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Irish Brown Bread Cooling on Rack

Today’s blog post is short and sweet and at the request of In an Irish Home reader Jackie Shaw. Jackie, very kindly, reminded me that I had not yet posted a recipe for Irish Multi-Seed Brown Bread. Thanks, Jackie, and my apologies for the three-year delay!

This bread is so easy to make. Pop a few ingredient into a large mixing bowl.

Stir well, and whosh it into the oven.

Bada bing, bada boom and your done. There is no rising time required.

I know what it means to feel life is too busy to make homemade bread, but I can honestly say that everyone has time to make this. For me, it was a wonderful way to spend time with my young children {they loved mixing the ingredients by hand}. Now that the kids are teenagers, making this bread has become a weekly meditative ritual.

Three slices of homemade Irish Brown BreadAs a side to homemade soup or as a quick breakfast topped with jam, sliced tomatoes, cheese or whatever you prefer, it is absolutely healthy and delicious.

~ XoK

Multi-Seed Irish Brown Bread

Makes 1 Loaf

Ingredients

200g/6oz/1-½cup self-raising flour

300g/11oz/2-¼cup extra-coarse brown flour

8g/.3oz/3 tablespoons bran

16g/.6oz/2 tablespoons wheat germ

2 heaped teaspoons baking powder

1 level teaspoon salt

106g/3.7oz/½cup, heaped, mixed seeds (sunflower, poppy, sesame, pumpkin oat groats), toasted

2 teaspoons treacle (optional)

600-900ml buttermilk

Instructions

1. Pre-heat oven to 230ºC/450ºF. Lightly oil all sides of a loaf tin, line with a sheet of parchment paper, and set aside.

2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.

3. Into the well, add the treacle (optional) and half the buttermilk. Stir well. Continue to add small amounts of buttermilk until you have a moist, but not sloppy, mixture.

4. Put the mixture into prepared loaf tin and bake for twenty minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 150ºC/300ºF and bake for an hour.

5. Ease bread from loaf tin (you may need a knife to do this) and peel off the parchment paper. Carefully turn the loaf over (you may need a tea towel or oven mits to do this as the bread is very hot) and tap the underside of the loaf to listen for a hollow sound. A hollow sound means the bread is fully cooked. If the loaf does not sound hollow, return it to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Do not put it back into the loaf tin, just put it right-side up, directly on the shelf in the oven.

6. When bread is fully baked, cool on a wire rack. Slice as needed. Store in a container, in a cupboard. Will last about one week.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* My mixed seed mixture is as follows: 50g/3 tablespoons oat groats, 38g/3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, 1 10g/tablespoon poppy seeds, and 10gm/1 tablespoon sesame seed. I popped them into a dry sauté pan and lightly toast the seeds before adding them to the bread recipe above. If you are a real time-saver, you can always double or triple this mixture and store in an airtight container for future use.

** Soup recipes that go beautifully with this recipe include Roast Carrot and Cumin, Myrtle’s Mushroom, Autumn Vegetable, Irish Leak and Potato, and Pea and Mint.

*** What are Oat Groats? Following are a few links for those who want to know more than a kernel of truth! The Spruce Eats  and Food52.

 

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Easy Roast Chicken Recipe

Who doesn’t love a roast chicken…am I right? Crispy, salty skin over tender, juicy meat. The aroma of home cooking wafting through the house. Tasty leftovers to use all week in sandwiches, soups, pastas and more.

Mastering a delicious roast chicken is not an art …it’s really too simple for that…which is one of the many reasons why I call this recipe Lazy Roast Chicken. It’s so easy to make you’re going to feel positively lazy!

This recipe literally takes no effort whatsoever and has only four ingredients…salt and pepper being two of them. You don’t have to lift the skin off the breast for butter or herbs. You don’t have to put a lemon or garlic into its cavity. You don’t have to tie up the legs with twine, tuck the wing tips under the body {which I still haven’t figured out how to do well}, and you don’t even have to baste the darn thing.

All you do is pre-heat the pan, rub the chicken body with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, pop it into the oven and you’re done. Once it’s in the oven, you are free to dilly dally, goof off, or just hang out.*

Roast Chicken in Oven Proof Frying Pan

And, when it’s done, you’ll notice that the chicken legs are slightly splayed {now doesn’t IT look lazy?}, the crispy skin is a gorgeous caramel colour, and the meat is juicy and delicious. I love to make this dish on a Sunday and use the leftovers in lots of different dishes throughout the week. Enjoy!

