A scent of the old country.

From this cooking session, the smell was of Ireland: wheaten soda bread crisp and hot from the oven.  For Wendy, the memories were even stronger as we paid tribute to her aunt.  See how we made this famous bread in minutes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH22ASjEeYs) and there’s a simple way to create the essential buttermilk without buying it specially.

The last time I’d cooked in Wendy’s Virginia Beach kitchen we had been madly busy producing a celebration lunch for all the women who had served in the British navy before moving to the USA.  This time was more relaxed: I had the chance to talk to Wendy, enjoy her superb house and learn new recipes.

The wheaten bread was especially poignant for her: it was a legacy from her Aunt Maureen who had only recently died.  Wendy was even wearing a much beloved and elderly Irish linen apron displaying symbols from the Book of Kells – another gift from her aunt and reminder of her own Celtic heritage.  I hope that Aunt Maureen would have been proud of the tribute paid her and how she has contributed to the Baking Blind world tour.

I’ve often heard about soda bread and how it can be the perfect quick solution when the cupboard is bare – but have never had ready access to the buttermilk that makes it possible.  Thanks to Wendy, I can now share an easy solution.

And, being a messy cook myself, I was wildly impressed that Wendy was ready to knead bread wearing most of her jewellery.  But then she’s a woman of style and flare who can turn her hand to domesticity but still look ready for her high-powered job with NATO.

Next week, we will be making another traditional Irish recipe to sit alongside the bread on any supper table.


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