• St. Patricks Day - Fruit Soda Bread

    In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, Helen Brady has kindly shared the following:

    I grew up in Dublin, Ireland in the 1970’s on a steady diet of American re-runs including The Rockford files, Charlie’s Angels, The Hardy Boy’s/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Wonder Woman and The Mary Tyler Moore Show (my mom’s Favorite).  I’m not sure if it was because of that indulgence but I always had huge desire to visit America, lucky for me I did when I was 11.  I was in awe, so it was really no surprise in the late 90’s when I had the opportunity to move to New York with my husband, for 3-5 years, I said “yes”. Twenty-four years, five homes, two states, two wonderful kids and one COVID cat later I am still here and have called Somers home for 17 years!

    When my kids started school I had to learn and come to terms with an American St. Patrick’s Day. Going against all American traditions I do not wear green on St. Patrick’s Day - once I open my mouth everyone knows I’m Irish - though my daughter was always decked out head to toe, fueled by a steady supply of regalia from my mother; I had no idea how mischievous leprechauns are - they must have emigrated to America before I got to know them; I’ve never eaten corned beef and cabbage - it isn’t the traditional Irish food so many people believe it to be; and it’s the Shamrock not the four leaf clover that is a symbol of the day. There is one aspect of an American St. Patrick’s Day I can’t come to terms with, three little words, “St. Patty’s Day” so around this time each year I like to assert that it is ok to say “St. Paddy’s Day” or just stick with the traditional Saint Patrick’s Day!

     On March 17th you’ll find me devouring homemade fruited soda bread with Kerrygold butter, brown soda bread with smoked salmon or a full Irish breakfast with enough protein, salt and fat for the whole of Ireland.  I’ll also be taking a moment to celebrate my Dad who passed away the day after St. Patrick’s Day in 2018.

     Happy Saint Patrick’s Day / Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit!

    Now, are you wondering what is the different between a shamrock and a 4 leaf clover?

    According to Wikipedia, A shamrock is a young sprig, used as a symbol of IrelandSaint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, is said to have used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity.[1] The name shamrock comes from Irish seamróg ([ˈʃamˠɾˠoːɡ]), which is the diminutive of the Irish word seamair óg and simply means "young clover".[2]

    A Clover has four leaflets.  It takes a rare genetic mutation to get that extra leaf which is why it’s so difficult to find a four-leaf clover.

    Want to enjoy some of Helen’s homemade fruited soda bread?  She has kind shared recipes with us! 

    Fruit Soda Bread

    450 grams/1 pound of plain flour

    1 level teaspoon of baking soda

    25 grams/ 1oz of caster sugar (superfine sugar)

    A pinch of salt

    25 grams/1 oz of sultanas (raisins can be used as a substitute)

    Approximately 400 ml (14 fl oz) of Buttermilk

    Makes one large loaf


    Preheat oven to 375 degrees

    Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then slowly add the buttermilk and mix well to form a dough. Shape into a mound and place in a greased 900g (2lb) loaf pan and bake for 20 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 325 and continue backing for 25 minutes. The loaf should sound hollow when you turn it out of the baking pan and tap on the bottom of the loaf.  If you are in doubt, turn it upside down and bake for 10 more minutes.  Place the loaf on a wire rack to cool.

    **The Fruit Soda Bread doesn’t need to put in a loaf pan you can shape it into the traditional round loaf with a cross on the top.

    Thank you Helen Brady!

    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day / Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit!