What do we eat for dinner on a day that's too hot to cook? An Irish salad

It has the beetroot, the egg, the scallion and crucially, the salad cream. Brown bread is non-negotiable
What do we eat for dinner on a day that's too hot to cook? An Irish salad

Extra salad cream and a slice of ham if you're lucky.

Old-fashioned Irish salad

recipe by:Darina Allen

This simple, old fashioned salad can be quite delicious when it’s made with a crisp lettuce, good home-grown tomatoes and cucumbers, free-range eggs and home preserved beetroot

Old-fashioned Irish salad

Servings

2

Preparation Time

10 mins

Cooking Time

10 mins

Total Time

20 mins

Course

Main

Ingredients

  • Fresh watercress or butterhead

  • Lettuce

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, preferably free-range, quartered

  • 2-4 tomatoes, quartered

  • 16 slices of cucumber

  • 4 slices pickled beetroot

  • 4 tiny scallions or spring onions

  • 2-4 sliced radishes

  • Chopped parsley

  • To serve: 

  • Salad cream 

Method

  1. Hard-boil the eggs for the salad. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, gently slide in the eggs, boil for 10 minutes (12 if they are very fresh), strain off the hot water and cover with cold water. Peel when cold. Wash and dry the lettuce and scallions.

  2. To assemble the salads: Arrange a few lettuce leaves on each of 4 plates. Scatter a few quartered tomatoes and 2 hard-boiled egg quarters, a few slices of cucumber and 1 radish or 2 slices of beetroot on each plate. Garnish with spring onion and watercress, scatter the remaining egg white (from the dressing) over the salad and chopped parsley.

  3. Put a tiny bowl of salad cream in the centre of each plate and serve immediately while the salad is crisp and before the beetroot starts to run.

Brown soda bread

recipe by:Darina Allen

This comforting Irish classic is a perfect afternoon treat paired with salted butter and berry jam or enjoyed with a bowl of piping hot soup

Brown soda bread

Servings

10

Preparation Time

15 mins

Cooking Time

30 mins

Total Time

45 mins

Course

Baking

Ingredients

  • 340g wholemeal flour

  • 110g plain white flour

  • 15g butter

  • A barely rounded teaspoon of bread soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 egg

  • 415ml (470ml, minus the egg) buttermilk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 230ºC.

  2. Mix the flours in a large bowl and rub in the butter. Add the salt and sieved bread soda. Lift the flour up with your fingers to distribute the salt and bread soda.

  3. Add the beaten egg (if using) to the buttermilk. Make a well in the centre and pour in all the liquid. With your fingers stiff and outstretched, stir in a circular movement from the centre to the outside of the bowl in ever-increasing concentric circles. When you reach the outside of the bowl seconds later the dough should be made.

  4. Sprinkle a little wholemeal flour on to the worktop. Turn the dough out onto the flour. Sprinkle a little flour on your hands. Gently tidy the dough around the edges and flip onto the flour. Tuck the edges underneath with the inner edge of your hands, gently pat the dough with your fingers into a loaf about 4cm thick.

  5. Cut a deep cross into the bread (this is called ‘Blessing the bread’ and then prick it in the centre of the four sections to 'let the fairies out of the bread').

  6. Transfer to a floured baking tray.

  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 200ºC for the remaining 25-30 minutes. Turn the bread upside down after approximately 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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