As a nod to the Irish, I’m posting a link to one of my favorite video channels, Hillbilly Kitchen and Becky’s demonstration of Irish Soda Bread. I haven’t tried this recipe but it looks good and fairly simple, so it’s on my list of things to do soon.https://rumble.com/vxp1nj-irish-soda-bread-heirloom-recipe-4-ingredient-no-yeast-bread-no-fail-the-hi.html
Category Archives: Food
This recipe is even older than Leefa, who was nearly 100 years old when she died; it was her mother’s and might date back to the mid 19th century. But from all accounts, Mary Jane was an unpleasant woman, so I’ll give the credit for this wonderful recipe to her daughter.
I’ve been making it since the 1970s and it has never failed me yet.
(Don’t be off-put by the buttermilk. I never have it on hand. If you don’t have any, make a substitute by adding about 1 T. vinegar to 1/2 c. whole milk (scant). Let it sit about 10 minutes until it clabbers. Do this first and it will be ready by the time you add it to the batter.)
Makes 2 loaves.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1/2 c. shortening (I use vegetable oil and it works just fine)
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
After thoroughly creamed, add:
2 mashed bananas (no chunks, at all)
Then add remaining dry ingredients:
2 c. flour
1t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
After thoroughly mixed, add:
1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
Pour into 2 greased (Pammed) loaf pans.
Sprinkle tops lightly with sugar (and maybe cinnamon).
Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes on the middle rack in the oven.
Check with a toothpick or a slim knife. If toothpick doesn’t come out clean, turn down the oven temperature about 25 degrees, rotate pan and check again in 10 minutes. Keep checking until done.
When done, run a knife around the edge of the loaf pan to loosen, then remove the bread and place it on a rack to cool.
*To make muffins instead of loaves, add a little extra flour for a stiffer batter.
*The recipe calls for shortening. Years ago, I used a stick of butter or margarine, but now only use vegetable (canola) oil. It works fine.
*The recipe calls for 1 c. white sugar & 1/2 c. brown sugar. Sometimes I use 1 1/2 c. brown sugar (because I like a darker, richer loaf); other times I put in 1 1/4 c. white sugar and a couple of tablespoons of dark unsulphured molasses (Grandma’s brand).
*Cut off all the bad (dark) spots on the bananas.
*Mash bananas thoroughly. Any chunks can result in unpleasant pinkish colored lumps in the finished bread.
*If you dislike really, really ripe (over-ripe) bananas, don’t use them. Your bread will adopt the same wine-y flavor. I never eat bananas after they get any dark spots, but I will bake with them. However, I won’t use black bananas. Baking doesn’t improve them.
*I usually use 2 bananas, but if they’re small, 3. However, more than that will make a heavy batter and it might be difficult to get it completely done in the middle.
*Sometimes I use cinnamon, sometimes nutmeg. If I’m out of nutmeg, a bit of allspice. If you really just want the flavor of the bananas, omit all the spices.
*Nuts improve everything. Pecans or English walnuts both work fine.
*Sprinkling sugar on the tops helps keep the crust from becoming gummy and sticky after it cools. It also gives it a nice texture. I’ve tried sugar on the top of one loaf and none on the other – the sugared loaf always gets eaten first.
*Muffins take a much shorter cooking time. Check them after 20 minutes.
*On high humidity days, I’ve had to increase the cooking time. Just keep checking every 10 minutes or so.
*Is great served plain, with butter or softened cream cheese.
Today after church we met our pastor and one of his daughters at McDonald’s for lunch. We sat talking for quite awhile after we finished eating.
A young woman (maybe 19 or 20 years old) was walking around the restaurant, stopping at various tables for a minute or so. She approached our table with her cell phone held in front of her and asked our pastor’s daughter (hereafter referred to as P.D.) if she would participate in a … I can’t remember what she called it …. it wasn’t a public service announcement, but something like that.
