For the month of September Meredith from the Poco Loco Olsons challenged us to experiment with soda bread. This quick bread relies on chemical reactions between baking soda and the acid in buttermilk (sour milk), so no yeast is allowed. Contrary to popular belief, soda bread was not invented by Irish bakers. In fact, food historians give credit of first using soda to leaven bread to the Native Americans, who used pearl ash to help their breads rise.

Traditionally, Irish soda bread can be white or brown, sometimes contains raisins, and often has a cross in the top of each loaf. White soda breads are often enjoyed at breakfast or to soak up stew at dinner. This recipe was taught to Meredith’s parents during their first trip to Ireland in 1985. It has since become a family favorite and never ceases to delight especially when eaten warm, smeared with freshly churned butter.



2½ cups (625 ml) sour milk or buttermilk

2 cups (500 ml) (300 gm) (10½ oz) whole wheat flour

4 cups (1000 ml) (600 gm) (21 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour

2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) baking soda

1 teaspoon (6 gm) salt


  • Preheat the oven to hot 450°F/230°C or gas mark 8 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Mix the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.

  • Pour the sour milk/buttermilk into the well. Mix the dough until flour is completely incorporated.

  • It will be very stiff. Transfer dough to the prepared baking sheet. Pat the dough into a circle shape.

  • It should be approximately 1 inch/2½ cm thick. Now make several dimples in the top of the dough.

  • Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the preheated hot oven and bake bread for 30 minutes.

  • Reduce heat to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6. Pull baking sheet out from under dough.

  • The parchment will be directly on the oven rack. Bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown.

Daring Bakers September 2015 Challenge

Gato dipain or dipain frire is a typical Mauritian snack that is almost invariably found at the stalls of those selling an assortment of fritters/ gato deluile. But has anyone among you ever tried to make this from scratch ? To all my friends currently residing overseas, here’s the recipe for gato dipain to quench any cravings you might be having away from our beloved motherland. A great way to use up bread that has gone stale in the bread bin for a day or two, these fritters can be made within minutes and are to be served hot along with condiments like coriander chutney or chili sauce.



baguette or pain viennois

1/2 cup chickpea flour/besan

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon orange food colour

1/2 teaspoon garlic/ginger paste

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups cold water

1 bunch spring onions, chopped

1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped

Vegetable oil, for deep frying


  • In a large bowl, combine chickpea flour, all purpose flour, baking soda and food colour.

  • Add the garlic, ginger, spring onions, coriander leaves, salt and pepper according to taste.

  • Gradually add water to form a thick batter. Cut the bread slices according to desired size.

  • Heat oil in a frying pan. Take one slice of bread, dip in the batter and place on frying pan.

  • Repeat the process for all the bread slices. Cook on medium heat, then flip to the other side.

  • Cook until both sides turn to a light brown color. Remove and drain on kitchen towel paper.

  • Serve the fritters hot with an assortment of coriander chutney, tomato chutney or chili sauce.

Gato Dipain

This year for Ganesh Chaturthi I decided to forego the traditional modak and kanawla for a relatively healthier alternative: Coconut & Almond Laddoos with soft dried cranberries and freshly grated lime. The recipe, from, has been tweaked to allow these beauties to be baked to further enhance the flavours of their primary ingredients. The sharp taste of lime can easily overpower the overall mixture so be careful when adding the juice. Baked laddoos keep well in a foil-lined, airtight container for up to 1 week.



2/3 cup dried cranberries

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup coarse almond meal

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoon maple syrup

1 1/2 teaspoon lime rind

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 tablespoons demerara


  • Chop the cranberries finely with a sharp knife. Toast desiccated coconut and almond meal together.

  • Allow to cool to room temperature, then add the chopped cranberries to the coconut-almond mixture.

  • Add coconut oil and maple syrup, then the lime rind and juice. Knead lightly until it comes together.

  • Roll the mixture into marble sized balls and then roll the balls in demerara sugar to coat them well.

  • Place them on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 300 oF for about 10 minutes until golden brown.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

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