Contact Us

Visit us at one of our three store locations to find Irish Jewelry, Claddagh Rings, Irish Sweaters, Irish Foods, Guinness Products, Waterford and Belleek.

Call us at one of the numbers below or use the accompanying form to contact us.

The Irish Boutique - Long Grove, IL (847 634 3540)

Paddy's on the Square - Long Grove, IL (847 634 0339)

The Irish Boutique - Crystal Lake, IL (815 459 1800)

 

847 634 0339

The Irish Boutique is an Irish import store that has been located in the Chicago land area for over 40 years.  The shop stocks a variety of products ranging from Irish jewelry, crystal, china, food, sweaters, caps, t-shirts and a wide variety of Irish gifts. 

Cooking Blog

Visit our blog to read about Michelle Barry's adventures in cooking and eating Irish cuisine and to learn about new products and upcoming events. 

 

Filtering by Category: Quick

Boutique Bake Brown Bread Mix

john barry

Brown Bread

Hello there! It’s been way too long. I know we’ve been cooking at our house because somehow food keeps appearing on the table at dinner time.  I’m just not quite sure what or how. Sound familiar? Because it is STILL winter here, and I’ve still got napping little ones, I’ve taken to making soup from the weeks leftovers on Sunday afternoons. I’m kind of loving this little ritual.  The relative quiet. Doing something with my hands. Letting my mind wander. Giving my sense of smell, taste and feel something to do other than sit on the sidelines as they do for most of the week. I enjoy it without any of the guilt I associate with sitting on the couch and watching netflix or shopping online or any of the other things (that I also enjoy!) that I could be doing with my Sunday afternoons.

Not that I should feel guilty for any of it, just that, honestly, I do. I blame my Dad (as wonderful and amazing as he is. Hi Dad!).  When I was a kid, my dad would walk in the room and immediately observe his surroundings.  If he saw that you weren’t engaged in something “productive” - reading, homework, cleaning etc. he would blurt out “What are you doing!?!” with urgency and more than a little distress. I would have instant regret at my foolishness for relaxing so openly.  It’s hard to tell whether it nature or nurture - and it’s surely both - but as I grew older, I internalized this sense of “What are you doing!?!” to the point where I say it to myself constantly. Having kids, and no free time has definitely toned down that voice in my head, but it is always there, somewhere. As much as it drives me crazy, I appreciate it too.  For the fact that it drives me. Even if it’s just to make soup.

My Sunday soup ritual does not involve any recipes.  Just throwing leftovers into a pot with stock really. But I have been supplementing the soup with some great  breads and bread mixes from Paddy’s on the Square. Like me, the kids love brown bread and using a mix makes it so easy.  I can make the soup and bake bread all at the same time. And if we don’t eat the soup and bread for dinner, I take the soup with me to work for weekday lunches and we enjoy the bread as toast in the mornings.

A couple of weeks ago, I made this Brown Bread mix from a Company called Boutique Bake.  It was beyond easy to throw together and came with this nice little packet of seed mix to throw on top of the loaf for even more texture and flavor.  We loved this bread. The only downside was how fast this loaf went at our house.

*Serves 12 should be taken with a grain of salt. It took 10 minutes for my clan of 6 to finish this off.

*Serves 12 should be taken with a grain of salt. It took 10 minutes for my clan of 6 to finish this off.

Just add milk…

Just add milk…

one egg…

one egg…

and the crunchy seed topping. Then your work is done. Put it in the oven.

and the crunchy seed topping. Then your work is done. Put it in the oven.

Your only remaining job is to slather it with Irish butter and eat. Now, RELAX. You can do it!

 Donegal Oatcakes and Tomato-Rosemary Jam

john barry

IMG_20180207_122833.jpg

I’ve been home most of this week with FOUR sick kids.  I’m only just getting used to having four children, let alone sick ones.   It’s been snowy and cold here, so if there is a time to be taking care of sick little ones and baking, that time is now.  

This whole cold, snowy weather, sick kids thing could really be a bummer, and while I hate that the kids are off their game, I’m feeling fortunate that it’s not this nasty flu everyone else is getting.  Also, since I’m on maternity leave, I can be here to take care of them.  And do what I would probably be doing anyway: Bake.

It’s funny how I think most people who know me would say that I’m an extrovert, outgoing, social and talkative (“excessive talking” was the comment I would get from every single teacher on my elementary school report cards).  I’m all of those things, but I’m also a homebody to the core. I can go days, weeks even, without leaving the house. I always have a list of projects I want to tackle and it’s so easy for me to just get lost in one or a few of them.  When I’m focused, I don’t notice the hours or days go by.  Paul tells me that he can identify the look in my face when I’m “in the zone” and he knows to just get out of the way. Haha.

My point is, that for me, being snowed in with sick littles isn’t so bad. It’s an opportunity for me to get things done around the house, including trying some recipes I’ve had on my list.  So, once again, I find myself cooking comfort food from the pantry.

