Blog Awards Ireland 2014 | Nominations Open

Just a few days ago, nominations opened for the Blog awards Ireland 2014. Across Ireland—and around the world—Irish blogs are being recognized and celebrated through this process. Last year, there were more than 3,000 nominations and the initial long-list included 800 blogs...amazing! What a testament to Irish blogging.

blog awards ireland

Last year, I really enjoyed perusing the long list and finding so many new-to-me blogs—it really was eye opening! I've already submitted my nominations for this year, and if you read Irish blogs, I encourage you to as well.

I'm pleased to write that once again, Wee Kitchen is eligible in the Best Blog of the Irish Diaspora category (along with many other fantastic blogs!). You can check out the entire thirty-two category list here, but be sure to nominate your favorite blogs by July 11th.

Lastly, thank you to Lorna Sixsmith and Amanda Webb for their dedication and passion for blogging and to bringing much deserved attention to the Irish blogging community! You are both much appreciated!

The awards will take place in the Westgrove Hotel in Clane, Co. Kildare on October 4th, 2014. 

Get nominating!

Garlic Chive Pesto Irish Soda Bread

Garlic Chive Pesto Irish soda bread
Cinnamon rolls? Nah. Who knew that soda bread could be rolled, filled, sliced and baked like this? Until recently, I didn't.
homemade Garlic Chive Pesto in a small jar

But soda bread makes the perfect foil for a number of fillings. On this particular day there were fresh, piquant garlic chives at the farmer's market begging to be bought. How could I resist? 

Garlic Chive Pesto 

1/2 cup walnuts 
1/2 cup parmesan cheese 
1 large bunch garlic chives 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
dash pepper 
olive oil  

Place the walnuts and cheese into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the cheese and walnuts are combined and have reached a small crumb size. Add the chives, salt, and pepper and process until combined. With the processor running, add olive oil in a thin stream until the pesto reaches the desired consistency—like a thick paste. Serve immediately or refrigerate. 

Garlic Chive Pesto Irish Soda Bread dough

Garlic Chive Pesto Soda Bread 

450 g flour 
1 scant teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon salt 
300 ml buttermilk 

Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C/Gas Mark 7. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk. Using your hands, mix the dough until it's combined—the dough will be thick. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly into round. Roll the dough into a large rectangular shape, about 1/2" thick. Spread 3-4 large spoonfuls of chive pesto onto the dough to within about 1/2" of the sides. Beginning on one of the long sides, roll the dough into a cylinder shape. Cut 1/2" rounds and place into a round, greased baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush lightly with olive oil when still hot from the oven. 

Garlic Chive Pesto Irish Soda Bread rolls

These rolls make a wonderful accompaniment to a simple salad but wouldn't it be more fun to share them? Inject a little bit of Ireland at your next potluck and let me know how you like them! 

Come again! 

Irish Soda Bread with Ramps

close up of wild ramps (leeks)
Here on the east coast of the United States, ramps (allium tricocca, or wild leeks) are in season. Ramps originated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, but they grow from there northward as far as Canada. A ramp is not the same plant as a ramson (allium ursinum, or bear's garlic); ramsons do not grow wild in the United States. Now that we have that out of the way, let's make some soda bread.
round of Irish Soda Bread dough with ramps
This recipe was largely inspired by Donal Skehan's recipe for Wild Garlic Irish Soda Bread. Since ramsons are not available to me here in the U.S., I substituted ramps. Although ramps are indeed wild leeks, they have a distinct garlic flavor that I knew would work well in this bread. The garlic flavor is so pronounced in fact that most people say you can "smell ramps before you see them". I've foraged for ramsons in Ireland and have found that to be true of them, too. Clearly, ramps and ramsons are closely related.
diptych of Irish Soda Bread made with Ramps and Wild Leeks (ramps)
To make this bread using ramps, simply follow Donal's recipe and substitute the ramsons with about five ramps.
Finished loaf of Irish Soda Bread with Ramps (wild leeks)
I'll be travelling to Ireland soon and am hoping there are a few ramsons left in the wild while I'm there. I'd love do some baking with them. In the meantime, I'm happy with the American counterpart—the ramp—and how it's transformed this bread. It's lovely toasted with some good Irish cheddar melted on top, but I think my next step may be to use it as a base for a savory bread pudding. You'll have to come back for that recipe! 

Come again!