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Monday, 4 April 2011

Thank Goodness For Guinness

This was a day of Guinness based recipes.

I have always been intrigued by the idea of chocolate Guinness cake a go, and when we decided to bake our wonderful pal Jan a cake for his 21st birthday this cake seemed appropriate as the recipe on Gizzi Erskine's website describes it as one for the boys.

What you need

250ml Guinness (just over half a can!)
250g unsalted butter, cubed
100g good quality plain chocolate (at least 70%)
35g cocoa
400g caster sugar
1 x 142ml pot plain yoghurt
2 free range eggs
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

for the topping

300g full fat cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125ml double or whipping cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Butter and line a 23cm springform tin.
  3. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, and heat until the butter has melted, at which time you should stir in the chocolate, cocoa and sugar.
  4. Beat the yoghurt with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the chocolatey, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake. (I left our one overnight to cool.)
  6. To make the topping whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Separately whip the cream until it just begins to thicken but still holds it shape. Pour the cream to the cream cheese mix and beat again until combined and reaches a spreadable consistency.

I was so pleased with how this cake turned out, moist, sticky and rich. What I like most is that it's not overly chocolaty, and the Guinness tang is not over powering either, making it a nice alternative to your average chocolate cake.

And that's not where the Guinness fun stops!

Next up, I was deciding on a food based gift for my Ma for Mother's Day. Without too much thought I decided to look up an old Anthony Worrall Thompson recipe for Steak and Guinness Pie (with black pudding).

This recipe is meant to serve 4-6, but I would say it serves 4 but only if your rocking a good side side aswell.

What you need

1.5kg (3lbs ½oz) chuck steak, cut in pieces
40g (1½oz) seasoned flour
55g (2oz) dripping or lard
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tsps sea salt
3 tsps dried oregano
1 tsp soft thyme leaves
7 garlic cloves, peeled
125 (4oz) soft dark muscovado sugar
1 tbsp of good olive oil
25g (1oz) unsalted butter
2 onions, peeled and chopped
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
18 stoned prunes
1x440ml can of Guinness
1 block of shop-bought puff pastry
2 egg yolks for glazing

  1. Brown the meat all over in hot dripping and set aside to cool.
  2. In a food processor, blend together the peppercorns, salt, oregano, thyme, garlic and sugar until you have a fine paste. If it appears too dry, add a little water.
  3. Coat the beef all over with the paste, cover and refrigerate overnight, turning the meat from time to time.
  4. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/ gas 2. In a heavy casserole dish, heat the butter and oil until foaming, add the onions and fry them until they take on a little colour. Sprinkle with the flour and stir to combine.
  5. Add the beef and any marinade in the dish.
  6. Add the sage, prunes and Guinness, stir to combine and bring to the boil, cover and put in the oven for 2½-3 hours.
  7. Remove from the oven.
  8. Place the mixture in a pie dish then cover with puff pastry, glaze with the egg and decorate. Bake in a 180°C/ 350°F/gas 4 oven for 40-50 minutes, until the pastry is cooked and the filling is hot.

I skipped the last part of the recipe and gave the pie to my Ma ready to glaze with an egg and pop in the oven and eat at home.

I served this with a Stilton champ firstly because I thought the sharp creamy flavour of the Stilton would complement the sticky sweet muscavado and prune based gravy in the pie, and secondly I added spring onions to the mash to keep to the Irish theme.

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