Add your flour, baking powder, orange zest if using and butter into a bowl and blend together with your fingertips, gently squeezing the butter through your finger tips with the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. The blending technique using your fingertips is similar to dealing a pack of cards or “ Show me the money”
Now add your sugar and chocolate chips and mix with your hand
Make a well in the center and crack in an egg, now pour your milk (not all of it ) around the bowl and reserve about 50mls as you may not need all the liquid depending on the size of your egg
In your hand goes like a claw and blend the dough, not too rough just enough so the dough binds together, you want a soft not wet dough, too wet and your dough will spread while baking
On a lightly floured surface knead lightly the dough into a round. Think of fairy wings and delicate butterflies as you knead the dough, you need to have a light touch!! Not Miss piggy wallops!
Place on a baking tray sprinkled with flour and bake at 180 for 40 minutes.
Soak 200g Sultanas or raisins in orange juice overnight and this will plump up your fruit, then add to your soda bread.
Cranberry and white chocolate is another lovely combination. Add 100g Cranberries to your mix along with 100g white chocolate, reduce your caster sugar to 50g
Lime and coconut soda bread, add zest of two limes and 50g coconut, reduce your flour to 400g.
Dried apricots are lovely too with your dark chocolate nibs, reduce chocolate to 100g and add 100g chopped apricots (soaked juice of one orange overnight for extra bite)