Mountains in Ireland
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!
Celebrating St. Patrick's Day is a newer tradition for our family in the past 18 years. Having read his biography, of how he had such a heart to share Christ with Ireland, St. Patrick risked great danger to go back to the country to share Christ. We have celebrated the day ever since we read about him. We love the Celtic music and traditions and so we made it our family fun time. Many of you remember and love the story Sarah told about me calling her and telling her to join us all for the day and so I thought you would enjoy her story. And I love, love hot Irish Soda bread this particular day and thought I would share this recipe with you!
And a Happy Day to you all!
I love all things Irish and think St. Patrick himself the hero indeed, but the great day found me mired in about a thousand unanswered emails. I got home from church to face the prospect of a Monday morning to-do list that stopped me cold in my tracks. The fact that it was Sunday and I was supposed to be sane and calm and thinking holy thoughts added guilt to my fretting. I despaired of fun and set to work. But a phone call late in the windy afternoon changed the fate of my day: “Sarah,” said my mom, “we’re downtown; do you want to just go for a quick bite of fish ‘n chips at Jack Quinn’s? Leave the emails. There will be music!”
I couldn’t say no. Jack Quinn’s is a dim old downtown Irish pub, floored in dented, honeyed wood, with tiny booth rooms windowed in stained glass just like the pubs I visited in England. It has the dusky depths, old-photos, and jumbled shelves of mugs and jugs to give it the feel of a real pub. But steeped in age and shadow as it is, the ceilings are high and sheathed in forest green tin. Voices and folk music bounce in a rollick of notes from the floor to the heights in a brightness and dance as good as light. For such a place, I always want to spare an hour. I paused at my desk and almost stayed. I stared at my list, I despaired of my life. But as the sun set, I flung down my pen and out the door I went.
And oh what a party awaited me. The moment we stepped in the door we joined one great, grand swirl of Irish celebration. The long room was crammed to its every edge. A bag piper rose to play as we entered, kilted and bold in the middle of the room, all purple-cheeked and bulging-eyed as he filled the pipes with song. Hundreds of feet kept a good tapping time, laughter boiled up like a drumroll from every corner, and voices rang like trumpets as people talked over the scream of the pipes. The faces in that dim room glowed like fireflies in a hot summer garden.
Everyone wore green. Eight or eighty, no respectable soul would come to an Irish pub on St. Paddy’s day without a token of emerald to honor the feast. Some wore glittering bits of jade or jewel, some were decked in the gaudy gleam of green plastic beads, some were clothed head to toe in forest, moss, sage, or emerald, every hue of the color of Eire. And then there were the men who swept by in kilts. They had that delighted pride of eye belonging to those who are dressed just right for a grand occasion. At least I had on my lucky green shirt, thank goodness.
For the rest of this story, go HERE!
As St. Patrick's day comes around again , I always think of great soda bread. Many years ago, on a cold March afternoon, I made my first loaf of soda bread. Yummm! It was St. Pat's day and all of us were lonely for old friends, as we had just moved to a new area. So Irish soda break it was--hot, out of the oven, melted butter, raspberry jam and sliced aged cheddar cheese. We had a little feast and wonderful memories made amidst the oohs and ahhs. You might want to try this recipe this year and you have a few days to practice--from my sweet friend, Brandee. Enjoy!
Nothing says HOME like the sweet aroma of bread baking in the oven. Quite often, my kids run up the stairs and ask, as if they don't know, "What is that amazing smell! Mom, what are you baking?" All eyes on the timer, they just cannot wait the length of time it takes to cool. Excitedly, one daughter fires up the kettle for tea as the other starts to plate the warm slices of bread - careful not to burn her fingers in the process.
Suddenly, all is well with the world and our home is the best! Why is this? Because family is communing and relationships are building and laughter is spilling into this space we call home.
Breaking bread with one another is truly spiritual. Stopping the anxious stirring of a busy day to examine each other's feelings and thoughts is a precious and priceless gift. Jesus did this. The hurt, the broken, the teachable, the doubtful, the faithful; Jesus broke bread with all mankind. Relationship and food go hand in hand and Jesus is all about relationships. He knows how to get our attention and we should model the Master of relationships by breaking bread with those who will gather.
No matter what time of year it is, I invite you to try this amazing bread recipe that our family loves. Even if all the world is awry, if I make some bread, I feel somehow, I have been competent in at least one area. Bread baking is a legacy for our whole family and brings comfort and peace when we most need it. Traditionally I will always bake a couple loaves for St. Patrick's Day dinner, but it is often made as a dessert in our home or to go along side pot roast or homemade potato soup!
Brandee’s Twist on Not So Irish Soda Bread
3 1/2 cups flour + 1 T for dusting
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons coriander - ground
1/2 tsp cardamom - ground
1 pint sour cream = 2 cups
3/4 cup craisins
* 1/2 cup half n half if dough is too dry - in Colorado usually necessary.
- Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl.
- In small bowl, beat eggs and stir in sour cream.
- Add egg & sour cream mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with WOODEN SPOON only. The batter will be VERY thick and sticky. If too dry, add a splash of half n half.
- Add the craisins and stir well with wooden spoon or knead with your hands.
- Place this batter into a greased 9 inch springform pan. Dust the top of batter with enough flour so you can pat dough evenly into pan without it sticking to your hands.
- With a knife, score top of dough with criss cross on top.
- Bake for 50 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven.
***This bread can double as a dessert if topped with a dollop of Lemon Curd***
Yummers--nothing like bread, soup and candle light to draw peeps close to one another!