Category: St. Patrick’s Day

50 Women Game-Changers in Food – #44- Nigella Lawson – Guinness Gingerbread

50 Women Game-Changers in Food – #44- Nigella Lawson – Guinness Gingerbread

A tender, quite moist gingerbread from Nigella.

Gingerbread is Christmas, right?  Maybe New Year’s Day?  Certainly a cold-weather dessert.  Except that I love it.  I’d eat it in July if I were willing to turn the oven on.  Which I’m not.*  So that’s why it’s April and there’s Nigella Lawson’s gorgeous Guinness Gingerbread on the blog. (Two “n’s” and two “s’s” in Guinness–tells you  alot about how much I know about Guinness.  I did tour the brewery in Dublin once and actually drank a tall one.)  If you’ve been following along on this trip, I’ve joined a group of great food bloggers who are each week cooking, testing, and writing about one of Gourmet Live’s 50 Women Game-Changers.  And, you guessed it, this week (number 44) is Nigella’s week–I’m so grateful.  After all, I needed a reason to make gingerbread in the spring.  Didn’t I? (Cold and nasty in St. Paul today after a great, warm spring.  I was happy to have a warm kitchen.)
   *I have just installed a combination microwave/convection oven above my rangeThis may help with summer baking.  More later!

If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching Nigella on tv or reading one of her books, you just need to do it.  Picture a well-fed, very pretty British woman with a great accent sneaking out of bed in the dark to raid the refrigerator of crispy fried pork fat or snarfing down the last, well-hid piece of flourless chocolate cake.  Not only is she real with a capital R, but she’s fun and brings more than a bit of the seductive into the kitchen, where it surely belongs.  Whatever…it’s great to watch someone enjoy what they do and Nigella does that in spades.  Isn’t that what really draws us to people?  I adore friends who are happy in what they do.

For a biographical sketch that may surprise you, check out Nigella’s Food Network biography page here.  Not only has Nigella been a food tv star for several years and written a variety of best-selling cookbooks, but she was Deputy Literary Critic of the (London) Sunday Times before setting out to follow her own drummer as a free-lancer.  No small apples.

For a list of all of Nigella’s books, lots more info and recipes, check out her website.

But!  If you’re intrigued by the gingerbread:   get out a 9×13 pan and get baking.  Easy as pie (which isn’t easy–who said that?)  you warm up some butter, a cup of Guinness stout and a couple of other things, whisk in a few dry ingredients, pour into a greased pan and bake for 45 minutes.  Cool, cut, and serve with whipped cream, ice cream, or Crème fraîche.  Nothing better.  My own notes are in red.  Enjoy!

Guinness Gingerbread by Nigella Lawson

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 sticks 10 (tablespoons) butter, plus some for greasing
  • 1 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle’s) (I used Organic Corn Syrup plus a little Molasses.)
  • 1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup stout (such as Guinness) (There’s just a taste left for a chef’s snack!)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • (I added 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 rectangular aluminium foil pan or cake pan, approximately 13 by 9 by 2-inches

Directions

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line your cake pan with aluminium foil and grease it, or grease your foil tray.

Put the butter, syrup, dark brown sugar, stout, ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves into a pan (2-3qt saucepan)  and melt gently over a low heat.

Organic Corn Syrup with a little molasses poured in…quite pretty.

Dave was so sad that I bought a whole 6-pack.

Take off the heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda. You will need to be patient and whisk thoroughly to get rid of any lumps.

Whisk the sour cream and eggs together in a measuring jug (4c glass measuring cup) and then beat into the gingerbread mixture, whisking again to get a smooth batter.

Pour this into your cake/foil pan, and bake for about 45 minutes; when it’s ready it will be gleamingly risen at the centre, and coming away from the pan at the sides.

Let the gingerbread cool before cutting into slices or squares.

Add sweetened or spiced whipped cream, Crème fraîche,  or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.  Just a winter dusting of powdered sugar is lovely if you’re into simplicity:

For grin and giggles, watch this Nigella Interview:

If you’d like to read more great recipes, try one of the other blogs on our trip visiting 50 Women Game-Changers in Food:

Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden
Heather – girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Amrita – Beetles Kitchen Escapades
Mary – One Perfect Bite, Sue – The View from Great Island, Barbara – Movable Feasts
Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen, Annie – Most Lovely Things, Jeanette – Healthy Living
Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table
Kathy – Bakeaway with Me, Martha – Simple Nourished Living, Jill – Saucy Cooks
Sara – Everything in the Kitchen Sink

Next week we’ll feature Diana Kennedy, the very fine Mexican cookbook author.  Join us!

