Today is ANZAC Day in Australia. It’s a day we stop to honour the many brave men and women who gave so much for our country during battle. This morning my husband and I joined the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Remembrance for the dawn service. We heard heroic stories of young men and women, past and present; as the sun began its slow ascent, eventually revealing the dark silhouettes of the thousands who had assembled.
These heroic men and women of our Defence Force inspired me to share a very special recipe with you. A childhood favourite, this hearty, rustic loaf is one of Margaret Fulton’s classics, and is ideal for our chilly Autumn ANZAC Day, in more ways than one.
Although the original recipe has always included rosemary (remembrance) and parsley (energy); in my adapted recipe below, I have also added thyme. Considered a symbol of strength and courage for centuries, Roman soldiers would add thyme to their bathwater before battles for this very reason.
According to Fulton, this bread is best enjoyed with ‘plenty of chilled butter and a sharp cheddar cheese’, but I’d have to say that sharing it with friends and family, while raising a glass to our country’s heroes definitely completes the experience.
Margaret Fulton’s Rosemary Soda Bread
2 cups wholemeal flower
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 Tbs chopped chives
1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 190C. Sift flours, salt, sugar, soda and baking powder into a large bowl. Rub in butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in herbs, then buttermilk.
Place on a greased baking tray and, with floured hands, form into a 20cm round loaf. Using a sharp, floured knife, cut a cross 1cm deep in the top. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped on bottom. Serve warm or at room temperature, sliced.