With St Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday this year it would have been rude not to invite people round to celebrate our household ancestry with us. Even though the diners were (with one exception I think) not Irish at all, it was fun to cook and serve lots of traditional dishes made with a few authentic ingredients ..a bit of Clonakilty black pudding, some white pudding, Cashel Blue cheese, Guinness and rather a lot of Jameson’s whisky…mixed with the best of Welsh produce thrown in for good measure.
Making soda bread
Irish blaas fresh from the oven…to go with the soup
With home-made soda bread and Derimon smoked salmon plus a generous ‘Irish Mule’ to begin, the party got off to a flying start.
IRISH MULE MOEL FABAN STYLE (I looked at a few versions of the Irish Mule but the best version came from the Jameson’s website)
Half fill a tumbler with ice, add a drop of Angostura bitters, a double shot of Jameson’s, juice squeezed from a quartered lime (the quarter added to the glass as well) and topped off with either ginger beer or ginger ale
We continued in true Irish fashion with hearty, belly warming portions of some of the most well-known dishes…plus the odd cry of ‘aah go on..are ya sure ya wont have more now?‘ when people declined seconds!
I’ve never visited the family in Ireland without being plied with enough tea to float a ship and enough ‘sangwiches’ to sink one! Eating, drinking and being merry (in the happy sense) are three Irish imperatives and it of course it would be rude not to offer.
Not a mouthful was left of the creamy potato, leek and onion soup, topped with black and white pudding and a sharp lemony wild garlic puree, although of course I forgot to take a picture….as usual!!
Next came a gorgeous beef and Guinness pie, topped with a rough puff pastry crust and accompanied by colcannon, purple sprouting broccoli and chard (veg supplied by Pandy farm & Moelyci…neighbouring farms in Tregarth). Apart from the colcannon needing a little more butter it was perfect…even if I say so myself! This almost did for our guests who were pretty full already by this point.
Individual beef & Guinness pies ready for the oven
Cooked and served with Colcannon and purple sprouting broccoli
But for me the piece de resistance was the sticky dark chocolate and Guinness cake, topped with a cream cheese frosting and served with confit orange and vanilla cream. I searched high and low for Guinness cake ideas and finally came cross this Nigella recipe. It was unbeatable. Not a bit of tinkering necessary, except to add the bitter-sweet confit orange, which complimented the cake perfectly. I loved the way it looked like a pint of Guinness, although there was only a hint of it in the cake itself.
Chocolate Guinness cake
I think a few people left feeling rather fuller than they’d expected, but then Irish cuisine is not on the light side after all! The cheese was barely touched….pretty unusual for a supper club.
Apart from our waitress going AWOL and not turning up the night went without hassle or incident. It was a rather chilled St Patrick’s night…although I definitely felt as though I’d been kicked in the head by a ‘Irish mule’ when I woke the next morning (they did slide down a little too easily!!)
NIGELLA’S CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE RECIPE;
CAKE: 250ml Guinness, 250g unsalted butter, 75g cocoa, 400g caster sugar, 1 x 142ml pot sour cream, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract, 275g plain flour, 2 1/2teaspoons bicarbonate of soda, half teaspoon baking powder (I didn’t add this but I will in the future as my cake sunk slightly in the middle)
TOPPING: 300g Philadelphia cream cheese, 150g icing sugar, 125ml double or whipping cream
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C, and butter and line a 23cm springform tin.
Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan and begin to warm. As it does add the butter a slice at a time until the butter’s melted. It will be quite hot so remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Next beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla in a jug and then add to the brown, buttery, beery mixture in the pan. Finally whisk in the flour, bicarb and baking powder.
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.
To make the icing lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time and beat together. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency then spread over the top of the black cake so it looks like the frothy top of the famous pint!
Thanks Nigella for a fab cake!!