I spent all my time today making Guinness cakes and Peppermint Shortbread that I didn’t actually consider what I would have for supper. Upon checking the fridge and freezer, I realized there were slim pickings, and as hubby was away in the car to training I wasn’t able to go out and pick something up from the shops. I resorted to a lone Quorn Escalope that was squashed in the back of the freezer looking quite pathetic. Waste not, want not I suppose [ face scrunches up]. Luckily for hubby he gets his meal at the club tonight. Although I would love to have seen his face if I presented him with a meat-free escalope. Must be the evil wife in me! Hahaha [I can even do the evil laugh].
We also had potatoes and cabbage, so given that it was St Patricks day and I was on a bit of an Irish high from all the baking, I decided to combine the two and make yummy Colcannon. This is such an easy,comforting and creamy side dish.
3 x Potatoes peeled and cut into quarters, 1/4 small January King Cabbage ( or any cabbage you have or you could use Kale) chopped . You can add more or less Cabbage as per your own preference. About 2 tablespoons butter, about 80 grams of cream cheese or you could use milk instead and some salt and pepper. I tend to estimate the quantities of butter and cream cheese or milk.
Boil the potatoes and cabbage in separate pans until soft. Drain, and in the pan with the potatoes, add the butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper then mash together. Taste and if required add more seasonings or cream cheese. Then add the cabbage to the potatoes and mix well. Then Serve and enjoy, preferably not along with a scabby Quorn Escalope!
I’m not Irish myself, but hubbies family have vague Irish roots, with his great grandfather ( he thinks, he can’t remember how any Greats!) migrating to Scotland back in the day. Although, not much is known about the family history in Ireland or even about possible existing family members on the old Emerald Isle. Doesn’t stop him being the brunt of my Irish jokes though!
Its always fun to celebrate this day, the Irish certainly know how to party and in my younger University days we would head to the nearest Irish pub for some drink, music, dancing and overall good craic. I would often come home with green glasses, leprechaun hats and Shamrock headpieces. Nowadays its more sedate, with baking or cooking an Irish dish or Irish inspired dish.
I made Guinness Cake not that long ago, however hubby wanted this again as he loves this cake, could have something to do with the alcohol! Definitely Irish in his blood, well to be honest that could also be the Scottish part of him too! Instead of making a 9 inch cake I poured the batter into muffin cases to make wee Guinness cakes/ muffins. In a preheated oven (180 C ) bake for 18 minutes or until skewer came out clean. I also used fairy cake cases , which were smaller than the muffin cases and took 15 minutes to bake. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tins then remove and place on cooling rack. Once completely cool, use the same recipe for frosting a 9 inch Guinness cake.
Apparently 13 million pints of Guinness will be consumed today, wonder how many Guinness cakes will be eaten?
Yummy, foamy half pint of guiness!
I also decided to make some Peppermint Shortbread Slices, purely because of the gorgeous green colour, which I thought was very appropriate for St Patricks day.
Base Layer– 125 grams softened butter, 175 grams self raising flour, 50 grams caster sugar- this is the base I use for millionaire shortbread.
Mint Layer-114 grams margarine or softened butter, 300 grams powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk or water or even cream, 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract and couple of drops of green food colouring ( will depend of what shade of green you are going for). I like a thick gooey mint layer, but if you don’t then you could reduce the recipe measurements.
Topping– 60 grams of butter and 100 grams of milk cooking chocolate ( more or less depending on your love of chocolate, as long as it covers the mix). Dark chocolate is also delicious with the mint.
For the base, preheat oven to 190° C. Mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sieve the flour and then mix into the butter/ sugar. Press this into a greased baking tray (I used a 10 x 7 tray) and place in oven for 12 minutes until golden. Leave to cool.
Please ignore my tiny yet scary hand!
Alternatively, you could use a digestive or graham cracker and butter base, like you would for cheese cake. Or crushed cornflakes with self raising flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar and melted butter mixed together and baked in the oven. This is apparently the traditional Scottish way of making peppermint slices, not really sure they is anything traditional about it! A brownie base would work well too.
For the Mint frosting layer, I use Margarine as I cannot get the butter soft enough so when mixed with icing sugar it actually becomes smooth. I always end up with butter lumps! #bakingproblems #Firstworldproblems #toooldtoohashtag
However,you can use butter if this is your preference, just make sure its softened. Mix the Margarine, powdered sugar, milk or water or cream ( what ever you are using), peppermint extract and food colouring together until smooth and consistent colour. Scrape down the edges of the bowl as you go to make sure all combined.
