Those of you who are regulars on this blog will be aware from this entry that I once appeared on Ready Steady Cook. What you may not know is that the chef I had was Paul Rankin. Now even though he accused me on national television of having a plummy voice (I disagree, i’m a bit common and northern) and made me feel a bit stupid because I didn’t know whatever herb he asked me to get from the herb garden looked like, I do like him. I like his beard and I like his Irish accent, as it happens I also liked all the food he made in 20 minutes which took me to Ready Steady Cook glory. With that in mind it seemed only right and fair that I should pick up some of his “Irish fruit soda” especially when it was in the bargain isle.
Paul has been very thoughtful as the fruit soda “is sliced for your convenience” and he has made a damn good job of it – every piece a uniform thickness – what a good start. The packet says it is “delicious fresh or toasted” now in these circumstances I always opt for toasted. The first 2 slices I tried I managed to burn, I ate them anyway, they tasted very much like burnt bread. The second 2 slices I kept a much closer eye on, they took 3 minutes and 17 seconds to get to a perfect golden brown. I spread over some butter and sank my teeth in… I have just spent the past 20 minutes writing delightful, witty and mildly sarcastic prose about this fruit soda tasting nothing like sourdough, only to realise that it isn’t sourdough so why would it? Blog fail.
So to compare Paul’s fruit soda, to soda bread would be a better comparison. When I have had soda bread in the past it has been dark, heavy with oats and a bit treacly – if that is a fair representation of soda bread, this fruit soda is about as close to soda bread as it is sourdough. That said it tasted nice. It was sweet and the plump sultanas were delicious. It had a cakey rather than bready texture and somehow managed to be simultaneously dry and moist. I am so confused right now I don’t know what more to say.
If you compare it to a sourdough, you are foolish and will be disappointed. If you compare it to a soda bread, you are less foolish but will still be disappointed. If you just want something nice to eat and don’t want to be bogged down my bread labels you are the least foolish of the lot and will probably enjoy yourself.
Paul Rankin Irish fruit soda £1.59 (£1.09 if you get it reduced)