IMG_20180207_123006.jpg

I’ve been wanting to try this simple recipe for Donegal Oatcakes by Darina Allen for ages.  When I surveyed the contents of our fridge and saw tomato-rosemary jam, a by-product of Paul and I both buying grape tomatoes on the same day, I thought it would complement these oatcakes perfectly. Well, as it turns out, I was right. These were nutty and homey and another easy and delicious way to use my favorite Irish flour. They are also great with fruit jam and clotted cream, creme fraiche, or greek yogurt.  They can be taken in the direction of dessert with a generous swipe of nutella - sort of like an oaty, nutty, chocolate digestive. With just five ingredients, and a little time, they couldn't be easier to make.

Put the kettle on.

Donegal Oatcakes

  • 1 cup stone-ground oatmeal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter or lard, cubed and chilled, plus butter for serving (optional)
  • 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1⁄2 cup boiling water

Tomato- RosemaryJam

20180207_111147_001.jpg
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅓ to ½ cup of sugar

For tomato jam:

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer until tomatoes cook down and the mixture reaches a thick, jammy consistency, about 1 hour.  Remove rosemary sprig, its ok to leave some whole leaves that have fallen off in the jam. Serve with oatcakes, brown bread, on a grilled cheese or even with chicken, fish or pork.  

For oatcakes:

Add oats, flour, butter and salt to food processor and pulse until butter is in pea-sized clumps.

IMG_20180207_100005.jpg

Drizzle in boiling water until dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a ½” thick square.  Place a kitchen towel over the top and let sit to dry out for about an hour.

I rolled the dough out between the parchment I baked them on and a sheet of saran wrap. 

I rolled the dough out between the parchment I baked them on and a sheet of saran wrap. 

Preheat oven to 250F.  You can cut the cakes out with a biscuit cutter and gather and reuse the scraps or just cut them into squares as I did.

With this approach, they don't look identical (unless you rolled them out in a perfect rectangle) but I don't mind the "rustic" look.

With this approach, they don't look identical (unless you rolled them out in a perfect rectangle) but I don't mind the "rustic" look.

Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and bake, flipping once, until golden and slightly crisp, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature with butter (or Irish cheddar) and tomato jam.

It's tough to tell from the photo but these did brown slighty on both sides.  They are crisp on the outside and a soft on the inside. 

It's tough to tell from the photo but these did brown slighty on both sides.  They are crisp on the outside and a soft on the inside. 

These last about 1 week in an airtight container.

Hargadon’s Brown Bread

john barry

IMG_20180201_130645.jpg

 

I made my own soda bread awhile back and it was brilliant. I was amazed that something so simple and easy to make could be so delicious. Then I made it with Odlum’s coarse wholemeal flour.  Predictably, it was even better.

I used a recipe that was given to my brother-in-law by a customer.  The recipe included her personal baking notes. I followed the recipe as altered by the notes.  Except that I didn’t bake it in a loaf pan because I was hungry and thought that it would be done quicker if I just shaped and baked it on a sheet pan. It still took 45 minutes but it was so worth it.  It reminded me why most soda bread in Ireland is made from this type of flour. More flavor, better texture.  Although not traditional, I sprinkled the loaf with poppy seeds before putting it in the oven.  

Once the bread was done, I immediately ate a huge hunk for lunch along with some Irish cheddar, a hard boiled egg and some tomato jam. It was the perfect simple lunch. I ate some later with peach-apricot jam from this little gem right across the way from Paddy's, creme fraiche and a cup of tea.  

brownsodabread.jpg

Of course I had to look up Hargadon’s after tasting this bread credited to it.  According to www.goodfoodireland.ie

 Back in the mid 1800’s, when this pub first opened, Hargadons was a well-loved, local hostelry with a truly unique quality. Despite the prevalence of music bars and the myriad traditional musicians in the country, Hargadons remained a ‘quiet’ bar, devoid of music and dedicated to its position as a genuine sanctuary. This policy remained in situ until fairly recent times and despite it being relaxed in the last years, it remains free of television and devoted to conversation, story telling and of course good food. The pub has been at the heart of Sligo life for over one hundred and fifty years and despite being closed for some of them, has recently returned to its rightful place, close to the heart of Sligo folk and visitors. 

It sounds like the kind of place where this bread must have originated.

If you are baking this, you must make sure to preheat your oven before you start to get your ingredients together.  This bread comes together so fast that if you don’t, you will be waiting for your oven - not the worst problem to have.

Hargadon’s Brown Bread  

  • 3 cups coarse wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 375F.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Beat the eggs and the buttermilk together in a small bowl.

Create a well in your dry ingredients and pour the buttermilk-egg mixture in.

Using a wooden spoon, or your hands (I found it was easiest to use my hands and that no additional buttermilk was necessary) mix the dry and wet ingredients until no dry flour remains.

Shape the dough into a round on a greased sheet pan and cut an X across the top. The X should go about ⅔ of the way deep into the loaf.

Top with poppy seeds (optional).

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cut off a hot slice, slather with salted butter and enjoy.

My lunch date. She's getting so big and talkative. 

My lunch date. She's getting so big and talkative.