Sing a new song,
Alyce

Breakfast Reuben in a Cup for St. Patrick’s Day

Breakfast Reuben in a Cup for St. Patrick’s Day

In the cup or out, it’s great.  This year, I posted my St. Pat’s meal on my blog, “Dinner Place:  Cooking for One.”  Please follow the link to make this scrumptious baby feast!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Love,
Alyce

50 Women Game-Changers in Food -#38 – Darina Allen – Brown Soda Bread

50 Women Game-Changers in Food -#38 – Darina Allen – Brown Soda Bread

That’s it. I’m leaving home.  I always wondered where I’d get my cooking credentials (other than living in my kitchen) and now I know.  I’m going to the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, County Cork, Ireland.  I’ll see you later.  It’s time I earned my toque… or at least an apron that says, ” Ballymaloe.”

Ireland:  Cliffs of Moher                                                                                                                         (copyright Alyce Morgan, 2003)

   Ok, I’m not.  But I’d like to.   Meantime,  just in time for St. Patty’s Day, I’m baking some bread from the Cookery School’s founder and Ireland’s best chef-teacher, Darina Allen, number 38 in Gourmet Live’s list of 50 Women Game-Changers in Food:

(Courtesy Koster Photography)

When Americans make or think about Irish Soda Bread, which they only do in March of every year, they think about the American take on the bread (think chop suey), which I adore and make as often as anyone:

Here’s my own American version.  Please have a little bread with your butter.

But if you go to Ireland and stop in a hotel or restaurant for breakfast (or other meal), you find that the soda bread is whole wheat.  Dense, thick, sturdy, filling.  Perfect smothered with lots of beautiful Irish butter and jam or, even better, dipped in a deep, dark mug of tea.  And, should you not think about it, this bread is a chunky, dunky sideshow for stew or soup, as well as tasty sandwich bread.   Get ready to dirty your hands and bake up!

darina allen’s brown soda bread

400g (14oz) wholemeal flour (about 3 cups)
75g (3oz) plain white flour, (Darina specifies unbleached if you can get it) (about 3/4 cup)
1 tsp salt,  (Darina specifies dairy salt, which is finer, but I used regular old table salt.)
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda, sieved  (baking soda)
1 egg
1 tbsp sunflower oil  (I used canola oil)
1 teaspoon honey ( or treacle or soft brown sugar)
425ml (¾ pint) buttermilk  (or add 2 tbsp of lemon juice to 600 ml (1 pint) milk)

Method

Grease a loaf tin (I used 9x5x3) with vegetable oil. Preheat the oven to 200°c (gas mark 6).  (about 400 degrees Fahrenheit)
Put the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and mix well.  Make a well in the centre ready for the wet ingredients.
Whisk the egg and add it to the oil, honey (or treacle or sugar), and the buttermilk (or lemon juice/milk mixture).
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and using your clean hands mix well.  The dough should be very sticky, Darina describes it as ‘soft and slightly sloppy’, if it’s not add more buttermilk. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for about 1 hour.
To test take it out of its tin and tap the bottom, if it’s cooked it will sound hollow.
Allow to cool before eating if you can manage it.

Recipe courtesy The Ordinary Cook   
My cook’s notes are in red.

Use the other side of your measuring cups for this one; you need 425 ml of buttermilk.

I weighed both flours for accuracy.

Full “well”

Smooth it out as best you can in a greased pan.

 

Very healthy wholewheat bread, but quite yummy with a little butter and jam.

the skinny on darina
I don’t know how she does it….

Owner of Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, Co Cork, Ireland, teacher, food writer, newspaper columnist, cookbook author and television presenter. School is situated on an organically run farm.
Graduate in Hotel Management, Dublin Institute of Technology.
Member of Taste Council of Irish Food Board, Chair of Artisan Food Forum of Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Food Safety Consultative Council of Ireland, Trustee of Irish Organic Centre, Patron of Irish Seedsavers.
Cooking Teacher of the Year Award from IACP 2005, Recipient of Honorary Degree from University of Ulster 2003, Winner of Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year 2001, Waterford Wedgwood Hospitality Award 2000, Langhe Ceretto Prize 1996, Laois Person of the Year 1993…and more.
 courtesy Ballymaloe Cookery School;  County Cork, Ireland.

Want to read other bloggers who are following the 50 Women Game-Changers in Food story? There are a lot of good blogs out there; read on!

Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden, Heather – girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette – Healthy Living  Mary – One Perfect Bite, Kathleen – Bake Away with Me, Sue – The View from Great Island Barbara – Movable Feasts , Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen Annie – Most Lovely Things, Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table, Amrita – Beetles Kitchen Escapades

if you liked this, you might like:

Potato Soup and Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day

Sing a new song and join me on my daily Lenten blog,
Alyce

Potato Soup and Irish Soda Bread

Potato Soup and Irish Soda Bread

I had a farm in Ireland…….
——————————————————————–
Not.  I did, however, visit once.
I wish I could go back.
I can’t go today, but I can make Potato Soup and Irish Soda Bread on
St. Patrick’s Day……
———————————————————————–
I’ve been making this meal for a long time.  I love it, but I don’t make it any other time of the year.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps it wouldn’t be special if I made it, say, in May or September.  You, however, have no holiday strings emotionally strumming over these recipes and could make them next week or next year.
Go you.  So, here’s the soup………..and then the bread–
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
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Potato Soup

  • 2 slices of bacon, diced; 1/4# Canadian bacon, chopped*
  • 2 onions (different kinds are nice), chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 3 large pototoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces, optional
  • 6-8 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 c Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • parsley or dill
  1.  In an 8-10 quart soup kettle, saute bacon until about half-done; add Canadian bacon.  Cook until well browned.  Remove meats  from pot and drain on paper towel-lined plate.  Cool and  refrigerate until you’re going to serve the soup. 
  2. Pour out all but enough bacon grease to coat the bottom of the pan well.  Add onions, garlic and leeks and saute until almost golden, stirring often.  Add potatoes, turnip and parsnip and cook 2-3 minutes until hot.  Add chicken broth.  Bring to a  boil and lower the heat.  Simmer until all vegetables are soft, about 25 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  
  3.   Puree in food processor, with hand-held blender or by hand using potato masher.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a bit of the bacon and ham and a garnish of fresh parsley or dill.  Make sure there’s fresh ground pepper at the table.
    *You could choose to use all bacon.
  4. Printable recipe for both soup and bread below the bread recipe.
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There isn’t much better than soup and bread anywhere.  If you’re cold.  If you’re really hungry.  Can you think of anything better?  I have a friend whose husband doesn’t like soup,  Just doesn’t like it at all.  He did, however, eat soup at my house once.  And asked for the recipe later.  Such folks are few and far between.  Who doesn’t walk in a house, smell soup simmering or bread baking and go, “Wow!  It just smells so good in here.”  And, while we can’t always put our fingers on what makes us happy in life, we do know we like it when the house smells like something good to eat.  Those  “Wow”s come with big smiles and anticipatory movements that include looking around for the delighting elements.  So, here’s the bread.  More on the provenance later.
Irish Soda Bread – American Style
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup currants or raisins
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk (+ 2-3 T, if at altitude)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  1.  Grease a 2qt  round bowl (ovenproof), casserole or  deep cake pan. Alternately, line a baking sheet with parchment paper for a free-form loaf.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F.
  3. In food processor, or large mixing bowl, measure dry ingredients and mix well.  Cut in with blade attachment or with knives or pastry blender, the butter. 
  4. In a large mixing cup, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs; add the currants and baking soda.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix well to form a very wet dough. 
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead briefly.  Shape into a round loaf.  Turn out into the prepared baking bowl or onto baking sheet and bake for about an hour  (or a bit more)  until bread is very well-browned and firm in the center.  A wooden skewer stuck in the middle of the bread should come out clean.  You may have to test several times.
  6. Let this bread sit 15-20 minutes before cutting or it will crumble.  Cool completely before wrapping tightly in foil and storing in the refrigerator.  Will keep 3-4 days.
  7.  Excellent leftover just as it is, but even better for toast made under the broiler. 

{printable recipe for both soup and bread}

 

Me and the green.
A couple of notes on the provenance of the recipes:
I began (and later changed) the potato soup years ago from a recipe called  “A Cold Winter’s Day Potato Soup” from THE EASTERN JUNIOR LEAGUE COOK BOOK, edited by Ann Serrane and published by David McKay in ??1980.
The bread recipe is one I have no idea about from whence it came.  It’s on a recipe card I’ve had for so many years.  I’d guess I copied it out of a magazine or a book at the library one day as a young wife.
——————————-
THE TWO-DOG KITCHEN IS REALLY SOMETHING ELSE AS TUCKER HITS FOUR MONTHS……
While we are making the potato soup, Tucker tries to figure out if he likes onions skins.   Nah….
Sing a new song,
Alyce
all photographs copyright Alyce Morgan 2003 and 2010