Advent, Day 16: Tara’s Bread & Teresa’s Meringues

In our house, everything has an owner. Paul’s press, John’s bed, Granny Ryan’s armchair… you get the gist… none of the owners actually live with us, some have even passed away, but they are things we have inherited over the past decade and a bit, all well used, and all well loved.

The same is true for my recipes, I have to admit there is hardly an original one that I created myself in my entire repetoire; apple-tarts (my mothers), fruit cake (Mary’s), curry (Olivia’s), and todays fare: brown bread (Tara- of the beautiful kitchen, fellow crafter, painter, wife of Pat the batman, an old, old friend from as early as I can remember, (and, whose birthday, for an all time low of 5 years in a row I have mixed up the date), who happened to move a short distance away, and Teresa’s daughter (see next on the agenda)); and meringues (Teresa- who showed me how to make these when I was about 8 in her kitchen, mother to Tara, and apple orchard owner who, supplies us with baskets of apples every autumn (where my mothers apple-tarts come in handy))


Anyway, I was given 8 dozen duck eggs yesterday and wanted to make something when I had an abundance of eggs. We had friends coming for lunch too, so I decided to make some of Tara’s bread (and some other lesser items to go along with it) and Teresa’s meringues for dessert. 

This bread is so easy and completely addictive- we have been known to eat a whole loaf and a whole pot of jam in one sitting 🙂

Tara’s Brown Bread

You mix 1 lb of flour- approx. 4oz of plain flour and 12oz of coarse wholemeal (or whatever proportion you like to make up the 1 lb)

1 heaped tsp of bread soda

1 tsp salt

Add in- sunflower seeds

pumpkin seeds


sesame seeds (or whatever you have)

A bit of wheatgerm or bran (or both!)

1 egg mixed with about 500ml of buttermilk


Mix and spoon into 2 lb tin, sprinkle nice things on top (like poppy seeds) 

Bake for 45-50 min at 180’C.

Enjoy with butter (real stuff, not from a packet), and jam (cheese is good too!!!)

Teresa’s Meringues

4 egg whites

8 oz sugar

Make sure your bowl and whisk are spotless, and that not a speck of yolk gets into the whites (I separate the eggs over a bowl first)

Whisk at high speed until the mix is completely stiff (so much so that you could turn the bowl upside down and it won’t fall out)

Scoop a spoon of mixture in little blobs the size of a golfball on parchment/baking paper. Bake in a hot oven, which you turn down to approx 100’C as soon as they go in. Bake for 45 mins to an hour.

To serve: Cream is necessary, and none of that pretend foamy spray-can stuff. Double and organic, preferably.

Fruit (yes, sacrilege, I know, using a tin of fruit but it is Ireland in December)

Grated chocolate.

Lock any children in the dungeon/ cupboard/ out of sight; load up a large bowl and gobble it all greedily, beyond caring that flecks of cream and meringues are stuck to your chin.