Who is Mrs. O'Callaghan? In this month's issue (March 2010) of Bon Appetit Magazine, Actor Andrew McCarthy writes about his quest to find the Ultimate Irish Soda Bread recipe in Ireland-- where he has a second home. Due to respect for copyrights, I won't post the picture of Mrs. O'Callaghan, but she is the Poster Person for "Visit Ireland". I will print a portion of her quote, from this article:
A tiny, still-elegant woman with red hair, Mary O'Callaghan has been baking her mother's recipe for brown soda bread through 45 years of marriage and 12 grandchildren. "It takes me five minutes now to make. I like it with just some butter and a bit of the marmalade we get right in Doolin. Or it's lovely with a slice of salmon for lunch." Mary made all five of her children's wedding cakes and did all the baking for the hotel, but now, it's just the brown bread. She leans close. Her hazel eyes are dancing. "Denis likes it," she whispers. And it's easy to see what wowed her husband 45 years earlier, when Mary's mother was Denis's teacher at school.
I was sold on wanting to make her recipe--just from her photo. Would you believe that this is my first paid subscription issue of Bon Appetit? 'Tis true! I've used Epicurious.com to find recipes, but I have never subscribed to Bon Appetit. What took me so long? I read this issue from cover-to-cover, and I thoroughly enjoyed Andrew McCarthy's article. Maybe it's because I spent a whirlwind one week tour all over Ireland a couple of decades ago, with a Swiss girlfriend of mine. I loved Ireland! We traveled from Dublin and along the Coast of Ireland. We drove the Ring of Kerry route, and I even hung backwards to kiss the Blarney Stone-- which might be where I got the gift of gab. Who knows? We even drove to Northern Ireland's Antrim Coast to see the Giant's Causeway, and stayed at Ashford Castle. What memories! The food! I loved it! The people were lovely, and I dearly hope to take my husband there for his first time. Back to the recipe-- I liked the ingredients in this recipe for Soda Bread, and I had everything on hand!
White flour, whole wheat flour, soda, brown sugar and butter...
I made two recipes, this morning from this issue. I'll start with the Soda Bread:
Whisk the dry ingredients together...
I brushed a little more melted butter, once it came out of the oven, so the oats would stick. There!
Not bad, for my first attempt at Soda Bread! Let it cool for a bit (which is hard to do). I waited 20 minutes.
So, here's the first slice. Butter, yes, definitely!
The slice is holding together, with a few crumbs here and there...
Great Scott! This is excellent! Ms. O'Callaghan, you are a Saint. An Irish Saint!
I could not resist trying this with honey. Amazing!
If you are afraid of yeast breads (which, fortunately, I am not), this is super easy to make. I'm not Irish, but but my visit to Ireland has left a special place in my heart for this Green Isle, the people and the food. For that reason, I like to make Irish recipes for St. Patrick's Day. It won't be corned beef and cabbage, but I'll think of something. I always do! To read the full article on Soda Bread, and how Andrew McCarthy decided that Mrs. O'Callaghan's Soda bread was the ultimate recipe, click here. I concur. It's pretty darn good.
The recipe card is printed at the bottom of this page.
Thanks Bon Appetit!