13 November 2012

Rosemary & Walnut Irish Soda Bread

Home baked bread, is their anything more comforting & satisfying?  

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight...one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells... there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel, that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.” 
M.F.K Fisher, The Art of Eating

This one is take on Irish Soda bread with a little bit of inspiration from Didas.  We were there earlier in the week for tapas & a talk from Dianne Jacob on why it is a good time to be a food blogger.  Yes Dianne Jacob made it all the way to NZ! Thanks for that goes to Alli over at Pease Pudding who happened to see that Dianne was across the ditch for the Australian Food Bloggers Conference & just asked if she would have the time on her trip to come & speak to some of us here in New Zealand.  And she did! What a wonderful evening.  Dianne was a fountain of useful information, inspiring, down to earth & a lovely lady.  It was such a pleasure to meet someone you admire & who inspires. For all sorts of useful tips & debates on blogging & writing head over to Will Write For Food.

Alongside the talk were some tasty tapas & some beautiful New Zealand wines.  I think I like all their tapas, however a favourite it is the soft goat’s  cheese with truffled honeycomb on fig & rosemary toast. On the wine side the Isabel Chardonnay was a favourite & although it was not the official match for the goat’s cheese tapas I felt they were a match made in heaven.  Just a subtle oakiness & a creaminess that cut through the clean sharp goat’s cheese & the piney rosemary toast perfectly.

The rosemary made the whole tapas pop & was the perfect fresh herbal foil for the cheese, the sharp sweetness of the honeycomb & that hint of truffle.  They all just came together in one perfectly delightful mouthful.

Other treats on the night were the sherry braised pork belly with quince aioli & the rosemary skewered Moorish lamb kebabs with salsa verde.  To finish a poached pear with vanilla mascarpone.

Rosemary & Walnut Irish Soda Bread

Makes one loaf


275g / 10oz wholemeal flour
175g / 6oz plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
25g / 1oz butter
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
400ml buttermilk, plus a little extra for brushing
1 egg
1 tbsp runny honey


Pre heat oven to 200C / 400F

Sift the flours & baking soda in to a large bowl.  Gently mix in the wholemeal & add the salt & pepper.  Next, add the butter rub it in until you have a crumbly mixture.  Add the rosemary & walnuts & gently mix.

In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg & honey. Make a whole in the middle of the flour mixture and add the liquid, mix gently & then turn out the dough to a floured surface & form a round loaf. Cut a cross on the top, place on a lined baking tray & place in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.

Once cooked, remove from the oven & leave to cool, that is if you can resist a slice straight from the oven topped with a healthy serving of butter.  Delicious slathered in butter or with a little ricotta & honey or for lunch with a little smoked salmon.  I like herbal, almost antiseptic hit that rosemary delivers all mellowed by the creamy, crunchy walnut.

If you like this you might like this Fresh Home Baked Seedy Irish Soda Bread



  1. I love soda bread and am summoning up the courage to experiment with it with non wheat versions just for the taste. Glad the bloggers night went well the tapas sound delicious.

    1. I am sure your experimenting will lead to some delicious bread Julie!

  2. How wonderful you got to meet Dianne! I love her blog and book - truly inspiring and informative.

    Your soda bread looks delicious and that first photo is especially stunning!

    1. Thanks Hannah, yes it was wonderful to meet Dianne in person, so lovely & down to earth....& inspiring & just such a fountain of information.

  3. You were inspired to go savoury, I was inspired to go sweet. Having said that, I've always wanted to try making sourdough. Your one sounds tasty.

  4. My kids love the smell of the almond extract mixed with the vanilla. I think I had them ready to eat at this point.
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