She wanted two words repeated, which she would record with her cellphone camera, and said that the recordings of several people would be spliced together to make the video. We’ve all seen these things on television or the internet; it looks like a patchwork statement.
P. D. is a young adult and can make her own decisions and she agreed and did it.
Next, the girl turned to our pastor and asked him. He replied by asking what her t-shirt said. (It was some kind of leftist nonsense.)
Then he asked her what was the goal of the video she was making. She replied that it had to do with nutrition.
At that point, I joined the conversation and asked if it was an anti-McDonald’s video. She looked a little sheepish and said yes.
I told her that we wouldn’t assist her because we love McDonald’s, to which she said “I’m sorry.” I said she didn’t have to be sorry about it because we were happy to eat there.
So she left our table and kept going around to other tables looking for unsuspecting tools for her propaganda.
Now that made me mad. If she wanted to ask students at her campus (she looked like a high school or college student) to participate but informing them first what her goals were, that’s one thing.
But to play upon the generosity of strangers and then make them look like fools is something entirely different. It’s dishonest and cruel.
Just what I’d expect from the Left.
So, please be aware that there are wolves among the sheep, and if an innocent-looking young person or innocent looking old person or anyone else asks you to participate in something – ask questions before you agree.
Or you’re likely to see yourself on a video, seemingly saying something that you never said.
It’s almost like stepping back into the past. Time is just sort of suspended once you walk in the door.
1930s music is playing, the lady behind the counter is making pies, photos of old family picnics decorate the walls, and the candy you remember as a kid is right there on the shelf.
How long has it been since you’ve had a Black Cow (I didn’t even know they were still made), or an O Henry candy bar?
And candy cigarettes??? Who would’ve thought they could survive in this O-So-Politically-Correct-New Age?
My friends and I fake-smoked and ate a lot of those little abominations and get this: we understood the difference between candy and the real thing. Just as playing with all those squirt guns and cap guns didn’t lead to actual Bonnie & Clyde type criminality, “smoking” those sugar sticks didn’t result in an addiction to nicotine.
If a really wonderful dessert is what you seek, this is it.
The Key Lime Pie may be the best I’ve ever eaten, and the Blackberry Cobbler is great, too.
Although they have seating both inside and out, I always get mine to go. The servings are generous enough to share or put some back in the fridge for later.
You won’t see a huge case full of everything – their products are handmade and fresh and therefore, limited. Kind of like you’d expect from a Mom & Pop type store because…well, that’s what it is.
The Oak Street Pie and Candy is located right next to the locally famous and original Babe’s (more on that later) on Oak Street in Roanoke. Babe’s offers nothing for dessert – unless you want some honey on your biscuit – so the Pie Company is really convenient for that after dinner sweet.
The last time I dropped in, a young mother was there with her 2 children and I heard her telling them that some of the candy was the kind she ate when she was a kid (I’m guessing in the early 1990s). We struck up a conversation and she said they lived in Flower Mound, a very nice and spanking new affluent town which is booming. However, she brings the kids to Roanoke to see that there’s a different kind of life, where things are valued for their longevity.
Roanoke has done a really marvelous job refurbishing their old town section. They’ve kept the old and the new is well integrated.
More on the rest of it later.
I wanted to begin with one of my new favorite places.
If you want to visit them online, go here. The price list is for whole pies, but they sell single servings, too. Looks like they sell boxed lunches and that a lunch menu is coming soon.
Back in the early spring, Joe and I went down to the Reata in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square for an anniversary lunch.
I guess you’d call it “Upscale Cowboy” and it’s certainly worth it if you’re here for the western atmosphere. There are apparently no dress requirements like business casual because the last time we were there, the dining room was populated with men from the rodeo dressed in cowboy working clothes.
This is a huge mural on one of the dining room walls. The place is decorated with lots of western art, saddles, chaps, etc., even the restrooms.
