Cakes & Bakes: Bonnag

Sliced, home-made bonnag | H is for Home

A couple of weeks ago, we were watching an episode of Countryfile where they visited the Isle of Man.

Flour and cubes of cold butter in a mixing bowl | H is for Home

One of the features they did from there was the annual Bonnag World Championships – which, last year, was won by 11-year-old Tom Keig.

Bonnag dough | H is for Home

Bonnag is a traditional Manx bread which, it is believed, has been around for hundreds of years. It can be ‘plain’ as I’ve made here or can be sweet with the addition of dried fruit such as currants, raisins, candied peel and mixed spice.

Loaf of home-made bonnag | H is for Home

I went in search of a recipe but could only find ones with sketchy quantities and instructions. I guessed at the consistency and wetness of the dough. I thought it would be really similar to Irish soda bread in its ingredients and method. Anyway, it turned out really well. It was delicious straight from the oven with a smearing of butter!

Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later.

Manx bonnag recipe | H is for Home

The national bread of the Isle of Man
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
  1. 450g/16oz plain flour
  2. pinch salt
  3. 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  4. 1tsp cream of tartar
  5. 60g/2oz cold butter, cubed
  6. 250g buttermilkHome-made bonnag ingredients
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  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a baking tray and set aside
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients
  4. Rub in the cubed butter and make a well in the centre
  5. Pour in the buttermilk and mix until the dough just comes together
  6. Tip the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and form it into a ball. Do not over-knead
  7. Place the ball of dough on to the greased baking tray and bake for ¾ of an hour or until the top becomes golden brown
  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Fruit and nut soda bread


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Home-made fruit and nut soda bread via @hisforhome

This week has been quite busy, so today’s Cakes & Bakes is going to reflect this – it’s a fruit and nut soda bread loaf. Soda bread is delicious. It’s not an emergency or last resort loaf, but having said that, it’s a real godsend if pushed for time.

flour and cubed butter in a mixing bowl flour, butter and buttermilk in a mixing bowl

It was my birthday on Tuesday, so I had a lovely lie-in while Justin took the dog for a walk. In the afternoon, he took me for a pub lunch locally at the Staff of Life.

Fruit and nut soda bread in a loaf tin before going into the oven

We stayed indoors during the evening but we shared a bottle of bubbly and caught up on some Scandi drama on television.

Freshly-made fruit and nut soda bread cooling on a wire rack

Yesterday, I went into Manchester city centre for yet another after-birthday lunch with a friend. Alas, after the whirlwind couple of days of being wined & dined, I’m getting back into the daily work schedule…

Cakes & Bakes: Cheese soda bread

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loaf of home made cheese soda bread | @hisforhome

Sometimes you want a lovely fresh loaf of home-made bread but you don’t always have the time for all the kneading and proving it can involve. On days like that I make a soda bread round. Bish, bash, bosh – it’s mixed, baked and ready to eat in just over half an hour.

cheese soda bread dry ingredients

I’ve not made a cheese soda bread loaf before – or even found a recipe for one anywhere – but you just know it’s one of those things that’s going to be a success!

flour with buttermilk

It’s definitely one to try!

unbaked cheese soda bread loaf

It’s lovely fresh out of the oven with a generous spread of butter. Good with pâté too – and cheese of course.

poached eggs on sliced & toasted cheese soda bread

It also makes great toast and the bread’s flavour combines very well with all kinds of breakfast ingredients – bacon, sausages, beans, mushrooms. Or one of our favourites – a simple poached egg.

Yields 4
  1. 175g/6oz plain flour
  2. 1tsp salt
  3. 15ml/1tbsp olive oil
  4. 105ml/7tbsp lukewarm waterHome-made piadina ingredients
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  1. Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl; make a well in the centre
  2. Add the oil and water to the centre of the flour and gradually mix in to form a dough
  3. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 4-5 minutes until smooth and elastic
  4. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oild cling film and leave to rest for 20 minutes
  5. Heat a griddle over a medium heat
  6. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll each into 18cm/7-inch round
  7. Cover until ready to cook
  8. Lightly oil the hot griddle, add one or two piadine and cook for about 2 minutes or until they are starting to brown
  9. Turn the piadine over and cook for a further 1-1½ minutes
  10. Serve warm
  1. If you don't have a griddle, a large heavy frying pan will work just as well
Adapted from Bread
Adapted from Bread
H is for Home Harbinger

Our Daily Bread

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home-made Irish soda bread loaf cooling on a vintage wire rack | H is for Home

It’s been a long, long time since I featured a recipe in one of our blog posts, but I just had to share this one. It was the first time that I’d made an Irish soda bread loaf and couldn’t believe how quick & easy it was!

home-made Irish soda bread with slice removed

Irish Soda Bread

Yield: 1 loaf

Irish Soda Bread


  • 225g/8oz/2 cups unbleached plain (all purpose flour)
  • 225g/8oz/2 cups wholemeal (wholewheat) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 2tsp cream of tartar
  • 40g/1½oz/3tbsp butter or lard (shortening)
  • 1tsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 350-375ml/12-13fl oz/1½-1¾ cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 5. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Sift the flour & salt into a large bowl
  2. Add the bicarbonate of soda & cream of tartar, then rub in the butter or lard. Stir in the sugar
  3. Pour in sufficient buttermilk to mix to a soft dough. Do not over-mix or the bread will be heavy & tough. Shape into a round on a lightly floured surface
  4. Place on the prepared baking sheet and mark a cross using a sharp knife, cutting deep into the dough
  5. Dust lightly with wholemeal flour and bake for 35-45 minutes or until well risen and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Serve warm

'Bread' cookery book by Christine Ingram & Jennie Shapter

I had a slice straight out of the oven, slathered with butter, topped with a fried egg, sprinkled with salt & cracked black pepper – delicious! It’s sure to become a regular H is for Home kitchen favourite!

The recipe above was taken from Bread by Christine Ingram & Jennie Shapter