This is a twist on the old classic. I can’t remember how I came upon it, but since it has Guinness Stout in it, well, you know…… It is dark, rich, moist and absolutely scrumptuous!
Boil 1 cup Guinness Stout (drink the rest!) with 1 cup dark molasses. Take off the heat, transfer to a bowl and add 1 1/2 teaspoon baking (bread) soda. This will bubble up and expand so make sure it is in a medium sized container.
In a mixing bowl add 2 cups white flour, 2 Tablespoons of ground ginger, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. cloves, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. cardamom.
In a separate bowl beat 3 eggs with 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar and 3/4 cup good vegetable oil.
When the Guinness has cooled, add it to the dry mix, beat and add egg mixture. Beat until smooth.
Use your pan of choice, tube, bundt, or I use a 8×8 greased baking pan and a 12 mini muffin pan.
Grease the pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Finally it’s here. The hedgerow is blooming at last. Nettles, wild garlic, hawthorne, primrose and violets ready to eat! I have the pleasure of giving a Hedgerow Cooking Class at Boghill for a journalist from the UK, who is doing an article on the Burren Food Trail and Boghill’s own Culinary week May 13-16. It was a challenge, given the late arrival of Spring this year in Ireland. But, we managed to pick enough wild edibles and fresh young greens and herbs from the gardens for a great learning experience and a delicious meal. I wanted to include a variety of recipes that are not only made from the food around Boghill but that are an example of the menus we create for clients with diverse diets such as gluten and dairy free and vegan. So, the menu included a salad made entirely from garden veg, herbs and wild flowers. Green Goddess dressing was blessed with mint, fennel, chives and parsley. The Nettle soup was light and delicious, including lovage, wild garlic and spring leeks. Penne pasta was dressed with a tangy wild garlic pesto. A spicey corn bread recipe from Coming Home to Cook used chives, parsley and Boghill’s chicken eggs. A blancmange was light and sweet garnished with primrose and violets. Crispy vegan ginger snaps and a fresh herb tea of lemon balm and mint rounded out this exceptional lunch. So, get walking on the paths and lanes and start foraging to make your own!
NETTLE SOUP – serves 6
Pick 1 litre of young nettles, preferably tops. Be careful, the leaves sting so pick from the stem. Wash and separate leaves from stem. In a soup pot, drizzle a few tablespoons of Irish rapeseed oil/ Add to it 4 washed and chopped leeks, 1 1/2 cups lovage, 1/4 cup wild garlic leaves. Let cook until greens are wilted. Add 3 cups chopped white potatoes. Cook for a few minutes then add 1 litre of fresh vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, cook until potatoes are tender. Add nettles and cook for 5 minutes. Puree soup. Add sea salt and cracked black pepper.
Why do we have such silly names for food? Snickerdoodles, hermits, flapjacks (in America they’re pancakes, in Ireland granola bars). Cookies are biscuits in Ireland, biscuits in America are well, biscuits! Serve ’em up with gravy, all buttery and warm. My cousin in Dingle has an old label on his pub wall from Pegs Leg, a favorite candy from the past. I’m always looking for new variations on old treats so I created one of my own – the Burren Stack. As I’m living and cooking in the Burren, I get a lot of inspiration from the organic gardens, the berries and herbs that grace the hedgerow, the goat farmers making their cheese. The Burren is a unique, diverse landscape in North Clare that is full of erratic rock formations left over from the Ice Age.
Well, I know it’s a stretch to go from the Ice Age to a variation on a Hermit, but why not! Here’s the recipe I use at Boghill for a nice sweet dessert which is gluten and dairy free. It will appear in Coming Home to Cook Part Two, or maybe I’ll come up with a crazy name for that too!
THE BURREN STACK
Preheat oven to 180c or 350f. Butter and flour a 10″ baking pan.
Cream 1 cup soy butter with 1 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs. Add 2 tsp. gf baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. cloves, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg. Mix in 1/3 cup soy milk. Sift in 2 2/3 cups gf brown rice flour. Beat until well mixed. Add 2/3 cup raisins, 2/3 cup chopped walnuts, 2/3 cup chopped dairy free chocolate bits or chocolate chips.
Bake for 35 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack, remove from pan and eat immediately! Or, if you have willpower, it will keep well wrapped for a week.