Our Irish-Themed X Factor Evening and a Recipe for Irish Soda Bread.

Our Irish-Themed X Factor Evening and a Recipe for Irish Soda Bread.

IMG_8872A couple of days ago I wrote about our #NewThings challenge, explaining that we had tested out Guiness for the first time by making a Beef and Guiness Stew. What I didn’t tell you was that we combined it with a bit of an Irish-themed X Factor evening in celebration of the longest-serving Judge, Louis Walsh.

X Factor becomes part of our family staple viewing over the weekends during the winter months. There is nothing I love more than sitting down in front of the TV with Ross and Grace and our evening meal ready to offer our own critique on the singers! Ross is the harshest critic with rather a lot to say about the performer. Grace and I tend to be a little more laid back about the whole affair.


I think the thing that makes us really laugh is the Judges and, in particular, Louis. These are just some of the sayings that he always seems to come out with:

  • YOU are the one to beat in this competition
  • You’ve got so much soul
  • You remind me of a young (insert relevant singer/band here!)
  • You look like a pop star, you sound like a pop star
  • You are what this show is about (although we think the Judges take that one in turn)

Louis has now been a Judge on X Factor for 11 years! He has seen them all come and go. He managed Johnny Logan, Westlife and Boyzone and won the second series of X Factor when he mentored Shayne Ward. He very nearly lost his seat back in 2007 until Simon Cowell suddenly decided to re-hire him.


On Sunday evening we sat down with our Beef and Guiness Stew, together with some home-made soda bread. Here is the recipe, courtesy of my Mum:

Irish Soda Bread
Serves 6
An easy to make soda bread recipe.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
55 min
  1. 170g/6oz self-raising wholemeal flour (or plain wholemeal flour)
  2. 170g/6oz plain flour (or self-raising flour)
  3. Half a teaspoon sat
  4. Half a teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  5. 290ml/half a pint buttermilk
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas mark 6.
  2. Tip the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir.
  3. Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk, mixing quickly with a large fork to form a soft dough (it should not be too wet or sticky).
  4. Knead on a lightly floured surface.
  5. Form in to a round and flatten the dough slightly before placing on a lightly floured baking sheet
  6. Cut a cross on the top and bake for around 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
  7. Cool on a wire rack. Best served with Irish stew!
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 So, after watching on Sunday, who are our initial favourites? Well, I can certainly tell you that the people who have made an impression in our house so far are Overload (loved their No,No,No song!), Jay Jones and Andrea Faustini – his rendition of ‘Try a Little Tenderness’ was simply stunning. Can’t wait for Judge’s houses, and I don’t mind betting that we will be off to Ireland again with Louis! 


 Disclosure: The lovely people at BetFair sent us a £75 voucher to cover the cost of our X Factor evening meal. Please note all words, images and opinions are our own and none of our opinions have been influenced.

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