Gerry Costello

Garlic Irish Soda Bread:


200g of wholegrain flour

275g strong white flour

350ml buttermilk

1 generous teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

1 large free-range eggGarlic Irish Soda Bread

1 teaspoon honey

1 handful of wild garlic leaves, roughly chopped

A pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease and flour a 900g loaf tin. Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, wild garlic and salt in a mixing bowl. In a Pyrex measuring jug, measure out the buttermilk and then whisk in the egg and honey.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and then pour in the wet mixture. Add a little extra flour if you find the dough is too wet and sticky. Using a wooden spoon, bring the mix together to form a dough. Shape into a rough oval and place in the loaf tin.

Sprinkle with a little flour on top and bake in the oven for 35 minutes. The bread is cooked when you can turn it out on a wire rack, and when the bottom is tapped it should sound hollow. Allow to cool before slicing and enjoying with a little butter.


Irish Apple Crumble Cake:

Serves 6-8


110g butter plus extra for greasing

150g soft light brown sugar

2 large free range eggs

210g plain flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powderIrish Apple Crumble Cake

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

300g peeled, cored and sliced cooking apple (Shouldn’t be more than one large one)

For the crumble topping:

50g of vanilla sugar (or substitute with caster sugar)

50g of plain flour

50g of butter


Preheat the oven to 180°C, grease and line a 20cm cake tin with a removable base. With an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until they are incorporated.

Fold through the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until you have a thick cake batter. Stir through the apple and pour the batter into the cake tin. The batter will be thick, so use a spatula to spread across the base of the tin.

Using a handblender with a food processor attachment, blitz the ingredients for the crumble topping until you get left with rough crumbs. You can also do this by hand in a bowl using your fingertips to combine the ingredients together. Sprinkle the crumble topping on top of the batter.

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.


Spotted Dog:


3½ cups 1lb 450g Irish white flour or unbleached flour

½ cup 3oz 80g Mixed raisins and sultanas

3 teaspoons 1 tablespoon Castor sugarspotted-dog

½ teaspoon 1 level teaspoon Bread soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)

½ teaspoon 1 level teaspoon Salt

1 Egg

2 cups ¾ pint 0.5 litres Buttermilk or sour milk

Preheat the oven to 450ºF (230ºC/GAS MARK 8). Do not start until the oven is hot.


Sieve the flour, bread soda, salt and about 2/3rds of the sugar into a large bowl and mix in the fruit. Whisk about 2/3rds of the milk together with the egg and pour into the flour mixture. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in almost all of the milk and egg mixture. Quickly and with a light touch bring the flour in from the edges and mix with the milk, until all the ingredients come together into a dough.

Use your hands, not a spoon or mixer. Work quickly and lightly.

The dough should be soft rather than wet or sticky. If it is too dry add a little more of the milk and egg mix or the of the remaining buttermilk. Once it has come together, do not knead, just place it on a floured wooden board, pick up a handful of flour and rub it into the palms of your hands so that they are perfectly dry, and and then shape the dough into a round about 2 inches thick.

Brush the top of the dough with some of the remaining milk and sprinkle the rest of the sugar over it. Cut a deep cross on the top of the dough.

Put the bread into the oven immediately. After 5 minutes turn the oven down to 400ºF (200ºC/REGULO 6). The initial high temperature gives the bread a nice brown crust. After another 25 minutes take the bread out and knock on the base. If it sounds hollow it is done, if not return it to the oven for about 5 minutes and then check again.

Eat the day of baking or toast it the following day.



In Ireland, potato bread is also known as potato farl. No Irish breakfast would ever be complete without a piece or two of potato bread. To-day in Ireland you can sometimes find it made with the addition of a handful of finely chopped scallions (spring onions) thrown into the mixture.


• 3 oz plain flour

• ½ teaspoon baking powder

• Pinch of saltpotato bread

• 1 oz butter

• 8oz mashed potatoes

• 2 tablespoons milk

• Butter to serve

• Handful of scallions if desired


Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, rub in the butter using the fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add in the scallions now if you are using them.

Stir in the mashed potato and enough milk to make soft but not loose dough. Roll out onto a floured board into a round approx ½ inch thick and mark into quarters without cutting right through the potato farl.

Place on a greased baking tray and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Serve hot with plenty of butter.



Barmbrack is traditional Irish bread and it is possibly the only surviving example of the use of yeast in traditional cooking. It is also made using strong black tea instead of the usual liquids used in bread making. Barmbrack is a light yeasty fruitcake that is always served sliced and buttered. It is typically eaten at Halloween in Ireland when a ring or coin is baked inside it so that when the bread is sliced the person who receives the slice with the ring or coin in it will have good fortune for the coming year. Some may place Barmbrack as an Irish Dessert Recipe but it can be eaten any time of day and tastes great with a lovely warm cup of tea.


• 450g/ 4 cups strong bread flour

• 25g/2 tablespoons butter or margarinebarmbrack

• 50g/ ¼ cup caster, superfine sugar

• 7.5 ml/ 1 ½ teaspoons easy blend yeast

• 2.5 ml/ ½ teaspoon ground ginger

• 1.5 ml/ ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

• 175g/1 cup sultanas (golden raisins)

• 175g/ 1 cup currants

• 50g/ ¼ cup chopped mixed (candied) peel

• 300ml/ 1 ¼ cup of warm strong tea


Place the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter or margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Stir in 5 ml/1 teaspoon of the sugar.

Then add the yeast, ginger and nutmeg mix well

Stir in the sultanas, currants and mixed peel and make a well in the centre.

Gradually work in enough of the warm tea to make a soft but not sticky dough.

Knead well until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl clean.

Knead on a lightly floured board for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Place in an oiled bowl cover with Cling-film (plastic wrap)and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size

Knead again and then shape into a large round and place on a greased baking sheet.

Cover and leave in a warm place or 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Shape into a greased and lined 900g/ 2lb loaf tin and bake in a pre-heated oven at 230°C/450°F gas mark 8 for 15 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F gas mark 6 for a further 20 minutes until well risen and golden and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the base.

Dissolve the remaining sugar in 15ml/ 1 tablespoon of hot water and brush the syrup over the loaf and return to the oven for 2 minutes.

Leave to cool then serve sliced with butter.






This page was added on 22/02/2015.

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