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Smoked Salmon with Brown Soda Bread & Pickled Cucumber

Smoked Salmon, Cucumber Pickle & Brown Soda Bread

Did someone mention smoked salmon?? Oh, that’s right – I did! On Sunday and on flickr last week. Shall I let you in on a secret? I’ve discovered that Selfridge’s (in Oxford St, London) have started selling Frank Hederman’s smoked salmon from the Belvelly Smokehouse in Cork. Haven’t they always done that? Well, yes but now, it’s available not only at the Oyster and Champagne Bar as a dish, but, by the side and fillet at the, well, smoked salmon counter.

It’s not cheap, but I’ve been staying with friends for a bit and wanted to leave with a splash (decadent, moi?). Besides, it’s worth every penny and more. The texture is supple and firm with a delicate flavour and a beautiful smoky aftertaste from the beechwood chips. There’s a wonderful quote from the NY Times – Mr. Hederman smokes fish, which is a little like saying Steinway makes pianos. It’s just wonderful.

We know, I hear you roar! I blogged it when I had it in Selfridge’s last year and I mentioned it recently while in Ireland. I saw the man himself when I visited Midleton Farmer’s Market in Cork and I very much look forward to my next trip so that I can sample his smoked mackerel and smoked eel.

So, what to do with this beautiful smoked wild salmon? I prefer to keep it simple and let the smoked salmon sing. A simple accompaniment of good brown bread and cucumber pickle is all it needs – no cheeses, no cream, just the salmon, smoked with such care and attention.

The recipe for each is very straight-forward, there are more complex recipes with more delicate and elaborate flavours, but my quick, simple recipe was given to me by a friend that was a chef and it works for me. I love cucumber pickle, I love the sharp, tartness and intense sweetness of the pickle, it makes my mouth tingle, and in a very good way. As for soda bread, I grew up with it, and it’s something that I should make more often. I prefer a wholemeal soda bread, some people do half wholemeal/half white or white, but for me it’s wholemeal all the way.

This will make a large jar of cucumber pickle and a small loaf of bread. Soda bread is quite dense so it goes a long way.

Pickled Cucumber


1 cucumber – thinly sliced using a knife or a mandoline, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of white wine vinegar


Heat the vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust the flavours accordingly. Mine wasn’t tart enough so I added a tablespoon more vinegar.

Add the cucumber and refrigerate for 24 hours. It’s ready and will keep for ages, although the green of the cucumber will fade after 3 days. If you plan on keeping it for a bit it might be best to peel the cucumber before pickling.

Brown Soda Bread:


500g wholemeal flour

100g oatmeal

450ml buttermilk

1tsp salt

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

25g butter


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius.

Add the butter to the dry ingredients and blend in with your fingers.

Add the buttermilk and mix.

Turn out onto a floured baking tray and create a round about 8in in diameter (note: I made a loaf as I wanted to try a new loaf tin, but this is not traditional). Cut a deep cross in the bread.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. The bread will be cooked when, if turned upside down and tapped, it sounds hollow.

Cool on a wire tray and cover with a dry clean tea towel.

A very irish way of baking bread, I know ;-)




  1. KitchenGoddess83 says

    Oh my goodness, smoked salmon and fresh brown bread, that’s heaven on a plate isn’t it? Oh especially with a nice glass of Guinness too. Now you’ve gone making me homesick.

  2. You just cannot beat smoked salmon on brown bread. You are absolutely right – this is the best way to taste the salmon. A pretty delicate flavor shouldn’t be overpowered by heavy cheeses or creams.

    Another favorite of mine is actually smoked salmon ravioli – just toss in a little brown butter.

  3. Thanks KitchenGoddess83. Lol, I know what you mean, food often gets me like that too.

    Thanks Matt. It’s a nice pairing but your smoked salmon ravioli sounds delicious too. I have just a little bit left. I’ll be ready to give it up for a while then, I may just have gone too far!

  4. I need to go to Selfridges tomorrow anyway so I’m going to look out for this salmon at the same time! I love salmon on brown bread, it’s perfect and with the pickled cucumber it sounds perfect.

  5. Oh, Helen, I am almost jealous even thoguh I’ve just spent the best part of a week eating it! Enjoy!

  6. Wholemeal soda bread is one of those foods that is impossibly tasty compared to its health benefits – surerly nothing that yummy can be good for you?! :o) The smoked salmon looks terrific too – simple is best!

  7. Edamame – thanks! Looking forward to checking out yours.

    Jeanne – so true, it’s gorgeous. I wouold recommend you treat yourself to soem of this salmon in Selfridge’s – it’s divine!

  8. Mmm.. soda bread.. I made some today for breakfast, and my recipe is quite similar to yours. Brown bread reminds me of prawns in a maryrose sauce served with brown bread, which seemed to be on so many menus the last time I was in Ireland.

    That salmon sounds so good, and smoked eel? Even better! Will have to keep an eye out for it next time I’m in the area.

  9. sam carrick says

    Just read your blog sounds delicious.. I have found a little smokery based in shropshire that also makes amazing smoked salmon. but be warned they are usually sold out weeks in advance now thats saying something wink wink, try smoked salmon with gruyere and bagels warmed in the oven !!!! my god i need a smoke fix.

    • rollo gibbs says

      i found it ! and yes there salmon is stunning to?

  10. My mother used to make this cucumber salad, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the recipe anywhere else until now. Incredibly simple, but the result is such a great condiment.

Over to you! Your comments - I would love to hear from you :)