February 23, 2013: This class was held at the St. Patrick's church and put on by the Irish Heritage Club as one of the many festivities leading up to St. Patrick's Day.
A long table was set up so we could all work together on our dough.
We jumped right into it! We dumped the flour, baking soda and a little at bran in and did a quick mix by hand...
Next added some milk and mixed (still by hand)...
You form the dough into a ball, mark a cross on it...
...and stick it on a floured pan to bake. (Our toothpicks were to help us track down our individual loaves later.)
While our bread baked, we enjoyed some snacks and already-made soda bread in our church basement classroom.
This event was one week after the marmalade meet-up so I was interested to taste the commercially-produced marmalade they had on hand. I sorta think my marmalady friends' marmalades were better.
Coffee at the ready.
As we snacked, Mary Shirane, our teacher, talked about her experiences coming to Seattle ("too long ago" she joked) from Ireland.
And Mary's granddaughters treated us to a spontaneous Irish dancing demo.
The bread was so easy and quick to put together, Mary looked around for some other dishes to show us. She whipped up some colcannon and some carrots and parsnips.
Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made from potatoes, cabbage, and milk or cream. It's topped with scallions. Mary is from Carlow county in Ireland. It's the second smallest county in Ireland, and folks there, she said, are known as the "scallion eaters."
After a quick boil and mash, the colcannon came together.
Meanwhile, she was also boiling some carrots and parsnips together.
These were just roughly chopped with a fork. I asked her why this method and she said "There's only so much mashing one can do." In a country famous for its potato-eating, one would imagine folks would want something with a little tooth to it.
We served them up. I am part Irish and part Polish, so I am genetically predisposed to enjoy root vegetables with butter. So I guess take it with a grain of salt, but I thought these were great!
Then our bread came out!
And Fionna Shriane-Travis, Mary's daughter, showed us how you can tap the bread to hear it's hollow (and therefore done.)
We got to take our soda bread home, and I enjoyed it all week toasted and topped with butter and my own marmalade. Check out recipes for both colcannon and soda bread from a local chef here: http://www.freshpickedseattle.com/home/2013/3/12/an-uncommon-colcannon-irish-soda-bread-recipes-from-chef-les.html