My photo
Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Not-Quite-So Irish Soda Bread

Everyone seems to have a different Irish Soda Bread recipe - do you make it for St Patrick's Day? My sister puts raisins and caraway seeds in hers. Some very Irish people we knew used to make it very plain, with just a hint of sugar. They'd let it sit overnight and then cut it in thin slices with a crossed thread. Maybe that's the original idea - a substitute for yeast bread in thin sandwiches.

The recipe I've used for 30 years is more like a teacake or dessert. Instead of raisins it has currants - not, apparently the actual currants that would grow in a cool climate like Ireland (genus Ribes), but a tiny grape (genus Vitis) from California, which are dried and called Zante currants.

Every year I'd make soda bread with currants for St. Patrick's Day and it tasted fine to me. But that bread didn't seem to 'move'...days later it would still be around. The same thing happened when I made other breads that my mom used to make when we were kids. My husband and children weren't very interested in Banana Bread, Applesauce Cake, or Zucchini Bread, either.

Finally I discovered the secret - add chocolate chips and even the Lithahooligans will love Soda Bread. Or Zucchini bread. Or Banana Bread. Nothing, however, will make them like Applesauce Cake.

Lithuanian-Irish Soda Bread

Put 1 and 1/4 cup milk in glass pyrex pitcher. Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Microwave on low power 90 seconds. Let sit while you sift together:

2 and 1/2 cups unbleached flour (you can substitute up to 1 cup of white flour with King Arthur whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
a sprinkle of sea salt
3/4 cup sugar (white, brown, or a combination)

Cut in 1/4 tub Smart Balance or 1 stick butter or margarine

Add 2 slightly beaten eggs, the clabbered milk, 1/2 package (about 1 cup) Zante currants, and a cup of chocolate chips. The ones used this year were Ghirardelli Dark chips.

Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes, lower heat to 325°F for another 30 to 45 minutes depending on pan size. You can make it in a regular loaf pan, or make a round loaf in a glass pie pan, or use one of the newer silicon molds to make small loaves. That's what I used - got 4 of them from this recipe. Whatever the pan, grease or spray it and sprinkle with turbinado sugar for a little extra crunch.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

GBBD List for March 2009

In addition to the plants mentioned in my Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post for March 15th on the Transplantable Rose, this list includes everything I could find in bloom. Some have only a flower or two, and some are seldom out of bloom. Accuracy is a goal, but never guaranteed!

Antirrhinum majus, Yellow snapdragons looking good since Christmas 2007

Bryophyllum dalgremontianua, Mother of Thousands, in kitchen

Bulbine frutescens 'Yellow'/ yellow bulbine, many flowers

Cercis canadensis var texensis 'Alba', full bloom

Cercis canadensis var 'Forest Pansy', full bloom

Cercis canadensis var texensis full bloom

Chamaerops humilis, Mediterranean Fan Palm, budding

Citrus x meyeri, Meyer's Improved Lemon, one tree covered in flowers

Citrus aurantifolia? Mexican lime, many flowers

Clematis hybrid 'Ramona', in container, buds only

Delosperma cooperi ? Dark pink flowered hardy ice plant, spreading over gravel walk in Pink Garden

Evolvulus glomeratus, Blue Daze, a few flowers against brick wall in Secret Garden

Gaura lindheimerii unknown tall rose-pink variety (‘Pink Cloud’?)

Gelsemium sempervirens/ Carolina Jessamine, last blooms opening now

Hesperaloe parviflora, Red yucca in bud

Impatiens walleriana, bedding impatiens white, few from last year

Iris albicans? Simple white, early bearded iris, many flowers

Iris hybrid/ Fragrant peachy bearded Iris has a bud

Iris hybrid 'Amethyst Flame', many flowers

Lantana, unknown variety, trailing white, many flowers

Leucophyllum frutescens/ Texas sage AKA Barometer bush AKA Cenizo – one shrub, a few flowers

Lobularia maritime, Sweet alyssum (dotted around

Lonicera sempervirens, coral honeysuckle, full bloom

Mazus reptans, tiny blue flowering ground cover, barely surviving, one flower

Melampodium leucanthum / Blackfoot daisy, native plant, one flower

Narcissus tazetta ‘Grand Primo/ small daffodil, highly recommended for Austin area by Scott Ogden, a few opening in clay pot

Narcissus triandrus 'Thalia', a few buds and some battered flowers

Osmanthus fragrans/Sweet olive two established shrubs pouring our fragrance from tiny white blossoms. One newer one planted spring 2008 also making flowers.

Oxalis crassipes 'Alba' (dotted around and in containers), several blooming

Oxalis regnellii 'Atropurpurea' (dotted around and in containers)

Passiflora X possibly 'Lavender Lady' Passionvine - buds only

Pelargonium hybrid, coral geraniums blooming in breakfast room window

Pelargonium hybrids– assorted bedding geraniums red on patio, coral in Secret Garden

Phlox sublata/Creeping phlox in lavender blue

Punica granatum, pomegranate - might be 'Wonderful'

Punica granatum 'Nana'/ dwarf pomegranate

Rosa banksiae 'Lutea'/ Lady Banks rose, full bloom

Rosa ‘Champagne’ mini rose, delicate pink , two plants, buds only

Rosa 'Mutabilis' (two good-sized plants)

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus' - Prostrate Rosemary

Rosemarinus officianalis, upright Rosemary

Salvia greggii / Gregg's sage - several plants blooming in cherry red and creamy white

Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’/Dwarf Blue Cushionflower, a handful of buds and flowers.

Spiraea cantoniensis - I'm pretty sure this is the name for two of the Bridal Wreath spiraeas, but don't know species for the other two.

Tradescantia pallida, syn Setcresea pallida/ Purple Heart, a few flowers

Viola spp– various hybrids of Pansies and violas in containers and hanging baskets.