~XoK

Lazy Roast Chicken

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 fresh whole chicken, approximately 4 pounds, free range or organic if possible

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

1. Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook it, to allow it to come up to room temperature.

2. Preheat the oven to 220ºC/450ºF and adjust the oven rack to the middle of the oven. Place a 12-inch oven safe frying pan on the rack and close the oven door.

3. Unwrap the chicken, remove the neck or giblets inside the cavity, if they are there, and pat dry the chicken with kitchen roll.**

4. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season well with sea salt and black pepper, then rub it in well over the entire bird with your hands.

5. Carefully, set the chicken in the preheated oven safe frying pan in the oven, breast-side up. Roast 30 minutes and then check that the thickest part of the chicken breast registers 48ºC/120ºF on an instant-read thermometer.

6. Once it does, turn off the oven and leave the chicken in the oven until the breasts register 74ºC/165ºF {about 30 minutes}. If you don’t have a thermometer, a visual clue is that all the juices that come from the chicken should run clear and not be pink.

7. Transfer the chicken to a carving board, cover with aluminium, and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve with the juices from the pan.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* {all synonyms for “lazy”!}.

** Here’s a quick Q & A in Poultry Care:

Q. Do I need to rinse my bird when I get it home?

A. The advice not to wash a chickens is longstanding as food safety experts widely agree it raises the risk of spreading dangerous bacteria found on raw poultry all over the kitchen.

Q. Is raw poultry as dangerous as people say?

A. It’s always better to be safe than sorry…so, after working with raw chicken, turkey or other birds, always clean your cutting board, knife, sink, counter, hands or whatever has come in contact with the poultry well with hot soapy water. Then dry it well and, for safe measure, wipe down with a disinfecting wipe.

Q. What are those little white feather bits stuck in the skin and should I remove them?

A. The little “white feather bits” are called “pin feathers” and yes you should remove them. I’ve heard of people using a blow torch to fry the little suckers…but a good pair of kitchen tweezers should do the trick.

*** Supposedly, the purpose of trussing a bird is to keep the splayed legs from burning. But, in all my years of roasting a chicken or a turkey, I have never seen an untrussed chicken or turkey burn or cook unevenly.

**** If your oven has a convection setting, use it. Your oven will be more evenly heated throughout. The drawback is that you’ll need to reduce the temperature stated for the recipe a wee bit. This can take a bit of experimentation, as all ovens are different. If a recipe calls for 220ºC/425ºF, I will typically drop the temperature down to 200ºC/400ºF.

***** Here are two video links to see how the experts check if their chicken is fully cooked without using a digital thermometer: BBCgoodfood.com and Food52.com.

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Yesterday was quite the day. Hurricane Ophelia battered the Irish countryside with wind gusts up to 170 km/h and heavy rain. Hundreds were left without water and power, many roads were blocked by debris, and three people lost their lives. Today a massive clean-up operation is under way.  Thankfully no harm came to those in our Irish home…and I hope the same is true for you and yours.

RTE Radio One and Met Éireann were fantastic company while the storm raged: entertaining and informing us all day long. Repeatedly we heard things like, “stay off the roads”, “secure your wheelie bins/trampolines”, “stay indoors {and watch The Lion King?!}”, “avoid coastal areas”, and “don’t swim in the sea”. Yes, there were some, dare I say “eejits”, out there swimming and kite surfing in the middle of the hurricane!

Overall, the news reporting was good, old-fashioned, practical. I love that about the Irish: as a whole, they rarely get hysterical and they mostly see the funny side of things.

Case in point…a woman called Joe Duffy’s Liveline yesterday to report “it’s windy here, Joe, good for the drying!”. Only an Irish mammy can be cute {smart} enough to turn a hurricane into a laundry drying exercise. My phone buzzed all afternoon with images sent by friends…thanks to Instagram’s #Ophelia.

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Between the fits of giggles and quick messages back and forth, I did manage to eek out a dinner of roast carrot and cumin soup, with a side of bread rolls made from leftover pizza dough {many thanks to thekitchn.com}.

Two white bowls filled with roast carrot and cumin soup

Cumin and roast carrots go beautifully together. In this soup, the cumin provides warmth and fragrant notes, while the roasted carrot adds a hint of sweetness and smokiness. This was and is the perfect stormy-weather meal.