These are served while waiting for your entree. The pecan biscuits were especially good, but then again, I can’t see how pecans wouldn’t make anything better!
Can you believe this Vegetable Plate??
Most of the entrees are fairly meat heavy, and although I’m not a vegetarian, I really just don’t much like meat. When waitress suggested the Vegetable Plate, I asked her what was on it. Most places let you choose about 3 sides, so when she kept naming them off, I asked how many to choose. She said they were all on it.
Yellow squash, zucchini, sautéed onions, carrots, polenta, brown beans, green beans, portabello mushroom, tomatoes, spinach, corn, and asparagus. And I asked for a serving of grits (which were some of the best I’ve ever had). Don’t remember if I’ve left anything out. Of course, I couldn’t eat all of it, so I brought it home in the niftiest carryout setup I’ve ever seen and had 2 more meals from it later.
Joe had the chili rellenos and said they were good, but that he actually wished he’d ordered a Vegetable Plate, too.
Go here for the link to their Lunch Menu.
I have several other photos that were going to be included in this post, but I can’t get them to load and crunch. Maybe later.
Can’t make it to England for spring break?
If you’re in north Texas, do the next best thing: pay a visit to The British Emporium in Grapevine.
It’s owned by 2 English ladies,Sheela Kadam and Alexandra Evans.
This is Sheela and her son.
There are lots of British products, so it’s easy to miss something; if you don’t find what you’re looking for – just ask – they’re always friendly and helpful.
There’s quite a variety of U.K. foods, including frozen items.
Almost 20 years ago when I helped plan a cream tea for the ladies at our church, I bought clotted cream there. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen it on the shelf of any other grocery store on this side of the pond.
This is a fun place and a unique one. The other British shops I’ve seen weren’t nearly so nice or as comprehensive in their stock.
Loads and loads of gift items: everything from china tea pots, cups and saucers to English newspapers, British comedies on DVD, music CDs, greeting cards, playing cards (perhaps 15 different kinds), electric kettles and books.
As you can see it’s not a huge selection, but that’s okay because it’s a good one. And it’s not static. There are different ones each time I visit and sometimes it’s really difficult to choose just one. Or two.
At Christmas you might find unique board games, such as Beatles Monopoly.
Last year I took some nice photographs before Easter but lost them when our hard drive crashed, but I think they’ll be decorating again for it soon.
During the various English celebrations (such as the royal wedding) the shop invites patrons to join them for planned events.
And that shelf above Sheela’s head? Containers of loose tea and hard candy. If you prefer something more personal than pre-packaged tea or candy, you can do it the old-fashioned way and have your selection weighed out and bagged for you.
Not going to be in the area? Then you can shop from their online store, here.
Some of my photos are a bit blurry, but you can go here for their tour of the store.
Then for a relaxing lunch after shopping, I recommend that you go 1 block south, then 1 block west to Beatitudes Tea Room.
Frankly, I never thought so until a couple of months ago. I thought that flour was flour. Although I didn’t really trust the store brands (except for Sam’s Club), I honestly thought that the type or brand didn’t matter. Usually, we just buy the 25 pound sacks of the Baker’s Secret (store brand) all-purpose flour at Sam’s and use it for everything from bread to cake to cookies, and the results are usually pretty tasty. But then I started thinking …
The first time I’d ever heard of King Arthur was when looking through one of those dreamy-wish-book-kitchen-catalogs. I don’t remember how much it cost, but it was pretty pricey. Then a few weeks ago, I saw their bread flour on the shelf at Wal-Mart for about $3.15, so I decided to try it.
Using the same recipe that we’ve used for years, suddenly the crust was really good. I mean really good. In fact, it was the best pizza I’ve ever made. And I used it for my Country White Loaf and it was noticeably better.
What I’m expecting is a really lovely cake.
Founded in 1790, King Arthur is America’s oldest bread company. In 1996, it became employee owned and is headquartered in New England.
So, to answer my own query: Yes. It does.