Pour the gloriously green mint mixture over the top of your base, smooth and then place in fridge to set. It is imperative to ” test” the green mint mixture, cos nothing that colour could taste good, so scrape the mixing bowl clean to satisfy yourself that is fit for human consumption! Nom, nom , nom, nom……….
Melt the butter and the chocolate over a bain-marie. Pour over the top of the mint mixture and leave to set. When pouring over, work quick to smooth the chocolate evenly as the mint layer is cold so the chocolate will start to harden quicker. Once set, cut into squares. The base crumbled slightly when cut from the tin. In the future, I would line the tin with grease proof paper to see if this helped. The slices are best kept in the fridge, as you can probably see from the photos they are a bit gooey. It’s not the most perfect cake, it’s gooey, crumbly and you will require a plate, but it tastes delicious.
Happy St Patricks Day and may the luck of the Irish be with you!
My hubbie and I don’t tend to celebrate Valentines day, and we rarely get each other cards and prezzies or go out for a romantic meal. We figure we can go out any other time of the year, and we don’t need a specific day to tell each other , ” I love you”.
However, this year I did ask what my hubbie wanted for supper and said I would do all the cooking. So he decided on Pulled Pork, Crash Potatoes, Broccoli and Cauliflower bake followed by Guinness Cake. I had never made Pulled Pork or Guiness cake before so this was going to be interesting. I’m not that confident in cooking large cuts of meat, but here we go….
I used a recipe by Pioneer Woman for Spicy Dr Pepper Pulled Pork. However, I could not get a hold of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce at short notice ( I noted that you can buy this on Amazon however it would not have been delivered on time) and I trawled the internet looking for substitutes and was not really happy with substitute suggestions I found. So I decided to see what my local supermarket had to offer, but wasn’t really holding my breath as my local Tesco is pretty poor for choices. However, I spotted a Spicy Chipotle chilli sauce by Wahaca Mexican Street food ( 150ml bottle) and decided to use this instead.
Preheat Oven to 150°C. I cut half an onion into quarters and placed it in the bottom of a dutch oven/ casserole dish, then placed a small pork loan joint on top (There was only the two of us, so this will do for 2 nights of meals for us).
Sorry, there isn’t a lot of photos taken during the cooking stage as 1) my camera was covered with chocolate from the Guinness Cake 2) the cooking of the pulled pork was pretty simple ( even for me).
I then covered the joint with some salt and black pepper then poured the chipotle chilli sauce all over the joint. I followed this with a 500ml bottle of Dr Pepper, then covered with the lid and placed in the oven.
I checked it every hour and turned every hour for about 4 hours. Half way through I added more Dr Pepper, about 250mls as the sauce was drying up a little.
After it came out of the oven I used two forks and pulled it apart ( oh and cut off the string that was holding it together you don’t want to eat that!).
The Guinness Cake
I made this the night before, using a Nigella Recipe.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Then add 250ml of Guinness (you could probably use any stout or Ale ) to a pan along with 250 grams of butter and heat on low until butter melted.
Whisk in 75 grams of cocoa powder and 400 grams of caster sugar.
In a separate jug I mixed the 142ml sour cream, 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon of vanilla and then added to the Guinness/butter mixture.
Finally I whisked in the 275 grams flour and 2 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda.
I poured the mixture into a 9 inch springform pan that was greased and lined. However I did not have enough baking paper, so instead of cutting a circle piece and a separate piece for the sides I had to use one square and crunch it into the tin covering the bottom and sides. Hence the not so smooth sides of the cake that you can see!
My husband then “cleaned “the pan for me and by that I mean he sat on the sofa watching the Six Nations while scraping/ eating the chocolate/Guinness Mixture from the pan!
This was placed in the oven for 45 minutes, however after this time it wasn’t ready so I placed back in for another 7 minutes until the cake tester ( or knife) came out clean. Although when I took mine out it sagged in the middle, not sure why it does th?? Oh well, I was covering it in icing anyway so it doesn’t really matter.
I then left the cake to cool and started on the icing for the top.
300 grams of cream cheese, whipped in a mixing bowl, then 150 grams of icing sugar was sifted over the top of the mixture and then beaten together. 125 ml double cream was added and the mixture was again beaten together until mixture was of a consistency that I would spread on top of the cake.
This was a really simple recipe to make, even for an incompetent cook like myself and it tasted lovely and looked fairly impressive ( if I do say so myself). I would recommend this if you want an easy simple quick cake that still has a bit of wow about it
I served this cake with strawberries and cream in front of a roaring fire. Very romantic!