Roasted Carrot and Cumin Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients

600g/1¼lb carrots, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

110g/3/4 cup onion, chopped

150g/1 cup potato, skin left on and chopped

30g/2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon cumin

1.2 litres/4 cups chicken stock

pinch of sugar

salt & pepper to taste

yogurt, crème fraîche or cream to garnish, optional

toasted almonds to garnish, optional

sprig of parsley to garnish, optional

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.

2. Place carrots in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper.

3. Spread carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast, uncovered, in the oven for 20 minutes or until fully cooked and starting to caramalise. Watch carefully, a little color makes the carrots sweet…too much color and they will taste bitter. Stir occasionally. Remove from the oven and set aside.

4. In a saucepan, melt the butter. When it foams, add the onion, potato, cumin and sugar. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and a tight fitting lid. Leave to sweat gently on low heat for about 10 minutes.

5. Remove the lid. Discard the parchment paper. Add the roasted carrots and stock. Bring to the boil for 5 minutes.

6. Pour everything into a liquidizer (blender) and purée until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.

7. Serve with a garnish of cream, crème fraîche or yogurt, parsley and toasted nuts.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* Fun carrot facts can be found here, here, and here.

** Growing carrots is easy. Learn how to grow them in your home… here.

***Gorgeous carrot photos (carrot porn!) can be seen over at Pinterest.

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Looking for a delicious recipe for a busy mid-week supper? This Oven-Roasted Salmon may be your answer. It’s so easy to prepare, a child can do it. In fact, both my daughters learned to make this dish over the summer.

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A quick wash of the salmon, a squeeze of lemon, a pad of butter, a dash of salt and pepper, pop it into the oven for 15 minutes and you’re done. If you have the time or energy to jazz it up, play with the herb and fat combinations: sometimes I replace the butter with olive oil {or use both!} or I sprinkle some parsley, dill, tarragon, or lemon zest on top.

Oven roasted salmon, boiled potatoes, and a green salad on a white plate.

If you need another reason to make this recipe, consider this: salmon is a superfood. In our busy Irish home, I’ll take every opportunity to get good nutrition into my family. Salmon contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids {which support heart and eye healthy}, and it is an excellent source of vitamin B-12, vitamin D and Selenium.

Oven-Roasted Salmon

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 x 3oz salmon fillets

1/2 lemon

4 pads of butter

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking tray with aluminium and top with a sheet of parchment paper.

2. Rinse the salmon, pat dry with kitchen roll (paper towel), and, if needed, remove any bones.

3. Put the salmon fillets on the parchment paper, skin-side down, and squeeze lemon juice over them.

4. Top each with a small pad of butter.

5. Salt and pepper, as desired.

6. Roast in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked all the way through. Roasting times will vary depending on your oven and the thickness of the salmon.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* Most nights, we serve boiled potatoes and a simple green salad with our salmon dinners.

** Wild or Farmed Salmon? See what the Time.com experts say here.

*** If you’re interested, here’s an article on how Norway avoids antibiotics in fish farming from the World Health Organization.

**** Invasive pink salmon are found on Irish shores recently. Learn more in this Irish Times article.

***** Two more salmon recipes from In an Irish Home: Salmon Fillets with Pesto & Pecorino and Salmon Pesto Pasta.

 

 

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Liebster Award

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As is always the case in the month of May, at least since my children hit secondary school (middle school/high school), I am desperately behind in life! You’d think with all my natural ability to Martha-Stewart the heck out of things, I’d be better organised and ready for May each year…but sadly…no. I am always caught off guard.

My excuse this year is that I took a quick side-trip to Las Vegas back in April to visit with friends and to attend a national conference for the oldest mother-daughter organisation in America called National Charity League, Inc. I had such a great time, learned loads, and loved the dancing, socialising, (ehem!) meetings. Here’s hoping someday NCL will be a global organisation: hint, hint…Ireland maybe?

So, with May nearly over, I finally sat down at my computer to blog. What a surprise to discover that In an Irish Home has been nominated for a Leibster Award! Hmmm…maybe I should take more frequent breaks from writing?! Anyway, a big THANK YOU to the lovely Jovana Smith, “Jo”, over at The Inquisitive Writer  for the nomination. I’m absolutely chuffed and I accept!

