About a year ago the mister and I noticed some mildew on the tile in front of the shower in the bathroom...he sprayed it with some kind of liquid napalm and it disappeared, only to reappear a day or two later. After giving the matter some thought, I figured out the problem - water was seeping through the grout and under the tile. But the mister disagreed with me, told me I was nuts and said the mildew was from water that was escaping from the shower when it was on, and I wasn't drying the floor properly and there was no way it could be coming from anything else. During the last year I challenged him over and over on this and he argued himself into a snit every time and refused to remove a tile or two and have a look or to call someone to come and fix it. Then last weekend the mister was in the garage, and he could smell Irish Spring soap, the soap we use in the shower, which is located over the garage...he looked up just as a water droplet was on it's way down, hitting him squarely on the forehead. He was not amused. There was a huge wet spot on the ceiling in the garage...I resisted the urge to say, told you so. One year of water leaking...what could have been a minor issue has now turned into a major one, to the tune of thousands of dollars...of course insurance doesn't cover it...and guess what, NOW the mister is in a panic and wants me to get someone in here pronto to fix it! Just last week the mister was all up in my face with..."There's no need for anyone to come fix anything!"..."There's no way the grout is leaking!"...."Just make sure you close the door when you shower!"... but one little water drop on the forehead and he's seen the light, I mean water damage. Freak. So the trip we were planning on taking this fall? Not happening. Once again, we're getting a plumber and tile guy instead. Yippee.
This bread is said to be found in every pub and supermarket in Ireland...it's a staple. Even though this is lesser known than plain Irish soda bread, it's more delicious...it's craggy, rustic, dense, chewy and very, very good. And...there is no kneading, no rising, no yeast, so you can have it made and on the table in under and hour!
You don't even need to use a bread pan - just shape the dough and put it on a parchment lined tray - could not be easier. This is sopping bread, because it is the perfect accompaniment to any soup or stew and it can sop up the delicious remains in the bowl - thereby freeing one from having to lick the bowl. I've made this bread three times now and will shamefully admit I've eaten almost all of those three loaves! But in my defense, there is just nothing better than a slice of this bread slathered in butter while watching Judge Judy!
Irish Brown Soda and Oats Bread - Adapted From Chef Patti Jackson From a Gastropub Called The Chophouse via Edible Manhattan, October 2012
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups stone-ground whole wheat flour (make sure your flour is fresh - it makes a difference!)
2 cups rolled oats (larger flakes, if available)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 3/4 cups buttermilk (must use real buttermilk, not "home-made" with vinegar/lemon juice or the powdered kind - it makes a huge difference, trust me!)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flours, oats and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together honey, dark brown sugar, baking soda and boiling water; stir to melt. Add honey mixture and buttermilk to the flours and oats and mix well to form a sticky dough (you may need to use your hands but do not over-mix). Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then, using lightly floured hands, form into an 8 x 5-inch oblong loaf and put on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cut a long slash in the top. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with a damp towel to prevent too heavy of a crust from forming. (I personally like the crust to be crusty, so I skipped the towel bit.) Makes 1 loaf.