Rucksack Foodie

Eat good – Live well – Enjoy life !

Brown Bread on The Hill

Approaching The Hill of Slane. The site of St. Patrick's first Paschal fire in 433ad, although these ruins are from the early 16th century.

Approaching The Hill of Slane. The site of St. Patrick’s first Paschal fire in 433ad, although these ruins are from the early 16th century.

One of the wonderful friends I’ve met while here in Slane is Eamon. A tall, strapping, football loving Irishman, who’s family has lived on the Hill of Slane in the shadow of the historic ruins since the 1930’s. Growing up running the hills with other village boys, battling with wooden swords

Looking down from the monastery tower into the church yard at The Hill Of Slane

Looking down from the monastery tower into the church yard at The Hill Of Slane

among the stone walls, throwing paper planes from atop the tower, climbing the ancient mound in the woods near by – although i’ve walked these grounds many times since arriving here, when he invited me for a hike around the old site I couldn’t say no!

We sloshed through the mucky, wet cow fields to the ancient Neolithic mound site that lies in the wooded area behind the stone ruins and cemetery. The site is currently being surveyed and researched by Conor Brady and The Hill of Slane Archeological Project. 

Barrow/mound with motte on Hill of Slane.

Barrow/mound with motte on Hill of Slane.

Smaller green mounds lie about on the approach to the main barrow/mound that rises about 25 feet with an obvious stone border on its top, and a deep motte at it’s base.  Old beautiful lichen covered trees surround and crown this mysterious place. Eamon shared local history bits as well as stories of his families

Eamon mucking around the smaller mounds.

Eamon mucking around the smaller mounds.

memories on this special hill. He had not walked these woods for many years. We were beginning to lose day light and the muck was getting deeper, so we started our walk back. Upon our arrival to his family home we were met by his lovely mother who had a pot of Irish Stew on the stove and the days fresh baked Brown Bread waiting to warm us up. I have to admit that I had yet to find a slice of Irish Brown Bread I liked until this meal. The Irish do not seem to consume bread in the same mass quantity with every meal as we Americans do. Restaurants don’t greet you here with a bottomless basket of warm delicious carbohydrates to keep you busy while you wait. Bread is consumed with a purpose, not thoughtlessly. And a traditional Irish household will have a fresh loaf on the table least every other day, either from their own oven or from the lady down the street who bakes extra to sell to the neighbors. Mrs. Coyle’s Irish stew was delicious despite Eamon’s claim it was prepared with the fresh meat of englishmen. Her brown bread was heavenly, light and almost creamy to the taste. A 3 generation recipe she was kind enough to share with me and you can find below. The ingredients are few and basic but the key is to not over handle the dough, mixing till just not sticky and able to form up in a pan…bread making is science almost magic and Mrs. Coyle’s Brown Bread on The Hill of Slane is heaven !

A delicious warm meal of Irish Stew, Mrs. Coyle's Brown Bread, and coffee with Bailey's awaited us after our mucking around The Hill of Slane.

A delicious warm meal of Irish Stew, Mrs. Coyle’s Brown Bread, and coffee with Bailey’s awaited us after our mucking around The Hill of Slane.

4 handfuls of self rising flour
3 handfuls of wheat flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp salt
Add enough buttermilk in with a spoon till just not sticky and able to shape.
Cut a cross in the top and put four pokes with a knife in each quarter space.
Flour the pan
250 Fahrenheit.
Look at it in a half of an hour
Lift up and give a thump to know if done.

4 comments on “Brown Bread on The Hill

  1. Petra Haynes
    January 9, 2013

    LOL, love the recipe! So really handfuls of flour? That’ll be interesting. Would love a recipe for the stew as well. 🙂

    • Rucksack Foodie
      January 9, 2013

      I know ..great isn’t it! But all of us who love to cook probably do not have any of our most loved recipes anywhere on paper for the future generations! Good goal for us cooks to make for our kitchens…everything deliciously created must be written down somewhere.
      As far as Mrs. Coyle’s Irish Stew, I don’t think you’ll be able to find “fresh meat of Englishmen ” at Dierberg’s Grocery! 🙂 …Jk!

  2. Deirdre Gingles
    February 11, 2013

    Inspired by this post I tried the recipe and have a few adjustments to make, half the amount of salt stated here, 1 teaspoon is all that’s required per loaf, also the temperature that I found best is about 200 Celsius which is 390 Fahrenheit. Apart from that the handfulls work & the bread gets the tumbs-up from my family……. Deirdre (Navan Rugby)

    • Rucksack Foodie
      February 11, 2013

      Awe, brilliant Deirdre!!! Thanks for the “tweak”!!!! I agree, on the salt and I’ve been baking in an Aga so it’s been up to the “fire gods” and my watchful eye!

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