Offaly because I cannot get a supply of organic milk closer to home. Another interesting fact from fascinating Ritt Bjerregaard’s speech- Denmark has banned the use of pesticides and herbicides for use in private gardens or public parks.
The Oxford Farmers’ Conference on the same weekend was less than three-quarters full – no government minister attended, and God knows the conventional farmers could have done with the support.
Is there at last a realization, as the Danish Minister and other speakers were of the view, that sustainable agriculture and organic farming are the only way forward, and the only route out of this sad mess that agriculture has got into.
This is a similar view to the one articulated by the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder some weeks ago, when he addressed the German nation to break the devastating news that there were indeed cases of BSE in Germany. His message was loud and clear. ‘This spells the end of industrial farming in Germany – we simply have to find a new model.’
The new Minister Of Agriculture from the Green Party Mrs. Kunast, is determined to put the interests of the consumer first, but she warned this will mean that consumers must be prepared to pay more for less intensively produced food. At present the prices paid to farmers and food producers particularly for staples, are forcing them to cut costs and intensify further. In this situation we are all losers – it is simply not possible to produce really wholesome flavourful health-giving food for half nothing. Pushing yields beyond natural limits results in everything cracking as we can clearly see with BSE, Salmonella, E-Coli, Camphylocbactor……..
Those of you who are concerned about these matters may want to seek out a book called ‘Another Turn of the Crank’, written by Wendell Barry who was cited by the New York Review of Books as “perhaps the greatest moral essayist of our day”. He, like many others, fears for the future, unless we radically rethink our ways. In his book of six essays he reiterated his wish to restore local life by means of local economies. Even though the book is written from an American perspective, what he writes is also relevant to Ireland. After the second world war; there was a huge change in how land was farmed, both in the USA and here. What should have happened was for us to have carried on refining established practices and correcting, where necessary, any fertility deficit. What happened instead was that an agenda was adopted that called for a shift from the cheap, clean, and, for all purposes limitless energy of the sun to the expensive, filthy and limited energy of the fossil fuels. It called for the massive use of chemical fertilisers to offset the destruction of topsoil and the depletion of natural fertility. It called also for the displacement of nearly the entire farming population and the replacement of their labour and good farming practices by machine and toxic chemicals. Land was being wasted, farmers were finding times exceptionally hard and rural communities were breaking up through lack of employment. No one, with the exception of the businesses who supplied the machines, fuels and chemicals, benefited. As the ‘supposed abundance of cheap and healthful food is to a considerable extent illusory’ not even us, the consumers, were gaining. Patently, to carry on ploughing the same furrow would be a madness particularly, as Mr Berry predicts, soon there would be pitiably few farmers left able to earn a decent living. ‘If they will not control production and if they will not reduce their dependence on purchased supplies, they will keep failing.’
All is not lost, however; or rather; not yet. There is time – just, but only if we mend our ways. First, farmers must change their ways and learn, or learn again, to farm sustainably. The second change involves us all as it calls for ‘co-operation between local farmers and local consumers. The long-broken connections between towns and cities and their surrounding landscapes will have to be restored.
Could Farmers Markets be part of the answer? – find out next week.
Root vegetables are at their absolute best just now.

Moroccan Spiced Carrot Soup

Serves 4
2 tablesp olive oil or 30g (1oz) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablesp. grated ginger
1 teasp. ground cumin
1 teasp. ground coriander
¼ teasp. cayenne pepper
750g (1½lb) carrots, roughly chopped
1.5l (2½ pints) chicken or vegetable stock
1 teasp. honey
2 tablesp. lemon or orange juice
salt, black pepper

Heat the oil or butter in a heavy-based pot. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cayenne, carrot and potato and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium low heat until the vegetables are soft, 10 minutes.
Turn the heat to medium. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat, partially cover and simmer gently until the potato is tender, 30 minutes.
Leave to cool slightly. Puree until smooth with a hand blender or in a food processor. Stir in honey and lemon or orange juice. Thin with water as needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into warm bowls and serve hot.

Carrot and Parsnip Soup with Ginger
Omit the cumin, coriander and cayenne. Replace half the carrots with 2 chopped medium parsnips. Cook as directed.


Roast Winter Roots

Serves 4 as an accompaniment
1.25kg (2½lb) mixed root vegetables (see below)
1 head garlic, separated into cloves, but unpeeled
½ teasp. crumbled dried rosemary or 1 teasp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ teasp. balsamic vinegar
4 tables. Extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt, black pepper
Any roots or combinations of roots will work for this recipe. To minimise differences in cooking times, you will need to cut the fast-cooking vegetables into slightly larger pieces than the slow-cookers. Choose from:
Potatoes, quartered
Carrots, halved lengthwise
Medium parsnips, quartered lengthwise
Celeriac, peeled and cut into wedges
Turnips, quartered
Beetroot, quartered
Shallots, whole and peeled
Onions, peeled and quartered but still attached by the root end
Swede, peeled and cut into wedges
Jerusalem artichokes, halved

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) Gas 6.
Place the vegetables and garlic in a single layer in a roasting dish. Sprinkle with rosemary, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat. Roast until golden and tender: 40 minutes to 1 hour.


