Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weekend foodie: roasted figs, agave nectar, manchego cheese and Irish soda bread

I have been begging my mother for years to show me the traditional method for baking Irish soda bread, so when she visited me in Munich recently, we got baking. I was amazed to discover it’s really just like making a massive scone! The recipe is below.

The roasted figs part of this recipe is more of a suggestion for ingredient pairing than an actual recipe. Simply half your figs, dust with a little cinnamon if you feel so inclined and slow roast them in the oven either at its lowest setting overnight or at 100C for 2-3 hours until they start to ooze. Serve with the soda bread (see below), some salty cheese such as manchego or pecorino and a drizzle of agave nectar (or honey).

To make the soda bread, you will need:
500g plain or half plain half wholemeal flour (I used spelt, but wheat is what is traditionally used)
1tsp salt
1tbs baking powder
40g butter, chopped
400ml buttermilk or ordinary milk soured with a little lemon juice

1.  Heat the oven to 200C and dust a baking tray with a little flour.
2.  Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.
3.  Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
4.  Make a well in the centre and slowly pour in the buttermilk, stirring in with a wooden spoon. Don’t mix too much, just the lightest touch will do the job. You should gradually form a dough (use your hands at this stage), which should be soft, but not too sticky (add more flour if it is or more milk if it’s too dry).
5.  Put the rounded ball of dough onto the floured baking tray and flatten just a little. It should be roughly 8-10cm deep. Slash a cross in the dough with a sharp knife and dab a little of the buttermilk over the surface.
6. Bake for around 40 minutes. The bottom should sound hollow when tapped. Let cool (a little at least) and serve with some cheese and the deliciously sticky roasted figs.


  1. Ooh gonna make this! Sounds delic' and a bit like a cheese damper but oh so much better. Love the sound of roasted figs.

  2. I have just made this and it's in the oven of GiGi's AGA!!!