Entries in Poppy seeds (2)


Seeded Brown Irish Soda Bread

While at work, my husband has the privilege of being cooked for and cleaned up after. There is a lovely Irish girl who keeps him from withering away. Her name is Janine.

From time to time, the girls and I are lucky enough to share the privilege with him. Janine puts up with my children under foot and the forty-six questions that get fired at her about exactly what ingredients are going where and why the stove moves and why the fridge doors are so heavy and why the galley is called the galley and how come she has to cook for the boys and why the bread needs to cook for an hour and why she chose to paint her toenails that colour and if she is going to wear a pretty dress later on and well, you get the idea. She not only puts up with them, she does so patiently and calmly and sweetly in moments when I would have lost any shred of cool I may possess by question four.

She made us some soda bread for lunch one day. Poppy and I decided we would try and reproduce her delicious loaf. We tried and it was good but I am thinking it may need an Irish hand to be as delicious as hers was. For the rest of us this will do just fine to be sure.

I toasted the sesame seeds and pine nuts and cooled them before adding because they taste even better that way.  The seed/nut combination is up to you. You could add pumpkin seeds or chopped nuts or whatever you feel like.

Don’t forget to cut a cross in the top which is not a religious symbol - I had thought it was. Janine says it just helps it rise evenly.

Seeded Brown Irish Soda Bread (adapted from Janine’s adaptation of Rachel Allen’s Brown Soda Bread in Bake)

225 grams (8 ounces) whole wheat flour

225 grams (8 ounces) all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

100 grams mixed seeds (I used sunflower, poppy, pine nuts and sesame seeds)

25 grams (1 ounce) butter

1 egg beaten

375-400 mL buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425º (220ºc). 

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Rub the butter in to the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center.

Whisk the egg and buttermilk together and pour most of the liquid into the dry ingredients. Using your hand like a scoop, bring the flour and liquid together, adding more liquid if necessary. The dough should be soft an not too sticky.

Turn out and bring dough into a round on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Cut a deep cross in the top of round.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to about 390º (200ºc) and bake for another 30 minutes. The loaf will sound hollow when it is done.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.


Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Lemon and Poppy Seeds - Just in Time for Thanksgiving # 2

As far as children’s eating preferences go, I know I am pretty blessed. Poppy had a wee tantrum at Whole Foods the other day because I wouldn’t let her get a salad to eat in the car on the way home. It’s not that I am depriving my child, I was thinking of the brand new, until we got our greasy and sticky little mitts on it, rental car.

It was her who decided that we should have brussels sprouts, one of her favourites, for supper the other day. When asked what she would like to have with her father’s most dreaded vegetable, she replied, ‘Just a glass of milk.’

I chose to provide some protein and starch with the sprouts, purely as a marriage preservation technique, but that is beside the point. It is about the sprouts.

Way back when, we used to do rapini with garlic, lemon and toasted sesame at Lolita’s Lust, which was not a brothel but a restaurant where I used to work. As the girls and I strolled, read: stop-started in three foot intervals while one child or another tried to leap out of the shopping trolley at one shiny package or another while I pleaded still-sitting and inside voices, through the supermarket aisle, I thought that such treatment would suit the much maligned sprout.

Poppy informed me that Hazel, our imaginary sister, didn’t like sesame seeds, she only likes poppy seeds narcissistically enough. So we shifted from thoughts of toasty, nutty sesame to the prettier and stick-in-your-teethier poppy seed. Don’t think I don’t like poppy seeds, I do. I just think they are at their best mixed with lots of sugar and dairy and baked into something gooey and sweet, think rugelach, lemon poppy seed cake with cream cheese frosting and poppy seed danish. You get the gist.

Well, it is lucky that Hazel happened to join us for that trip to the supermarket, she has been using that time to surf lately, because she hit it right on and the poppy seeds are perfect here. 

No longer is there any excuse for stinky, overcooked lumps of mushy grey green brussels sprout. These are delicious. Stephen even said they were good. This, from a man who for the last forty years has sulkily eaten one brussels sprout each Christmas because he was made to.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Lemon and Poppy Seeds

28 large brussels sprouts shredded, about 5 cups shredded, or in the absence of a food processor, thinly sliced

3 cloves (about 1 tablespoon) garlic minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup stock (chicken or vegetable) or water

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan, over medium high heat, heat the oil.

Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds. 

Add the sprouts and toss with the oil, then add the stock or water. Continue cooking, tossing every twenty seconds or so, until the sprouts become bright green and start to become tender.

Add the lemon juice and poppy seeds, toss and remove from heat. 

Season with salt and pepper.