Kathleen Freeley was born Kathleen Beirne, in Lisacul, Ballaghaderreen, county Roscommon, Ireland. She came from a family of thirteen, eight girls and five boys. When she was a young girl, she immigrated to the states where she eventually married Patrick Freeley, who had also come from Ireland. Grandma Freeley was the kindest, most unselfish person I have ever met. As a child I remember her walking to church almost every day of the week. I also know for fact that she made the best Irish soda bread in the world, and she made it for me every week when we visited her house for dinner. Grandma passed away in 1989 while I was preparing for my BAR exams.
However, grandma Freeley's younger sister, Aidan and her younger brother, Patrick are still with us today. Aidan lives in Sligo, Ireland at St. Patrick's Convent, where she entered the sisterhood in 1932. Sister Aidan just celebrated her 100th birthday; her quote for the Sligo Champion newspaper was "I put my trust in God, took everyday as it came and helped anyone I could." The last time I remember seeing Sister Aidan was when I was about ten years old at a family reunion at my house, and of course we had Irish soda bread.
So to celebrate Sister Aidan's 100th bithday, I am sharing the secret Irish soda bread recipe of my father's mom, Kathleen Freeley:
IRISH SODA BREAD
2 cups bread flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1tbsp caraway seeds, 2 tbsp butter, 1 cup raisins, 1 egg, 1 cup buttermilk.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, sift flour,baking soda, baking powder, salt & sugar in a bowl. Stir in the caraway seeds, cut in the butter with a knife until the mix looks like coarse ground grain, stir in the raisins, beat the egg into the buttermilk, pour into center of bowl, mix in the dry ingredients and turn dough onto a lightly floured board. Knead lightly into a ball and place into a round casserole, slash the ball with an X. Brush bread with an egg beaten with 1 tbsp water. Bake 1 hour. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Let set for 10 minutes and remove from casserole onto a wire rack.
Enjoy, and Happy St.Patrick's Day!
Mark T. Freeley, Esq. - www.NorthShoreInjuryLawyer.com