Saint Patrick’s Day is here again and there is only one thing on the mind of any men who have even heard of the holiday… a nice family dinner. What were you thinking of, you reprobate? Getting drunk is not actually the most traditionally Irish thing that you can do on the one day of the year that you choose to acknowledge whatever tenuous connection that you have to the Emerald Isle. Close knit families are what define the Irish people, the heavy drinking is just a side effect of having to deal with your family all the time.
As a (presumably) young (presumably) man, your duties when it comes to big family gatherings are most likely limited to showing up within an hour or two of the time that you were invited to attend and trying not to get into a fight with anybody, but if you want to raise the bar a little, if you want to make your ma proud, then you could bring along a little bit of food to set at the table.
I’m not going to delve into stews or corned beef or cabbage, it isn’t that they are bad choices, it is just that if your mother is cooking a nice meal, the last thing that you want to do is insult her by bringing along your own version. You need a side dish, something that will slot onto the table without raising eyebrows or drawing attention away from the (presumably) hours that she spent (presumably) slaving away over a hot stove. You need some Guinness bread.
What You Need:
A loaf tin
A food processor, you can do it without one of these by mixing your wet ingredients separately from your dry ingredients and then whisking them in, but that is a hell of a lot of work when there is a perfectly good machine that will happily do it for you so that you can get to work on those other five bottles of Guinness
Ingredients to make 1 loaf:
2 cups of wholemeal flour
½ a cup of dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
½ cup of porridge oats
A hefty pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of room temperature butter
2 cups of buttermilk
A bottle of Guinness
You are probably going to use this bread as a side dish to the big juicy meal that your ma has laid out, but it actually makes a pretty good dessert course for a big heavy meal. You just need to spread it with some butter and a little honey to end up with an entirely different experience. If you intend on using this bread exclusively for deserts then you can actually dollop a tablespoon of honey into the bowl or food processer before mixing.
How To Do It:
1. Preheat your oven to 425F or Gas Mark 7
2. Put all of your ingredients into a nice big food processor.
3. Bzzzzzz. Bzz. Bzz. Bzz. Pulse it until your ingredients are all mixed together into a big brown goopy batter dough.
4. Pour your pre-bread into the loaf tin and slide it into the oven. Give it half an hour, then turn the heat down to 400F or Gas Mark 6 for the second half hour.
5. Take out the tin, turn off the oven and let it cool for another half hour before banging it out and realising that you haven’t got a Tupperware big enough to hold a loaf of bread.
6. Eventually resort to wrapping it up in tinfoil so you can carry it. Enjoy the warmth still emenating from your oven-baby.
7. Eat your oven-baby with your closest friends and relatives.
Like all bread, this loaf will keep for a few days after it is cooked, but it is always best to get stuck into it on the first day, preferably when it is still nice and warm inside. Strangely, the taste of the Guinness in this bread is relatively subdued, which means that you can drink a Guinness while eating the bread, without it feeling weird. Not that I would recommend guzzling Guinness on Saint Patrick’s Day of course. Perish the thought.
Just remember, the next time that someone is yelling at you for being drunk at two o’clock in the afternoon, the fairies made you do it.