Sunday, 27 September 2015

Dairy free Soda Bread, butter and Autumn sunshine at River Cottage

Pretty late summer blooms in the autumn sunshine at River Cottage

 A few months back I won a raffle for a place at a Foodies Blog Camp at River Cottage. We organised accommodation, M arranged leave and I wrote it on the calendar. All of a sudden (or so it seemed) this week dawned, blue skies full of early autumn sunshine, the leaves just beginning to turn and the air suddenly developing a crispness. Unmistakably autumnal.

River Cottage is beautiful at every time of year, but this week it seemed to have truly embraced the turning seasons. Golden raspberry canes spiked with the pretty fruit, pears ripening against the kitchen garden walls and the last sweetcorn husks awaiting hungry bloggers.

I left Harry and M ready for a Daddy-son day, full of soft play and sandcastles. As only the second time I've left Harry for any length of time, to say I was nervous is probably an understatement. I waved, blew kisses and sent love before steeling myself to clamber up the tractor steps for the rocky ride down to the farm. I had a lot of hope pinned on a lot of coffee (someone who shall remain nameless was awake at 4am).

Hand made butter at River Cottage - a photo collage

After a much needed coffee (or two) our day began with bread and butter making.  Butter making wasn't new to me - I've used it for a few years now as an activity for Guides and Brownies - they love to see their cream, shaken in a jam jar begin to change, and are so proud when everyone has it on their muffins at tea time. I knew M would love some homemade butter, so got on with whisking like my arms depended on it, before squeezing out the buttermilk, rinsing and adding a little salt and thyme.

Everyone else used their buttermilk as the liquid in their soda bread - however, obviously we needed to keep my bread dairy free as I had every intention of Harry and I tucking in later. Apple juice was to be my liquid, and paired beautifully with the apples, foraged blackberries, thyme and sage in my loaf. I love soda bread and although we weren't given quantities, this is what I would use if I were to recreate it at home:

Autumnal stuffed dairy free soda bread at River Cottage

Autumn stuffed soda bread - dairy free
Serves 8

300g malted grain bread flour
200ml cider/ apple juice
1 dsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 mug of foraged blackberries
1 eating apple, cored and chopped
1 sprig of thyme, leaves picked
3-4 sage leaves, rolled and sliced

Preheat your oven as hot as it will go
Lightly mix the flour, baking powder, salt, blackberries, apple, thyme and sage together before pouring in the cider/ apple juice and gently bringing the dough together
You don't need to knead soda bread dough so once the mixture is sticking together, simply shape it into a round before using the back of a knife to score the dough into 4 sections
Slide the loaf onto a greased baking sheet or preheated pizza stone
Heavily dust the dough with some more flour
Bake for 20 minutes

Allow to cool before enjoying as it is, or spread, liberally with some really good honey.

Still to come, some thoughts on the photography class and some of the pictures I took with M's DSLR - we think Harry has posted my point and shoot camera somewhere 'safe'


Emmyw said...

Hi Penelope! Great write up of the event :-) and I love that you've taken the soda bread from the day and adapted it. It went down a treat in our house so I'm excited to have a go at making it at home. All the best

Heidi Roberts said...

A lovely description of the day at RiverCottage. Cheers.

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche said...

Great idea to use apple juice in the bread, sounds delicious - especially with that stuffing! And especially with some homemade butter :)

GG said...

The apple juice is a really good idea. I would have loved to go to this event. Sounds really fun and River Cottage is on my todo list. GG

Jo of Jo's Kitchen said...

What a lovely write up of the day and a fantastic idea using apple juice

Mammasaurus said...

Hooray for raffles AND bread!

Vicki Montague said...

It was lovely to meet you there. Thanks for sharing the df chocolates!!!

Michelle Ordever said...

Using apple juice instead of the buttermilk is such a great idea - I may try that when I make the bread again at home. It was such good bread wasn't it? I loved all the different ingredients that went in to it - especially those hand picked blackberries! xx


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