Nosh

Fun-Filled St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

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What’s a holiday without a little chocolate?! And what’s even better than chocolate is Guinness and chocolate with caramel!  These cupcake treats are moist, festive and literally FULL of fun!  They’re relatively easy to make and as far as scratch-made cakes, this is one of my favourite recipes.  I love how they are sweet and chocolatey but that the flavour of the Guinness is still prevalent!  They are a perfect addition to this St. Patrick’s Day week!

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Using my previously posted recipe for Guinness Chocolate Cake I scooped the batter into paper lined muffin tins (recipe makes 24 cupcakes…just search for “Guinness chocolate cake” and bake for 15-20 mins at 350) and then using a paring knife I cut into each cooled cupcake to create a little pocket to fill with rainbow sprinkles.  I sliced the cutout so that it was a thin lid, placed it on the sprinkle filled cupcakes and frosted them with my tried and true delicious (and up until now, secret) icing.  Decorate as you like and then watch the pure joy as someone you love bites into one!

 

THE best icing you’ll make:

  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix (or any other flavour as desired)
  • optional flavourings: I used caramel extract with these cupcakes but you can also use vanilla, cinnamon, almond extract etc.
  • Combine all ingredients and whip with an electric mixer until thick.  Whip until it is thicker than whipped cream, to the point where it resembles buttercream.  Best served within 24 hours of frosting (store in fridge until consumed).

 

On a side note, Tupperware’s large spice containers work extremely well for storing your sprinkles…especially if you have a bit of an addiction like me and have ALOT of varieties of sprinkles floating around in your cupboards!!

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Nosh

Irish Onion Soup

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By now you know that I am in love with all things Irish…ok maybe not ALL things, I haven’t acquired a love for black pudding yet…but I do love cheese and am learning to love Guinness and I definitely love St. Patrick’s Day.  So here’s my rendition of Irish Onion Soup, a spin on the classic French Onion Soup.  It’s an easy and hearty bowl of deliciousness and it’s a great way to kickstart my favourite time of the year!

Here’s the recipe:

  • 4 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup guinness
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dijon
  • 1 cube or 1 heaping tsp of your favourite beef base or boullion
  • 1.5 Litres of water
  • 2-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • For the garnish: thinly sliced baguette brushed with olive oil or butter and dijon and toasted, 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar
  • In a large pot caramelize the onions in the butter and olive oil.  Low and slow, steady wins the race.  It takes awhile but by cooking them slow you are bringing out all the natural sugars and the onions get really silky and luxurious and dang do they smell good!
  • Add the Guinness, tomato paste and mustard and cook out for awhile.  Add the beef base and water, fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper and let simmer for at least 2 hours. Remove sprigs of thyme before serving.
  • Ladel into oven safe crocks or French onion soup bowls.  Top with toasted baguette slices and cheese and broil until cheese is bubbly.  Serve with a crisp fresh salad (check out some of my earlier posts for some great dressing recipes)!

 

 

Create

Paddy’s Day Party!

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This year’s St.Patrick’s Day feast week ended with a casual pub-style party.  We had Guinness and Irish Mules, corned beef, potato chips, Celtic music on the ghetto blaster (how retro!), all things green and so much more!  Here’s some of the fun things I tried out this year!

For the first time I made my own corned beef.  I ended up using a sirloin tip roast (brisket is harder for me to get my hands on) and I tested out two different recipes.  One with mortons tender quick and the other with sea salt and beet juice (which was supposed to turn the meat pink…it did not!)

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Both were tasty although the general consensus was that the pinker corned beef was the favorite. (Made with the mortons salt). I found both varieties to be salty even after boiling for 3 hrs, next year I’d boil it longer!

It’s not a true party without goodie bags so I hit up the dollar store and picked up some cheap and fun items…green play-dough, Irish spring soap, green shamrock socks, green beaded necklaces, glow sticks, shamrock tattoos and button pins, some cute leprechaun hats, and I filled up some small bottles with Jameson whiskey!

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I also picked up some shamrock garland and a variety of st. Patrick’s day paper plates and napkins! Cheap and easy!

Our bar “Murphy’s” (named lovingly after Murphy’s law!) was open and stocked with Guinness, Jameson and fun Jell-O shots we made!  Our signature drink for the night was an Irish Mule: Jameson, ginger-ale, club soda, lime and mint!  Very refreshingly themed!!

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We had a buffet bar set-up for easily nibbling, sort of like a ploughmans lunch; cheeses, olives, mustards, sauerkraut, corned beef & sausage, homemade pumpernickel & crackers, green veggies & dip, potato chips and cheesy Guinness, bacon dip.  Later through the night I set out beef sliders with Jameson whiskey BBQ sauce smothered onions (and the option to add the cheesy Guinness, bacon dip to them too!)

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I know the green beer shenanigans will continue all weekend for most, and why not?!  It IS the most wonderful time of the year after all!  So until next year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities, Slainte everyone!

May love and laughter light your days,

And warm your heart and home.

May good and faithful friends be yours,

Wherever you may roam.

May peace and plenty bless your world,

With joy that long endures.

May all life’s passing seasons,

Bring the best to you and yours.

(An Old Irish Blessing)

Nosh

Guinness Chocolate Cake

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I think it’s fairly obvious that I have a love affair with all things Irish.  And I promise I’ll post inspiring ideas from my own culture/heritage too but since it is the month of St. Patty’s Day for now I will continue upon this theme for a bit longer!

I saw this recipe on Facebook awhile back and immediately “saved” it to look back to. After ordering in Guinness to our small neighbouring town liquor store and it arriving this past week I thought I’d dig up the recipe and see what it was like.  The recipe came from Nigella Lawson, one of my favorite culinary gurus…and the recipe also came in grams.  In my kitchen I almost 99% of the time do not cook with a scale (I’m just not nearly as efficient with this form of measuring and with an impatient toddler as my sous chef efficiency and speed are key!), so I’m a wee bit ashamed to admit I abandoned dear Nigella’s recipe and went rogue.

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Here’s how I made it:

  • Melt in a saucepan (and then cool): 1 cup butter, 1 cup Guinness, 3/4 cup cocoa.
  • Whisk together (in a large bowl): 1 1/2 cup sugar, 2/3 cup sour cream, 2 eggs, 2tbsp vanilla, 1 tsp salt
  • Mix the above together with 2 cups all purpose flour, and 2 1/2 tsp baking soda.
  • Pour into a greased spring form pan and bake at 350• for 55 minutes. Let cool and top with:

Frosting: 1 brick cream cheese, 1 1/2 cup icing sugar, 3/4 cup whipping cream, 2-4 tbsp Irish cream or Irish whiskey. Whip half the sugar and cream cheese until smoothing out then add the remaining sugar, cream and whiskey.  Beat on high until thick, and luscious!

This cake was fantastic! Moist and rich in flavour.  The frosting added just a slight kick and served with coffee it was delicious! (It didn’t hurt that I tested this for my weekly coffee group of girlfriends so the company was a delight too!). Please try it out, even if your skeptical of Guinness…and if you’re more apt in the way of the scale look up Nigella’s recipe too, I’m sure it’s amazing!