But before I get on with the rules of being nominated for a Leibster Award, here’s a little bit about Jo: She lives in New Jersey and enjoys writing whenever the spirit moves her. Lately she’s been inspired to write about gardening, custom Lego building, Washi tape, and how to have a happier life. What I especially appreciate about Jo’s writing is that she’s 12! What?! I know, right! Amazing!! Kids these days have so many distractions (did I mentioned I have two…kids…not distractions). It’s really incredible when you meet a young person who is focusing their energy and creating something special. So hats off to Jo…and please go check out her blog when you can.

So, what is a Leibster Award?

If you’re not familiar with it, a Liebster Award exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. Its origin is unknown, but many believe it started in Germany. Liebster means: dearest, sweetheart, favourite, endearing in German. The award follows the principles of a chain letter in that it is given and then forwarded to others. It’s also seen as a marketing tool: a chance to promote not only your own blog but others too. The rules vary and are changing all the time, so in essence there really aren’t many rules. And, finally, the choice lies within the receiver to accept the Leibster Award and pay it forward or end it all together.

What are “The Rules”?

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to his/her blog.
  • Answer 11 questions from that blogger
  • Give 11 facts about yourself
  • Nominate up to 11 bloggers (it’s ok if you don’t know enough people yet to nominate!!)
  • Ask 11 questions for them
  • Ask them to give 11 facts about themselves

Now, with all that out of the way…here we go…!

Jo’s Questions to Me:

1. Would your change your name? If so, what would it be and why? Nope! Funny, I’ve thought about that question before and know, unequivocally, I like my name.

2. Do you believe in luck? If so, why? Kind of…I believe in luck and hard work. Why? I’m not sure…I just believe there are miracles out there.

3. Where would you prefer to live besides where you live now? Nowhere. I like splitting my time between Ireland and America.

4. What book or magazine are you reading currently? Just finished reading Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians and am waiting for his next book China Rich Girlfriend to come out.

5. If you had another blog, what would it be about? DIYs? Cooking? Traveling? It would be an anonymous blog about raising kids.

6. Would you live in a tiny house? (aprox. 100-500 sq. ft) Absolutely!

7. Which decade are you most? (20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, or 2010s) 1950’s.

8. What is your Zodiac sign? Libra.

9. Which time of day do you prefer most: morning light, daytime sun, a 7:00 p.m. sunset,  or a full moon? Sunset.

10. If you had a chance, would you meet up with all of your readers (for your blog) for coffee? Maybe not all of them, but definitely some of them.

11. If you could go back in time, which period would you go back in and why? I’d probably go back to the mid-1800’s in America when the West was being settled. The freedom of the period is exciting and it also seems to be a very romantic time too.

Offer 11 Facts about Yourself:

1: I’m very private.

2: When I’m under pressure, I don’t talk a lot.

3: I like being alone sometimes.

4: I’m a sunset girl, not a sunrise girl.

5: I’d love to be a race car driver.

6: I’m married to the best guy ever.

7: I love to read magazines.

8: I don’t like butter on my sandwiches.

9: I still believe in miracles.

10: I play the piano.

11: Some day, when I grow up, I’d love to do something that changes the world for the better.

Who are Your Nominees for the Liebster Award? My nominees are:

1. Campari & Sofa

2. Emerging Adult Eats

3. Nourished Peach

4. Kitchen Feasts

5. Cooking with a Wallflower

6. Jittery Cook

7. Eat Like a Girl

8. A Silver Voice from Ireland

9. Retirement & Beyond

10.The Travelling Pantry

11. Peters Food Adventures

* Please be sure to link back to me so I can read your answers!

My Questions to My Nominees are:

1. How did you decide on the title of your blog?

2. If you were to start another blog, what would it be?

3. Sweet or savoury, what’s your preference?

4. What’s your favourite dessert?

5. What’s your drink of choice?

6. What blogs do you read regularly?

7. If you could be anything (rock star, politician, doctor, parent)…what would you be?

8. Are you living to your potential? If so, how do you know?

9.) What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?

10.) Why did you start blogging?

11.) What do you think is the most important character trait?

Thank you again Jo over at The Inquisitive Writer! And to all…happy writing!

 

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Are ye getting tired of me yet? If so, tá brón orm (I’m sorry)! 

It’s quiet in our Irish home at the moment…which has given me time to read the many St. Patrick’s Day messages that have been popping into my in-box, Twitter feed, and Facebook account all day from people around the world.

It’s truly amazing the effect this tiny island has had on the world!

