The Monday Make: St Patrick’s Day Freckle bread

Mondays can go in one of two directions, depending on how well planned out we are for starting the week.  To keep some consistency laid out for the beginning of each week, I’ve added The Monday Make as part of our routine to kick start the week of snacks off better.  I find when there are snacks made and available in the house for those in-between meal hours, everyone stays content (for the most part.)  And I always welcome suggestions so forward your own recipes and we’ll add them to our baking sessions and post them, making sure we give credit where it’s due.

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A few years ago I held a St. Patrick’s Day celebration with some dear friends down south.  I awoke that morning all upset by the darkness from the thunderstorm clouds looming over us.  We had a morning of torrential downpour with much thunder and lightening. But by noon the storm had passed and the fresh smell of spring was in the air, the grass thankful for the drink, and of course by then my thoughts were on how thankful I was for the kind of spring mum always described in the Emerald Isle, land of our roots. Living in middle TN afforded much of the same kinds of lengthy, lush springs, with crocuses narcissus and daffodils sometimes popping up in February.

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Our eldest took to map-making in this time period in her life, and was a fitting addition for our mantle display of artwork for St. Patrick’s Day.

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Our youngest added a bunch of girls taking Patrick away as a slave.  I’m not sure where I went wrong in the reading of his life story?

And our boy was too taken up with Napoleon (19th C!) and cannons (an invention over the course of a few hundred years starting in the 12th C, but certainly NOT the 5th!) to be concerned with altering the story with his own rendition of who captured St. Patrick and how the story played out for real.  We had to let the history of it go though, since art isn’t art for a ten year old boy unless there are swords and cannons (and Napoleon) involved.

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Our guests were (and still are last I checked) musically inclined, to say the least.  Right down to the youngest of these six children, they have learned to sing, play instruments, and just be in front of people on a regular basis in their routine of life.  It was a great pleasure to relax together and share a little Irish music, which often takes the form of a sweet, sorrowful tale.

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And because this was a few years ago, I can only remember (and only because I used my eldest’s brain for my remembering) that my twins both played harp and piano versions of When Irish Eyes are Smiling as their pieces for the afternoon performance.

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Okay, is this not the dearest Irish outfit you’ve set your eyes on?! This cute red tartan was purchased in Ireland when a family member visited the Emerald Isle.

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We made sure we featured both English and Irish cheeses since St. Patrick is actually from England, though a slave in Ireland as a young lad. And we couldn’t forget the Brie…because our guests were partial to fromage de France.

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I keep looking at these pics and find it hard to believe I used to sit outside on the deck in March!

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And though my craft pic of a wire, bead, and ribbon St Patrick Day bookmark is quite blurry, I still thought I’d add it to let you in on a very easy craft to add to your St Patrick Day celebrations, and one you can insert in the book below, from the time of  Bishop St. Patrick landing in Ireland with his followers.

If any of you are interested in a good living history read for this time period we read Flame Over Tara by Madeleine Polland taking place in the time of St. Patrick’s mission to Ireland, where a young girl, Macha, daughter to High King Leary, is drawn by the words and warmth of the newly arrived St. Patrick.

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Even though St. Patrick was from England, not Ireland–and maybe I should be featuring Yorkshire Pudding instead for our Monday Make–I will yet go ahead and feature the Irish Freckle Bread since the whole point is that this once captive and slave of Ireland as a lad, who since escaped, only to turn missionary and head back to the land of the Druids on the Emerald Isle, is a celebrated Saint in Ireland, and world-wide of course, for this mission that seemed rather an impossible feat, having only a handful of followers in the going.

And what’s neat is, this very family you see in the above pics were to be who we were pulling up a chair with , setting the kettle to boil, and having a wee cup o tea together on this very celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday March 17, 2015, three years to the day we made memories of this occasion together.  However, in our life and Lenten experiences of slowing down, we’ve had to adjust our calendar, our energies, and our devotion to a few loving necessities here on our home turf.  Another time, dear friends.  For now, won’t ye pull up that chair and set the kettle to boil and join us from where ye are, in what we’ll call a long distance wee cup o tea and slice of Irish Freckle bread together?

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Irish Freckle Bread:

3 3/4 C All purpose flour

1/4 C brown sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 C dried currants, raisins, or dried cranberries

2 C buttermilk

1 egg

-375 F

-mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.

-add currants; mix well

-mix milk and egg in a bowl

-milk into flour until blended

-dough will be soft; knead 10 mins.

-shape into one large round loaf

-cut a shallow X into the top  (allows bread to expand over instead of crack)

50-55 mins

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