We love soda bread. It is really very easy to make. Don’t be put off thinking the process of making bread is hard and laborious – this one is not at all. The salty saltbush makes it so darn good hot out of the oven with lashings of butter. You could use bush tomato, wattleseed or make your own Davidson’s plum and cinnamon myrtle jam (below).
Saltbush and muntrie soda bread
340 g wholemeal self-raising flour
340 g plain flour
3 tsp ground saltbush
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Small pinch of salt
580 ml buttermilk
2/3 cup muntries
Drizzle of olive oil
2 tbsp saltbush seeds, for topping
2 sprigs of sea rosemary, finely chopped
Extra muntries, for garnish and to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Put the flours, saltbush, bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and stir. Make a well in the middle and pour in the buttermilk and muntries. Mix quickly with a fork to form a soft dough. Add more buttermilk if it’s too dry and more flour if too sticky.
Turn it out on to a floured surface and knead briefly (don’t over-knead or it will be hard as a rock). Shape it into a 30 cm loaf, flatten slightly and place on to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cut a cross in the top of the loaf, lightly brush on some oil and sprinkle the saltbush seeds and sea rosemary. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when you knock the bottom.
Davidson’s plum & cinnamon myrtle jam
Makes 1.5 litres
Another one of those combinations that just cannot be beaten is plum and cinnamon. These native plums are really tart, so if you prefer you could use half native and half common plums, such as Victoria, greengage or red, or whatever is available from your neighbourhood trees.
1 kg Davidson’s ooray or Illawarra plums
1 kg white sugar
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 tsp ground cinnamon myrtle or 4 leaves whole and crushed slightly
Wash the plums, halve them and remove the seeds. Weigh the fruit and make sure you have exactly the same amount of sugar as fruit.
Place the plums and sugar in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the lemon zest, juice and cinnamon myrtle. Heat on low, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a light rolling boil and allow to simmer for 1 hour, or until the mixture has slightly thickened.Warndu Mai (Good Food) by Rebecca Sullivan and Damien Coulthard (Hachette Australia, $45). Photograph: Hachette Australia
Test the mixture by putting a small saucer in the freezer for 1 minute. Remove from the freezer and put 1 teaspoon of jam on to the saucer. Leave for 1 minute, run your finger through the centre of the jam and if it wrinkles it’s set.
Once set, pour the jam into 4 x 250 ml sterilised jars and seal. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 2 years.
Check our resources guide for some useful places to buy from, ask your local supermarket to stock some, forage for a little (respectfully) and, better yet, grow a little too. Whether it’s a balcony or a backyard, growing herbs and greens is easier than you think.
This is an edited extract from Warndu Mai (Good Food) by Rebecca Sullivan and Damien Coulthard (Hachette Australia, $45). Next week, finger lime & lemon myrtle cheesecake