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Just a simple gal living on the outskirts of Portland making ends meet. I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and I am happy to call it home. On this blog you will find everything from cooking to my crazy life. I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

St. Patrick's Day

So yesterday we had a family dinner at the bf's Aunt and Uncle's house in honor of St. Patrick's Day. The house was bursting with good food, family and friends and thankfully all I had to do was show up with a loaf of Irish Soda Bread.
Irish Soda Bread is one of the easiest breads there is to make, it takes very little time, and barley and kneading is involved. My Irish Soda Bread recipe comes from an old Better Homes and Gardens cook book that I have had on hand for many wonderful recipes for many wonderful years. I make a very standard recipe I don't add raisins or currents and I do not use whole wheat flour. The recipe is as follows: 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 3 Tlb. butter, 1 beaten egg, 3/4 to 1 cup of fresh buttermilk, and 1 more egg beaten in separate dish to brush on the top of the bread before baking. Directions cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender in a large bowl until you have what resembles crumbs. then add the butter milk and one beaten egg and mix together until you have a slightly sticky dough (if you need to add a touch more buttermilk now is the time)The dough should be like biscuit dough. Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead about 12 strokes. Form a 6 inch round loaf that is slightly higher in the center than on the edges (like a scone)then cut a 4 inch cross into the top and center of the dough. Brush the top of the dough with the some of the second beaten egg and bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 25 to 35 minutes (depending on your oven). Let it cool before you cut into slices or it will fall apart completely.
The second thing that I brought to the family gathering was a Ricotta & Dark Chocolate Cake. I made this cake because I wanted to try something new and different than the standard chocolate cake or desserts that I usually bake and take to these family parties. This recipe comes from a food blogger that I stumbled upon and this recipe is one I just had to try. It is simple and tasty and perfect for taking to a party. I also have confirmation that it is delicious if a two year old boy eating three slices is any sort of proof.
The ingredient conversion is as follows: 10 1/2 oz. of whole milk ricotta cheese, 3 eggs, 5 1/4 oz of raw sugar, 7 oz. of spelt flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt and 8 3/4 oz of dark chocolate (72% cacao). If you can't find a 72% cacao dark chocolate do what I do use a lesser percentage (mine was 64% cacao)but add like a 1/4 tsp of dry instant coffee. Now that the ingredients are converted follow the rest of the directions and you will be just fine. This batter is very thick.
Combining the cheese, eggs and sugar.
Getting ready to melt the chocolate in the microwave.
Prepared pan dusted with cocoa powder.
Adding the dry ingredients.
Melted chocolate.
Abandoned the mixer and started using a large spoon.
You can see that the batter is very thick.
Looking good baby.
Now to serve that amazing chocolate cake I simply sliced off both ends and discarded them (which means I ate them) and then sliced the rest of the cake like a loaf of bread overlapping each slice on top of each other and gave it a good dusting of confectioners sugar. The presentation was simple yet classy.
May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you and yours.


  1. They both look so delicious! Sounds like a fun day!

  2. Thanx Viola. I was skeptical to make the chocolate cake because I had heard some negative comments on using spelt instead of flour, but it was great, super dense and fairly moist.