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County Cork Stew

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us and in celebration I’ll be making one of the classics in the Irish repertoire. The Emerald Isle is well know for its quality beef as well as its love of slow-cooking: this recipe incorporates both. It is rich and thick and deliciously meaty, so I have chosen not to add in the carrots, peas, and potatoes that often adorn the dish, but by all means do if you love it this way – just add them in about at about the 2 hour simmer mark as you don’t want them to be too overcooked. But for me the meat, onions, and wine form the perfect marriage and need nothing more than some old fashioned Quick & Easy Irish Soda Bread to make it complete. Bottoms up and sláinte mhath!

 country cork stewMakes 8-10 servings

  •  5# beef, cubed ½ – 1” (top round works well for this)
  • 2  large onions, minced
  •  2/3 cup olive oil
  • 5 tsp. brown sugar
  •  sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups merlot  wine
  • 2 1/2 cups demi-glace – beef or veal stock reduce by 1/2
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5 tsp mixed herbs – thyme, basil, rosemary

In a large Dutch oven or deep sauté pan, sauté the onions in 1/3 cup of the oil. Season with salt & pepper. Once the onions are soft, remove them from the pan and set aside.

Toss the beef in the flour and shake off the excess. Sear the beef in batches – do not crowd the pan. Once the cubes have been browned on all sides, remove to a plate to hold. Continue until all the beef is browned.

Add the beef back into the pan along with the onions and all remaining ingredients. Simmer covered until fork tender – about 3 hours. Uncover and turn the heat up to reduce and thicken the sauce.

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Danielle Foreman Acken - March 16, 2014 - 6:05 pm

Making this!!

Chocolate Guinness Cake

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I’ve been thinking of quintessential Irish flavours to draw some inspiration from, and none says “The Emerald Isle” quite like the classic taste of Guinness. And the best thing about Guinness (in my opinion) is that it naturally enhances the chocolatey-ness of chocolate! That’s why I love this cake so much! It’s rich and dense and completely satisfies my inner chocoholic. Be sure to watch the timing on this one – you don’t want to over bake it – be sure to pull it out of the oven the minute the centre has set. Cool completely before adding whip cream and serving.

Chocolate Guinness CakeTo make

  • 250 ml Guinness (not ale or any other beer it has to be Guinness)
  • 250 grams unsalted butter
  • 75 grams dark cocoa powder
  • 400 grams sugar
  • 142 ml greek yogurt 3 – 5%
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 275 grams flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda

To serve

  • 150 grams icing sugar
  • 125 ml heavy cream
  • Cocoa

Preheat the oven to 350ºF, and butter and line a 9 inch spring form pan.

In a large saucepan heat the Guinness and butter together until the butter has melted. Whisk the cocoa and sugar together in a mixing bowl and add to the Guinness. Mix the yogurt, eggs and vanilla together in a mixing bowl and pour into the Guinness mixture. Stir the flour and baking soda together and add this as well to the Guinness mixture.


Pour the cake batter into the prepared spring form pan and bake for 45 – 60 mins. Leave to cool completely on a cooling rack. Remove from the spring form pan and place on a large round serving platter or cake stand.

Lightly whip the cream to soft peaks, sift in the icing sugar and whip to combine. Mound the cream on top of the cake. Dust each serving with a little cocoa. Enjoy!

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Three Fruit Marmalade

Don’t you just love citrus season? When all the lovely fruits of summer disappear, the glorious jewel tones of oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, and tangerines bring a brightness to even the darkest of days. One of my favourite way to enjoy and preserve the myriad of flavours these fruits offer is to make marmalade. I love it spread thickly on a slice of toasted sourdough or even on the side of a pound cake. This recipe cooks up really quick and easy, and the pectin from the pith and pips will give the final ‘jam’ a natural set.

marmalade imageMakes 10 pints

  • 4 lemons
  • 2 sweet oranges
  • 2 grapefruits
  • 6 pints (12 cups) water
  • 6 lbs sugar

Cut the lemons and oranges in half, squeeze out the juice and reserve. Save the pips to the side. Chop rinds into fine julienne strips and reserve.

Remove grapefruit peel and some of the pith – reserve pith to the side. Chop grapefruit peel into julienne strips, chop grapefruit flesh roughly.

Add grapefruit pith to lemon and orange pips and tie in a cloth.

Place rinds, juice, grapefruit flesh and muslin bag in a saucepan. Add water, bring to a boil skimming and simmering for 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours. Remove muslin bag, squeeze juices into a pan. Add sugar and cook on low heat until dissolved. When dissolved boil rapidly for 15-20 minutes. Check for set, remove from heat, skim off impurities and cool for 30 minutes. Pour marmalade into clean jars, cool and seal tightly. Check for freshness seal and store in dark, dry place until needed.

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