Creamy Parsnip Gratin

Serves 4
750g (1½lb) medium parsnips, cut into 5mm (¼ inch) slices.
175ml (6 fl.ozs) double cream
125g (4oz) gruyere or cheddar cheese, grated
salt, black pepper

Cook in boiling water until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 5-8 minutes. Drain well. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) Gas 6.
Layer the parsnip slices in a buttered baking dish. Pour over the cream and sprinkle with cheese, salt and pepper.
Bake until the topping is golden and just crisp, 15-20 minutes.
These recipes are from Planet Organic Cookbook by Renee Elliott and Eric Treuille, published by Dorling Kindersley.

Celeriac with Turmeric

Serves 4-6
2 celeriac (about 1kg/2lb)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
5 tablesp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ teasp. turmeric
salt and pepper
2 teasp. sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Peel and wash the celeriac and cut into pieces of roughly the same size. Put them into a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients and enough water to cover.
Cook, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes over a low heat until the celeriac is soft and the liquid is absorbed, turning the pieces over and raising the heat, if necessary, to reduce the sauce a little at the end.
Serve cold.
This recipe is from Tamarind and Saffron by Claudia Roden, published by Penguin Books.


A Slow Food Party

We’ve just had a wonderful party at the Ballymaloe Cookery School – a Slow Food celebration for the special people who produce our food all year round – the gardeners, farmers, cheesemakers, fish smokers, bread bakers, organic producers… This was our way of saying thank you to at least some of the dedicated people who provide us with fine quality, fresh natural produce, which enables us to serve the kind of food for which Ballymaloe has become famous. Much is local and whenever possible organic.

This food is produced by a variety of passionate people, many artisanal producers, others with larger concerns, all with one thing in common, each and every one is committed to producing top quality, safe, wholesome, health-giving food.

We had a lively gathering, there was music and fun and a wonderful conviviality. People came laden with gifts of their lovely produce, wonderful smoked fish – warm and cold smoked tuna, real kippers and wild salmon from Sally Barnes of Woodcock Smokery near Castletownshend, haunting juicy smoked chicken and wild salmon from Anthony Cresswell of Ummera in Timoleague, smoked sprats and more gorgeous smoked salmon, and a fresh organic salmon from Frank Hederman which we promptly cooked and served warm with a homemade mayonnaise. Fingal Ferguson of Gubbeen cooked some of his maple smoked bacon and Willie and Avril Howe from Rosscarbery who produce free range pork, cooked pan after pan of their juicy sausages.

Our son Isaac fired up the wood-burning oven and turned out the most delicious thin crust pizzas topped with oven roasted tomato sauce, melting cheese, chorizo sausage and marjoram. Others had Gubbeen bacon and buttery cabbage, others were topped with garlic butter, all were gobbled up appreciatively.

Nora Aherne who rears us the most delicious free range ducks, geese and turkeys was there, Michael Cuddigan our local butcher couldn’t make it, he was busy looking after his Saturday afternoon customers.

There was a wonderful gathering of cheesemakers, Mary Burns of Ardrahan arrived first bearing a box of the most exquisite mature baby Ardrahan cheeses, rich and pungent. Next came a bus load of wonderful people from West Cork led by cheesemakers Giana Ferguson of Gubbeen and Jeffa Gill of Durrus – all the way from Tipperary came Breda Maher who makes the much loved Cooleeney Cheese and Jane and Louis Grubb with a gorgeous Cashel Blue Cheese and one of their sheep’s milk cheeses, and Dick and Anne Keating who make the delicious Baylough cheese near Clogheen. Dicky and Sinead Willems whose superb Coolea Cheese won the Supreme Award at the British Cheese Show last year also came along and Veronica Steele journeyed all the way from the Beara Peninsula. New to me was Maja Binder from Castlegregory in Co Kerry who makes raw milk washed rind cheeses, she sells it to the lucky people of West Cork at the Bantry Fair on Fridays. Fiona Corbett, cheese guru from Sheridans Cheese Shop in Dublin drove all the way from the capital to be with us all, she brought a gorgeous hunk of Giorgio Cavero 2 year old Parmigiano Reggiano and some delicious Membrillo Spanish Quince Paste.
Last time I met Fiona, she and Seamus Sheridan and Marianne Kraus were manning the Irish Farmhouse Cheese stall at the Slow Food Salone del Gusto in Turin last October – always a joy to meet these passionate foodies with such an uncompromising commitment to quality food – their enthusiasm, even for the uninitiated is infectious, it is thanks to them that Ireland has a presence we can be proud of at the largest artisanal food fair in the world.
Can you imagine the feast we had. We had a huge salad bowl of organic salad leaves from the greenhouses, cucumber pickle, a chunky mushroom soup, and some gorgeous breads – at a guess about 14 or 15 different types. Many of the Slow Food members brought home made breads and other goodies. Patsy Ryan of Arbutus arrived with a huge basket of Declan’s freshly baked breads. Caroline Dare brought a selection of her organic breads from Organico in Bantry, Cornelia O’Keeffe contributed several varieties of multi-grain bread Olivier Baugouan from Tralee drove over to Shanagarry after he had packed up in Limerick Farmers’ Market and brought a seaweed tapenade and some gorgeous pickled herrings.

