I've lived in enough student housing to be used to living with horrible kitchens. The worst was perhaps in my third year of university, the constant dampness meant I had to keep flour in my room to stop it from moulding. I still have a limited budget for renting, so I have yet to live in my own place with a kitchen I really loved. Sometimes a grudging fondness, but not loved, or even really liked. The new flat I have moved into has a kitchen with very limited space, an overzealous freezer ( the stalactites are nice to look at, but take up too much room) and a very temperamental oven. A temperamental gas oven, I should add, which means any failed attempts at turning it on fills the kitchen with terrifying, flammable gas. For my first few nights there, I struggled to get the oven to even turn on, which meant I had to do everything stove top until the landlady came round and pointed out the lever you have to pull to ignite it.
Not having an oven unsettled me. I like baking. I especially like baking in a new house to make it feel like home. There are plenty of things you can make only using the hob, but as soon as I was restricted to it, all I could think about were the things I couldn't cook, primarily bread. At least until I found the solution, and the solution was to make soda farls.
Soda farls use exactly the same dough as ordinary soda bread, but instead baking it, you cook them over a griddle on a low heat until they are cooked through. There is something lovely and old fashioned about cooking bread on a griddle, eaten straight away with butter. For some reason I only ever make them at breakfast time, possibly do to with Ulster fry associations.
To make the soda farls, simply make a quantity of the soda bread dough. Have a flat based griddle or heavy bottomed frying pan on a low heat while you are making it. Form the dough into a ball and cut into quarters. Flatten each piece slightly, to a thickness of about 2-3cm. Sprinkle flour on the bottom of the pan and gently place your uncooked farls on the bottom of the pan. Cook for 20-30 minutes, turning over halfway. They are cooked when they are dark golden on the sides and no longer doughy in the middle. They usually end up with a darker, more cooked surface than soda bread when I make them, because the oven temperature is easier to control in an oven then on a stove. But they are still very good.