Taste Scene

Michael Devlin

A holy trinity of loveliness

Gluten-free bread that doesn’t taste like muck… hurray!

Several foodie incidents of note arrived last week, developments I feel bound to share.

First off (and arguably the most exciting), the latest honey harvest took place chez the folks. My bee-keeper father has once again raised the bar in terms of helping to create – alongside his half a million bees – a premium and utterly exceptional local product (and one which I can gorge on for free). Good man.
This early in the season, the Casorna honey is wildflower based and it’s light, raw and enormously flavourful.

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Later on in the year of course, the heather honey will arrive, but that’s a different animal altogether. The connoisseurs reckon heather honey is the best of the best, but I can’t help but be enamoured with the wildflower: It holds the very essence of summer in it’s amber loveliness.

NOTE: If you require an introduction to same product drop me a line and I’ll tell you where it’s for sale. Shameless plug, I know, but I am getting my stock gratis.

Gorse beer

Secondly (and this is one for all you IPA drinkers out there), independent brewers from Co Down, Farmageddon have finally released their new Gorse IPA. And here was you thinking that gorse was only good for pyromaniacs.

I haven’t had the pleasure yet, but I have high hopes for this beer. Coming in at 6.5 per-cent, it will certainly pack a punch.

But will it capture the soul of the YELLOW hillside flowers? I’ll keep you posted.

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Gluten-free

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Thirdly (this is the big news in our house), there is finally a gluten free bread on the market which doesn’t have the texture of a sponge or the flavour of rotting mushrooms.

We’ve been up and down the gluten free breads and by now, we’ve tried the lot.

To put things mildly, they’re not the best. It’s almost surprising therefore that I was up for trying McCambridges’s Gluten Free Soda Bread at all, given the track record of other so-called breads. However…

If you’re gluten free and you’re looking for bread replacement that doesn’t taste like muck, your life is about to change for the better.

A Gold Award winner from the Free From Food Awards, McCambridges’s Gluten Free Soda Bread is so good, it’s unbelievable.

If you’re a fan – erstwhile or otherwise – of wheaten bread, then you’ll love this stuff. To be perfectly honest, this is more
like wheaten bread than it is soda bread; it has that dense texture whose aromas come alive when toasted.

I suppose it might be a bit of a misnomer to call a gluten free product a wheaten loaf, when there’s no wheat in sight.

Oatmeal is the primary ingredient.

The last loaf I purchased was in Supervalu in Donegal Town and for a while I haven’t been able to buy any in the North, although I see Centra are now stocking it.

Baking kit

But when I couldn’t buy any, I visited the McCambridge website and lo and behold, you can have the baking kit posted out! Another shameless plug but in this case McCambridges’s Gluten Free Soda Bread is a real game-changer for coeliacs.

I ordered a box of six (each kit comes with a aluminium tin for added handiness) and even the first attempt resulted in near-perfection. After some trial and not-so-much error, I have also discovered that using buttermilk as the lubricant works best for maximum flavour.

Last week, after I’d baked my third loaf, I tried a few slices toasted and topped with cold water prawns in marie rose sauce and a selection of veg as a kind of open prawn sandwich. It blew my proverbial socks clean off.

I’ve also had it (umpteen times by now) with real butter and some of Kieran’s Casorna Wildflower Honey: Socks = blown.
Now all I have to do is figure out a recipe whereby I’m using McCambridges’s exceptional Gluten Free Soda Bread, this year’s honey and that Gorse IPA all at once.

Wish me luck!

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