Yom Colbert and Gar Granville who were gardeners here last summer, played terrific music with their friends oyster farmer Rupert Hugh Jones and masseur Pete Thompson.

Many of our friends from the Farmers Market in Midleton came too and brought lots of goodies


Melted Gubbeen Cheese with Winter Herbs

Giana Ferguson tells me that this is also irresistible with Cooleeney Cheese
Serves 6-8
1 baby Gubbeen
freshly chopped thyme
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
freshly ground pepper
tin foil
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Regulo 4. Cut a square of tin foil approximately 12 inches.
Split the cheese in half around the equator. Put the base on to the centre of the tin foil, sprinkle the cut surface generously with freshly chopped herbs, choped garlic and some freshly ground black pepper.
Top with the other part of the cheese. Gather up the edges but allow a little vent for the steam to escape. Bake in a moderate oven for 20-30 minutes or until soft and melting. Cooleeney would be perfect in about 10 minutes.
Open the parcel. Lift off the rind and eat the soft herby, melting cheese with lots of crusty bread, boiled potatoes and a green salad. Exquisite!

Baked Eggs with Smoked Salmon or Smoked Mackerel

These may be served as a starter or snack and there are infinite variations on the theme. A delicious treat using some locally smoked fish and free range eggs.
Serves 4
4 fresh eggs, preferably free-range
½ oz (15 g/1/8 stick) butter
6-8 tablespoons cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 small ramekins
Lightly butter the 4 ramekins. Put 1 tablespoon of chopped smoked salmon or flaked smoked mackerel in the base of each ramekin. Add 1 –2 tablespoons (¼oz – ¼ cup) of chopped parsley to the cream and proceed as in the basic recipe.
Heat the cream; when it is hot, spoon about 1 tablespoon into each ramekin and break an egg into the cream. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Spoon the remainder of the cream over the top of the eggs. Place the ramekins in a bain-marie of hot water, cover with tin foil or a lid and bring to simmering point on top of the stove. Continue to cook either gently on top of the stove, or in a moderate oven, 180C/350F/regulo 4, 12 minutes approx. for a soft egg, 15 minutes for a medium egg and 18-20 minutes for a hard egg. Serve immediately.


Carrot Cake

Frank O’Neill brought some of the delicious carrot and chocolate cakes that people beat a path to his stall for at the Midleton Farmers Market every Saturday. I don’t feel it would be quite fair to ask Frank for his secret recipe, so here is another one given to me by Iris Sheane. We make it with local carrots from Patrick Walsh here in Shanagarry.
7 oz (200g) brown sugar
6 fl.oz (170ml) vegetable oil
2 eggs
4 oz (110g) wholemeal flour
5 oz (140g) grated carrot
2 oz (50g) chopped walnuts
1 teasp. cinnamon
1 teasp. bread soda
Using mixer, slowly add oil to sugar, beat well. Add eggs and beat again. Fold in all the other ingredients. Put into a lined 8 inch (20.5cm) high sided round tin.
Bake in preheated oven 350F/180C/regulo 4) for 1-1½ hours.
When cool top with this cream cheese topping.
Topping (this makes enough to ice 2 cakes)
4½ oz (125g) cream cheese
3 oz (85g) icing sugar
3 oz (85g) butter
grated rind of 1 orange.
Cream all the ingredients together.

Simply Nutritious Wholemeal Bread

This is a more modern version of Soda Bread, couldn’t be simpler, just mix and pour into a well greased tin.
This bread keeps very well for several days and is also great toasted.
Makes 1 loaf
400g (14 oz/scant 3 cups) stone ground wholemeal flour
55g (2oz) white flour, preferably unbleached
1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) bran
1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) wheatgerm
1 level teaspoon (2 American teaspoon) bread soda, sieved (Bicarbonate of Soda/Baking Soda)
1 teaspoon (1 American teaspoon) salt
1 teaspoon (1 American teaspoon) soft dark brown sugar
1 egg, preferably free range
1-2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) arachide or sunflower oil, unscented
450ml (15fl oz/12 cups) buttermilk or sour milk approx. (put all the milk in)
Sunflower or sesame seeds optional
Loaf tin – 9 inches (23cm) x 5 inches (12.5cm) x 2 inches (5cm)

Preheat oven to 2001C/4001F/regulo 6.
Put all the dry ingredients including the sieved bread soda into a large bowl, mix well. Whisk the egg, add the oil and most of the buttermilk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid, mix well and add more buttermilk if necessary. The mixture should be soft and slightly sloppy, pour into an oiled tin and bake for 60 minutes approx, or until the bread is nice and crusty and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.



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