Sausage, Sage & Leek Soda Farls and Some Snapshots from St Patrick’s Day, London

It was St Patrick’s Day this week, and I hope you all had a good one. I love this day, it is a simple celebration of everything that it means to be Irish, and a chance to stop, take stock and spend time with Irish friends and quell any feelings of homesickness. I still feel as I did when as a child when I would be putting on my green and white jumper which a baby sitter had knitted for me, and when visiting my granny’s house to be pinned with soggy shamrock, which would make me feel bright and excited.

Chef John Relihan with Irish pork and beef smoking low and slow over turf, at the Bord Bia St Patrick’s Day food market in Trafalgar Square

St Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland, but in London the celebrations are the Sunday before. They are quite large with a parade that finishes at a stage in Trafalgar Square where selected Irish bands play throughout the day, and where there is an Irish food market. There are thousands of people watching, from everywhere. I always find it really positive and fun and pop down when I am in town for it.

St Patrick’s Day Celebrations in London, 2016

The internet positively erupts with Irish recipes this time every year. I love seeing the world embrace and celebrate our culture. We are a small island but with a large global footprint following centuries of emigration and chatter. We love to talk. There are many posts of Irish stew and beef & guinness stew, and these are two I should share my versions of at some time (it seems strange that I haven’t!). Today I want to share a recipe for my take on an Irish breakfast bread, a twist on the humble soda farl.

Dublin Bay Prawns at Corrigan's Mayfair for St Patrick's Day breakfast

Dublin Bay Prawns at Corrigan’s Mayfair for St Patrick’s Day breakfast

Irish smoked salmon at Corrigan's Mayfair for St Patrick's Day breakfast

Irish smoked salmon at Corrigan’s Mayfair for St Patrick’s Day breakfast

You know soda bread, I am sure. A simple flour and buttermilk bread using bicarbonate of soda as a raising agent. The acidity of the buttermilk activates the soda and fluffs the bread. Buttermilk isn’t always available here, in Ireland you can get it by the litre almost everywhere as it is a large part of our cooking culture. When I don’t have it, I substitute it with whole milk and lemon or whole milk and yogurt which gives enough acidity and creaminess and results in a still excellent bread.

A simple Irish breakfast bread, soda farls are simply soda bread that is flattened in a circle, and cut into wedges and fried instead of baked. I love to have these to dip into runny eggs. I like to fill these on occasion, and this morning I added some softened leek, Italian sausage and fresh sage. I make the dough first and then I add the fried sausage, leek and sage, weaving it in.

These are speedy and very tasty, and a little bit different too. If you are vegetarian, try coarsely mixing in some goat’s cheese with the leeks and sage, or another cheese of your choice. If you are dairy free, substitute any milk substitute, and include lemon to wake the soda up.


(The recipe follows below)

From the archives:

Another Irish bread recipe: the Blaa from Waterford. My story of tracing it through emigration from Waterford to Newfoundland and a recipe for you to make it at home. It is a wonderful fluffy roll – give them a go! 

Links I loved this week: 

Homemade Corned Beef from David Lebovitz

A Sardinian Hare Stew with a gorgeous illustration, lovely travel story, recipe and photos from Ailbhe at Simply Splendiferous

Dobradinha, a Brazilian tripe stew recipe from Rosana at Hot & Chilli

Tartiflette – an Alpine treat from Jeanne at Cooksister

Retsina braised shoulder of goat with whipped feta from Helen at Food Stories

A Speedy Irish Breakfast Bread: Sausage, Sage & Leek Soda Farls
Rate this recipe
4 ratings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

A Speedy Irish Breakfast Bread: Sausage, Sage & Leek Soda Farls

Sausage & Sage Soda Farls


  • 325g wholemeal flour plus a little extra for shaping
  • 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 25g butter
  • 225ml buttermilk or 200ml milk and 25ml natural yogurt or fresh lemon juice
  • 175g good sausage (2-3) chopped into small chunks
  • 1 leek
  • 1 tsbp chopped fresh sage leaves
  • a little butter and light oil for frying


  • Slice the leek finely and saute in a little butter and oil until soft over a medium heat (about 6 minutes). Add the sausage and fry until cooked through. Add the sage for the last minute.
  • Now for the farls. These are very easy, you just need to use your hands. Put the flour, salt and the soda in a large bowl, ensuring there are now lumps in the soda (which will result in holes in your bread). Just squish them out with your fingers or through a sieve. Add the butter and mix through with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the milk and form a dough. Add the sausage and leek mixture and mix through well.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and flatten onto a circle. Cut into 8 triangles by cutting into halves and then further into quarters and eighths.
  • Heat a little butter and oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the farls over a low heat for about 10 minutes on each side so that they cook right through.
  • Serve hot, and with butter if you fancy it. Or just dip them into some lovely runny eggs.
  • Enjoy!




    Written by Niamh
    Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.