So…I’m making this post short and sweet…here are the “Best of the Best” video messages others shared with me today.  I hope they make you smile too!

1. A Chinese man walks into a pub in Dublin…no, it’s not the start of a joke:

 

 

2. What a warm welcome from our national airline, Aer Lingus:

3. Sure it’s Tourism Ireland…but still…we’re like no place on earth:

4. Ireland…the country that inspires:

5. Dublin’s Parade from 1951…75,000 people turned out even back then:

6. Making Shepherd’s Pie with Donal Skehan on The Today Show in NYC:

6. A Guinness ad from my friends in Australia:

 

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“Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh!” …or Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you! What a wonderful day to be Irish…here or wherever you call home.

This day two years ago, Dublin Airport posted a message on Facebook about St. Patrick’s Day which was absolutely hilarious…so much so it was carried around the world. Last night, just to be sure everyone remembered it…they re-posted it as a video:

 

St. Patrick’s Day as we know it…is not really an Irish celebration at-all. But, to be sure, we’re not about to be outdone…hence Ireland has caught the St. Paddy’s Day bandwagon by its hoop-de-doo wheels and turned it into an event that brings more 370,000 people to our tiny island and a good few hundred million euro to our coffers.

There’s a lot about St. Patrick and St. Patrick’s Day the world-at-large does not know (some Irish citizens aren’t aware either!). Here are just a few of the facts:

* The 17th March celebration is actually the death date of St. Patrick. He is thought to have died on March 17, 461 and is said to be buried in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick.

* The good saint himself was, according to legend, born Maewyn Succat. It is said Maewyn changed his name to Patricius (or Patrick), which derives from the Latin term for “father figure,” after he became a priest.

* Blue, not green was originally the colour associated with St. Patrick. Some say it was the Irish Rebellion that officially tied Ireland to the colour green…other’s say it evolved over time and is linked to our “many shades of green” landscape.

* Originally drinking was not legally allowed in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, due to the fact that the day falls during Lent and Ireland is (was, and probably always will be) a very Catholic country. The law was repealed in 1961.

* In 1762, the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade, was held in New York City…not Dublin, Ireland.

* Ireland didn’t officially start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day as something other than a religious holiday until 1903, when Irish politician James O’Mara introduced a bill in Westminster that made it an official public holiday in Ireland.

The first ever St Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland was held in Waterford in 1903. The first official, state-sponsored St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin took place in 1931.The first St. Patrick’s Festival was held in Dublin over one day, and night, on March 17th 1996. It has since grown to a 4-5 day celebration.

At that brings us to today’s St. Patrick’s celebration in Dublin. There’s so much going on this year…here are just a few of the highlights:

In the Footsteps of St. Patrick Walking Tour – Over two hours, take a very special walk in celebration of Ireland’s national patron saint. Led by  renowned Dublin historian and author” Pat Liddy, walkers will see the places most tourists and many Dubliners miss. Discover the fascinating truth behind the legend of St. Patrick and the Dublin of his time. The tour starts at the corner of Suffolk & Andrew streets, beside the Molly Malone statue, and finishes at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Funfairs: City at Play – This is an event my family has always enjoyed! From waltzers to family attractions to the carousel, there is something for everyone at the Funfairs.

St. Patrick’s Festival Parade – There are St. Patrick’s Day parades far older than the one held in Dublin…but our event is swiftly becoming the best of them all! This year’s theme, “Imagine If“, is the final stage of three years of parades highlighting Ireland’s past, present and future. Inspired by the imagination of the young people of Ireland…the parade will be a young person’s vision of Ireland over the next 100 years.

Big Day Out – At Merrion Square from 12-6pm, this free event will be bursting with energy, colour and whimsy. Children can enter The Book of Learning inside a Georgian House where UNESCO City of Literature opens up a world of magic, craft, creative writing and pet rats!  Just around the corner, SFI Science Zone gives budding scientists a chance to experiment with the enchanting world of science through amazing workshops, explosive shows and enthralling exhibitions.  Kids of all ages will enjoy getting their hands dirty at the Keelings Love to Grow Children’s Garden, where the first Irish strawberry of 2016 will be revealed. This and so much more make The Big Day Out event a true family affair.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:

 

* For more information about Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day, please click here.

** When did Ireland go from being blue to being green? Learn more here.

*** For more information about St. Patrick and his life, visit Catholic.org.

 

 

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