This Festive Spiced Soda Bread is a Christmassy twist on a classic Irish soda bread. Full of currants, sultanas, raisins, mixed peel and cranberries, it’s flavourful, soft and perfect with a good serving of butter!
Hi everyone, hope you’re having a good week. I’m sharing my final recipe of 2022 today: Festive Spiced Soda Bread. I cannot believe we are almost at the end of 2022 already. This year has flown by, but also been very long??! How does that work!? It’s been intense, stressful, but in other ways amazing.
We got our gorgeous kittens in February. They’ve completed our little family and we couldn’t love them more. Every day with them is so fun, you never know what to expect apart from mischief. Oh, and if they go quiet, they’re up to no good. A bit like toddlers!
I continued my recovery from PCD (blood clots) and, in September, marked one year since I was diagnosed. It has been the hardest recovery of my life, but I think I’m as good as I will ever be now. My health has continued to make doing things difficult in other ways though.
I would love to say I can work full time again and pump out two blog posts every week, but it’s just not attainable at the moment. I’m learning to accept that it’s OK to put yourself first sometimes. I need to put myself first to heal and that’s fine.
The old me would have pushed through and worked non stop, not allowing myself any time to deal with things or rest. However, I know I get stuck in a cycle of agony. My body constantly flaring, my health constantly declining. So, this year I’ve taken care of me. Both mentally and physically. I started therapy, first CBT and now counselling.
It’s been SO enlightening going to therapy. Understanding that nobody asks to be surrounded by incredibly dysfunctional people. Be that because people who are actually cruel, or people who are under-resourced and things become dysfunctional. We are not pawns in someone’s game, we are humans and allowed to feel valued, have our own thoughts and feelings etc.
My entire life I’ve felt I wasn’t enough and that there must be something wrong with me. Friends and my husband would tell me there isn’t, but it’s all I’ve known. My therapist actually made me cry when she said this: “you are kind, funny and have so much to offer the world. If I thought this was you, I would tell you. But it genuinely isn’t. It’s them”.
Me realising how dysfunctional everything is and wanting my own life to be healthier is not a bad thing at all. I realised last year that me being stressed and letting people treat me like rubbish was not going to aid my physical recovery, least of all my mental health. So, this year I embarked on a journey of self discovery, in the hopes of learning the tools to become mentally stronger and more resilient.
In the long run, it’s much healthier for me to be away from toxicity and to continue learning about how I can heal and have better boundaries. Sometimes I think my therapist doesn’t know what she’s got herself into with some of the things I’ve experienced. Her face when I tell her how people have acted and/or what they’ve said. She is an advocate for me learning the tools to then decide who I even want around me and says it is hard and often painful to make those decisions, but beneficial to cut certain people from your life sometimes.
Anyway, enough about that, let’s talk about this Festive Spiced Soda Bread!
HOW TO MAKE THIS FESTIVE SPICED SODA BREAD…
I got the inspiration from this recently when I went to the supermarket. They had a festive loaf of bread with mixed fruit and spices in. It was a wholemeal, yeasted bread and super delicious with pumpkin jam on. There were raisins, currants, mixed peel and cranberries in there and it made me want to create a version of my own. So, I thought about how much I LOVE my Irish Soda Bread recipe and it developed from there.
Soda bread is much quicker to make than a yeasted bread, plus I thought it would taste fabulous with different fruits in and spices. I also used brown sugar over white as it goes so nicely with cinnamon, ginger, cloves etc.
The first couple of times I made this Festive Spiced Soda Bread, it was about 95% there, but something needed tweaking. Be it, the amount of buttermilk, sugar or spices, it wasn’t 100% perfect. I only share recipes once they’re 100%, so I tried again.
The result? Flavourful, fruit filled, sweet, spicy Soda Bread jut perfect for Christmas. The best thing about it? No rising time, just make the dough and bake. You could have a warm slice of this bread in front of you in under an hour.
To begin with I placed flour, sugar, spices, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl with some cold cubes of butter. I used a pastry cutter, to cut the butter into the flour until I had a breadcrumb texture. I then added the mixed fruit and cranberries.
Once the fruit is coated in the flour mix, add 1 egg and buttermilk. Mix until the dough comes together into one big ball, then tip onto a lined baking tray. Loosely shape into a round, rustic looking loaf, score it across both ways, then bake until risen and golden. My loaf baked for 37 minutes.
I don’t have much willpower when it comes to bread fresh from the oven, so I cut a slice almost immediately, while the molten fruit is still burning my fingertips. However, if you have the patience, I would advise waiting 30 minutes before digging in. You can also serve this at room temperature, or toasted.
I love this Festive Spiced Soda Bread with butter, jam or Biscoff on. It will keep in an airtight container, at room temperature for a week… if it lasts that long! (it doesn’t in my house!)
All that’s left for me to say is I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and I’ll be back in January with new content!
Enjoyed this recipe? Check these out!
Festive Spiced Soda Bread
- 3 1/2 cups (490g) plain/all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice/all spice
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 stick (56g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 1/4 cups (205g) mixed fruit, see note*
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cups + 2tbsp (390ml) buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F and line a large baking tray with grease proof paper or a silicone sheet.
- Place the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices into a large bowl with the cubes of cold butter. Either use a pastry cutter, or your fingers to cut the butter into the flour. Continue until you have an even breadcrumb texture.
- Add in the mixed fruit and cranberries, then stir until coated in flour. Add in the egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract, then mix until your dough becomes one large ball. You don't want it to be sticky, it needs to just come together.
- Tip the dough onto your prepared baking tray and shape into a rustic round loaf, around 9 inches across. Take a serrated/bread knife and score about 1 inch deep from back to front and side to side.
- Place in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until risen, golden all over and an inserted skewer into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool for 30 minutes before digging in, if you have the patience! Serve warm from the oven, at room temperature, or toasted with butter, jam or Biscoff. Festive Spiced Soda Bread will keep in an airtight container, at room temperature, for a week.