lovely buttermilk soda bread

sodabread

Soda bread is a lovely quick bread that can be mixed and popped in the oven in minutes. This recipe bows to the ingredients at hand and you can play around with the type of flour, the sweetener, the fat and any additions. The end result is a rustic loaf that pairs well with so many things. Smoked fish, cheeses of all varieties, leg ham, avocado or simply some excellent butter all raise this humble bread to glorious heights.

  • 2c buckwheat flour
  • 1 1/3c wholemeal spelt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4c golden syrup (or rice malt syrup)
  • 1 egg
  • 250ml buttermilk*
  • 1/4c olive oil or melted butter
  • OPTIONAL: fennel seeds, raisins, rosemary, thyme, etc.

*or half yoghurt or creme fraiche or sour cream/half milk.

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add any optional extras. Make a well in the middle, add wet ingredients and mix. Knead lightly. I like to shape it into 2 loaves. Bake @ 170’C for 40 mins.

Shop your pantry: I have made this loaf using all sorts of flours. Less refined flours work best in terms of flavour and texture, I think, but use whatever you have at hand.

parsnip buttermilk pancakes

 

parsnipfritters

There is such comfort to be found in cold-weather cooking. Creamy porridge, hot soups, hearty stews and warm bread attain medicinal status when it is cold outside. But just as soothing, in my mind, is the way we cook in winter. We take the time needed . We braise slowly, simmer gently, roast until meat falls off the bone and vegetables caramelise.

What to do then, when warming comfort food is needed and time is short? Reach for those root vegetables that you would normally roast and grate them instead. Parsnips make truly delicious fritters – creamy and nutty on the inside and golden brown on the outside. Serve them with avocado and roast tomatoes, prosciutto and a dollop of creme fraiche or hot smoked salmon and aioli.

This lovely recipe is from a blog called “Seasonal Ontario Food”. These pancakes are so delicious that I suggest this recipe makes only enough for a quick breakfast or lunch for 2 or 3 people. The mix can be made the night before.

Parsnip Buttermilk Pancakes

  •  1.5 c loosely packed finely grated parsnip (2 large or 3 small parsnips)
  • 1/4c wholemeal flour (I used spelt)
  • 1/2 tsp salt flakes
  • black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4c buttermilk (OR 1/4c milk and 5ml apple cider vinegar)

Mix the parsnip, flour and seasoning in a bowl so that the flour is evenly dispersed. Make a well in the middle of the parsnip. Add the egg and the buttermilk and mix them and the parsnip with a fork until combined. Cook in a hot pan in a little olive oil until each side is golden brown. Place the cooked pancakes on paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Makes 8 pancakes.

spelt chocolate chip cookies

speltbiscuits

The only thing my husband loves more than biscuits, is cake. So when I create healthier versions of baked treats I am always mindful of his reaction to a taste test. If he opines that a recipe “tastes good for something healthy” then it goes back to the kitchen for revision. A less-than-satisfying pseudo-indulgence shouldn’t be washed down with a glass of martyrdom because it’s good for you.

Happily, these soft, slightly chewy cookies taste insanely good and are good for you. Bake them this weekend, eat them with tea, take them to the park or just take time out.

Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • ¼ c tahini
  • ¼ c rice malt syrup
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 small egg
  • ½ tsp bicarb soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ c oats (I used quick, because that’s what I had)
  • 1/3 c heaped wholemeal spelt flour
  • 100g dark chocolate, 60-70%, chopped
  •          excellent salt flakes, to finish

Combine the tahini, syrup, oil, vanilla and egg in a bowl and whisk until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Stir through the chopped chocolate. Drop 9 or 10 spoonfuls onto a lined baking tray and sprinkle with salt flakes. Bake at 175’C for 10-12 minutes or until a pale golden brown.

 

Shop your pantry? Use any nut butter instead of tahini and honey or maple syrup instead of rice malt syrup. I have also successfully made these with a sugar-free dark chocolate.