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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.

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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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Vodka Seafood Fusilli

With the kids at home during the school break, life can get a little hectic and sometimes it’s even harder to get a meal onto the table for the family. This recipe is the perfect remedy and sure to become a standard in your casserole repertoire. This dish freezes well and I always make it ahead of time so that when the days start to count down to Spring Break I can pull it out of the freezer and deliver a delicious and nutritious meal when we need it most. The sauce will hold for up to a week in the fridge and the other ingredients should only take about 30 minutes to complete. You can serve as individual servings or in baked casserole form as well – just top with some extra parmesan and mozzarella and bake in a casserole dish for 35-45 minutes at 375 until golden brown and bubbly.

Sauce

  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes
  • 1/3 L vodka
  • 2 tins tomatoes, drained and chopped, reserve juice
  • 1 L whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup each chopped basil and parsley
  • salt and pepper

Melt butter, sauté chili, add flour and cook 4 min. Add half of reserved tomato juice, vodka, cream, tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer for 1-2 hours.

Cool Sauce and whisk in:

  •  1 egg yolks
  • 3 onions sliced and caramelized
  • 5 shallots sliced and caramelized
  • 1 lbs, crabmeat, drained and picked through
  • 1 pkg, fusilli, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 lbs prawns, peeled and blanched
  • 1 lbs scallops, oven roasted
  • 1 cup grated parmesan

Cook pasta to just before al dente – should be cooked through but slightly resistant to the bite. Toss pasta with sauce and seafood. Top with grated cheese and serve immediately with good crusty bread.

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