Come on over for a Irish flavored tea. No, not Irish whisky flavored, but one given a hint of Ireland because not only are we having some good hot tea (Lady Gray variety in my case, but I have some Irish Breakfast tea if you are feeling traditional) but also Soda Farls, a sort of cross between Irish Soda Bread and Scones. I almost used up the last of my King Arthur Flour Irish-style wheat flour for this but it really add a nice touch since it has more texture than whole wheat flour from the market.
This is pretty plain bread, not at all sweet, but if you enjoy wheat flavor you'll like it. I tried my farl with both butter...a great choice...and some lemon curd homemade and generously given by my quilting friend Judy. She brought it on Boxing Day and it is quite delicious! Because this is not a sweet bread the farls also go quite nicely with soup and stews.
The trick here, as with most quick breads, is to barely combine the ingredients. Over mixing toughens the bread. I doubt that these farls will make it past breakfast tomorrow but I suspect that they are not great keepers, so enjoy as soon as they are cool enough to separate into farls.
Not needing stale soda bread, I made a half of the recipe given in An Irish Country Village, a lovely book about an apprentice doctor in rural Northern Ireland in the late '60s. The housekeeper's name is Kinky Kincaid and she is the one who gives some recipes at the end of the book. If you want to start with the young doctor's introduction to the village then start with An Irish Country Doctor. If you make the full recipe (just double the ingredients) you will probably have to bake it about 30 minutes.
from An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor
4 oz. all-purpose flour
4 oz. whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda, heaped
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 - 8 oz. buttermilk
Sieve dry ingredients into a bowl. Add buttermilk, enough for a soft but not sticky dough. Turn onto a well-floured board and shape into a cake 1 1/2 inches thick. Transfer round to a floured baking sheet (and pat to restore rounded shape if needed). Mark into 4-6 wedges (farls). I marked into 8 wedges & that worked fine, too.
Bake in preheated 400 to 425 degree F oven about 18-20 minutes. Separate farls once bread has cooled.
If preferred, the farls can be cut into wedges & cooked on a floured, gently heated griddle. This is the more traditional method.
These are great eaten warm, with some butter or cheese, but are also delicious split in half and toasted...like English muffins.