Here are a few of our favourite Irish recipes we’d like to share to help you celebrate St Patrick’s Day - you’ll need some food to help soak up the Guinness!
Chocolate Guinness Cake
Makes: about 12 slices
For The Cake
1 cup Guinness
17 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
⅔ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking soda
For The Topping
8 ounces cream cheese
1¼ cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ cup heavy cream (or whipping cream)
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/160°C Fan/350ºF, and butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch spring form tin. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter - in spoons or slices - and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
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.
When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch and then beat to combine.
If using heavy cream, add it and beat until you have a spreadable consistency. If using whipping cream, whisk first to soft peaks, add a couple of spoonfuls into the cream cheese mixture and once this is combined, fold in the rest.
Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.
Irish Potato Cakes (Boxty)
1 cup raw, grated potatoes
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (about) milk to mix
Butter or oil for frying
Place the grated raw potatoes in a clean cloth and twist to remove excess moisture.
Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Combine flour mixture with the raw potatoes, the leftover mashed potatoes, and the eggs.
Add enough mix to make a batter.
Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and add butter or oil.
Drop potato batter by the tablespoon into the hot pan.
Brown on both sides (about 4 minutes per side).
Butter each potato cake (boxty) and serve hot with or without sugar.
Irish Soda Bread
50g plain white flour
250g plain wholemeal flour
100g porridge oats
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
25g butter, cut in pieces
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C and dust a baking sheet with flour. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then rub in the butter. Pour in the buttermilk and mix it in quickly with a table knife, then bring the dough together very lightly with your fingertips (handle it very, very gently). Now shape it into a flat, round loaf measuring 20cm/8in in diameter.
Put the loaf on the baking sheet and score a deep cross in the top. (Traditionally, this lets the fairies out, but it also helps the bread to cook through.) Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. If it isn’t ready after this time, turn it upside down on the baking sheet and bake for a few minutes more.
Transfer to a wire rack, cover with a clean tea towel (this keeps the crust nice and soft) and leave to cool. To serve, break into quarters, then break or cut each quarter in half to make 8 wedges or slices – or simply slice across. Eat very fresh.