Earlier this week, I decided to serve up tomato soup to the kids in an attempt to convert them to ‘soup lovers’. You can read all about it here if you want to catch up on operation ‘My Kids Will Eat Soup’
Spoiler alert coming up for all those who wish to read the full story
Master 5 years liked the soup
Miss 18 months ….not so keen.
But our saving grace for the night was the spinach and pumpkin soda bread I served up with the soup. Miss 18 months devoured it! I was very impressed.
It is a pretty mean feat to get a vegetable in her and I was dubious that she would except the green and orange flecked bread. But she did and for that, dear Soda bread, i am grateful.
I have never made soda bread before and for all the Australian readers out there it has a very similar taste and texture to damper bread. For those who have not had damper it is like a heavier, savoury scone.
This basic recipe (from the River Cottage) claimed
‘it’s a quick and simple answer – and sustaining, too. This classic recipe lends itself to endless tweaking and variation. Slot it into your repertoire and you’ll never regret it’
Sounded good to me.
So I decided to test it’s claims of ‘tweak-ability‘ and ‘variation‘ by adding some grated pumpkin
The recipe also called for the use of buttermilk – which I did not have. So I decided to use half milk and half natural yoghurt. But hey – it ‘lends itself to endless tweaking’ so what harm can it do (another spoiler alert… None).
Firstly I grated the pumpkin and quickly blanched and chopped some English spinach. I made sure I squeezed all the excess fluid out of the spinach by wrapping it in a clean tea towel and wringing the moisture out.
To make the bread dough, sift the flour and bicarbonate soda into a bowl. (Not that I did though – I can never be bothered to sift but you do run the risk of having clumps if bicarbonate soda in the bread. Not a nice taste but one I am willing to risk for less steps in the kitchen.)
I then added the pumpkin and spinach and gave it a good mix with my hands to ensure non of the spinach or pumpkin were clumped together.
Make a well in the middle and add the milk and yoghurt mix
As soon as the acid in the yoghurt touches the bicarbonate soda, it reacts and bubbles and this is what gives the bread a lighter texture then scones or damper. So, work quick and mix together with your hands till it just comes together. Be prepared for sticky fingers but do not knead to much or it will be tough and rubbery.
It smells great cooking.
Once it is cooked it will sound hollow when taped on the base
Take it out of the oven and cool as is, or if you want a softer crust, wrap in a tea towel to cool
Or, just break open and steal a bit for afternoon tea like I did….with lashings of butter.
It was lovely dipped in soup or eaten as Miss 18 months likes it – On it own.
It definitely lived up to its ‘tweak-ability’ claims so give it a go and see what you can add to make it your own.
What flavour combinations would your kids eat?
Pumpkin and Spinach Soda Bread
500g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200mls natural yoghurt
1/2 cup grated pumpkin
1/2 cup blanched chopped spinach
Sift plain flour and bicarbonate soda into a large bowl. Add grated pumpkin and spinach and mix well to ensure there are no large clumps of vegetable. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add milk and yoghurt. Bring mixture together with your hands until just combined. Turn out onto floured board and bring together into a ball. Place on a floured tray and place into a preheated 200 degree Celsius oven for 40 – 45 minutes until golden and sounding hollow when tapped on the base. Cool on a wire rack or wrap in a tea towel if you want a softer crust.