Focaccia with Blue Cheese & Parma Ham


Happy New Year folks!

So here we are in January again, the month of starting new resolutions, adopting ‘out with the old, in with the new’ philosophies and commencing new eating and exercise regimes. So yes, privately this is my mantra, and I am enjoying fresh green juices in the morning. However, publicly, I am urging you to try this delicious Focaccia with Blue Cheese and Parma Ham. [Read more…]

Easy Cheese Soda Bread


It has been a while, I know. A belated Happy New Year to you!

To get me back in my blogging rhythm I have decided to share something which is very easy, very quick and does not require a specific trip to the supermarket. This recipe consists of everyday baking goods that you would have in your cupboard, or fridge.

Yes. Soda bread has to be the easiest, and the quickest of all bread to make. No fancy bread flour is required, just regular plain; no yeast needed, so no proving times; no fancy mixers required, just a bowl and spoon (sure, go ahead and use your mixer if you choose) and no specific tins, just a regular baking tray. You don’t even need to get your hands dirty here.


Traditionally, Irish Soda bread consists of just flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk. I have added an egg here, just to add to the flavour and crumbled blue cheese to complete the deliciousness. You can use any cheese you have, it will taste great. Also, don’t worry if you do not have buttermilk to hand. If I don’t have any, I improvise. I made this earlier in the week with a mixture of double cream and milk, in lieu of the buttermilk, but you could use natural yoghurt also. I had a great result with this substitute, so it works! Just ensure you have the correct overall volume.cheesesodabread-1-4

I, for one (in my mind, anyway), like to think that I am ‘watching what I eat’ now it is the New Year, so bread might not be on your ‘to bake’ list. However, what a great accompaniment this bread makes to some healthy, fresh, hot soup. Pretty good toasted with butter too. Something hearty for a cold, damp January weekend…



Easy Cheese Soda Bread


  • 500g plain flour, extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 400ml buttermilk (or a combination of natural yoghurt/double cream and milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 180g blue cheese, crumbled (or cheese of your choice)


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C, or Gas Mark 6.
  2. Into a large bowl, or freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Mix to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add the buttermilk (or alternative) and combine well. Add to the flour mixture and mix slowly. When the dough has nearly come together, add the crumbled cheese. Mix further until a large ball of dough has formed.
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment. Tip the dough directly onto the lined tray. With your hands, form a ball and gently flatten the top. Dust with flour and with a sharp knife, score a cross over the top of the dough.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, checking after 25 minutes until the bread is a rich, golden colour.
  6. Serve warm. Best eaten on the day of baking.

Source: Adapted from Paul Hollywood’s ‘How To Bake’