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Nothing fancy, just a nice recipe for something called Irish Soda Bread, which has nothing to do with Ireland but it’s simple and delicious, so here you go. If you’re like me, you don’t keep buttermilk around so use yoghurt or cream or something, and a squeeze of lemon.

tastes better than it looks

tastes better than it looks

4 cups unbleached flour, plus more for kneading

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

6 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons butter

2 eggs, beaten, optional

1 1/4 to 2 cups buttermilk (use more if you omit the eggs)

1 cup raisins or currants, soaked in hot water

Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter, add eggs and buttermilk. Stir in raisins. Knead a few times and let rest 10 minutes. * Shape into an 8- or 9-inch round. Score top with a knife in the shape of a plus sign. Place in 9-inch cast-iron pan and bake at 375 degrees until top is brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove and cool on rack.

Serve toasted with butter. Try it with a wedge of sharp cheese and a bit of hard-smoked salmon. Good luck!

Speaking of luck, I have written several books about Ireland because I love it there. I love the people and their history and heritage. Irish Magic and Irish Magic 2 are anthologies written with some of my favorite writers–Roberta Gellis, Morgan Llywelyn, Barbara Samuel. The Mist and the Magic takes place in Tudor Ireland. And the late, great Dancing on Air will be republished this year with a new title: At the Queen’s Summons. Good luck with that, too!

four novellas of IrelandPlease click this link for a beautiful slide show of the Irish countryside. And here’s a little something to read from a favorite author and friend, Malachy McCourt. And if you just don’t have enough controversy in your life, here’s a bit about the banning of “Danny Boy.” As a child, I memorized a piano piece called “Irish Derry Air” and while playing it, I was always picturing this enormous green-clad derriere.

Slainte!

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