Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy "Arthur’s Day" - A Stroke of Guinness!

Pin It My Goodness! The marketing machine over at Guinness is Genius! When Obama visited Ireland to find the lost apostrophe of his Irish roots (OBama) the money shot was that pint of the black stuff in his hand. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth was a little more canny on her visit, and merely looked at her pint of plain with suspicion. It still made headline news.

This bread is a stroke of 'Guinness' - and it's perfect with my mum's Plum and Ginger Jam

In a nod to “Arthur’s Day” - another stroke of Guinness from the marketing department - I made Guinness and Cranberry Bread from TV Chef, Catherine Fulvio’s new book. In Catherine’s Family Kitchen, she shows us around Ballyknocken House, her cookery school and home. As the title of the book suggests, this is all about family. Catherine says “There is nothing quite like sitting around the dinner table, laughing, joking, catching up, and, most importantly, enjoying good home-cooked food.”

The book revolves around the number 5… 5 useful gadgets… 5 ways with chopping… 5 quick soups…  soda breads… scones…  pasta… mash… sauces – you get the picture - all easy ways to ring the changes and keep the family menu from ever getting boring.

There are plenty of simple-to-prepare dishes to tempt your tastebuds and also to broaden the palate of any younger members of the household. It is an eclectic mix – Asian, Italian, Irish – with the emphasis on dishes that are quick and easy to put together, and even easier to eat.


The Guinness and Cranberry Bread (a soda loaf) took about 3 minutes to put together and just under an hour in the oven. It was dark and sweet and the perfect partner for my mother’s incredible plum and ginger jam. Himself and I demolished several slices before it had even cooled.

On my list to try are: Marinated Aubergine and Courgette with Goat’s Cheese and Hazelnut Dressing; Orange and Oregano Cod; Seafood and Spinach Open Ravioli; a show-stopping Thyme-infused Raspberry Chocolate Meringue Tower and how could I resist the Orange Mocha Crème Brulée.

I have two criticisms, and they are both aesthetic. Firstly, while most of the recipes are dark type on a light background making for optimal readability, there are several on brightly-coloured pages with white type in a script font, which I found hard on the eye – and my eyesight is pretty close to perfect.

Secondly, Catherine is one of the most animated and energetic people you could possibly meet and yet there is a ‘posed’ stiff quality to several of the lifestyle portraits in the book which doesn’t do her justice. On the other hand, the food photos are stunning; so less lifestyle and focus more on the food perhaps… These are minor complaints. I’ll definitely be cooking from this book.

As for “Arthur’s Day”, where does it all end? Next thing you know the Whiskey companies will be clamouring for their day… What’s that? They already have one? So they do - Paddy’s Day!


Review copy of Catherine’s Family Kitchen, courtesy of Gill & McMillan Publishers


Catherine’s Family Kitchen by Catherine Fulvio
ISBN: 9780717150571
Hardback: €22.99 Pin It

20 comments:

Rachel said...

my husband is a big Guiness fan. I don't drink, but I know I'd enjoy a Guiness-infused loaf of cranberry bread! Baking with beer is something I've been meaning to try.

Claire @ The Realistic Nutritionist said...

Life is so much better with a little bit of Guinness. I mean, it's thick enough to be a fodo group on it's own!!

mike @ the culinary lens said...

I love the idea of this.... The book looks so interesting "It is an eclectic mix – Asian, Italian, Irish " sounds like my kind of kitchen LOL

Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. said...

I am not typically a fan of Guinness, but this looks so tasty, I would definitely give it a go!

Spicie Foodie said...

Hi Hester! You had me giggling with the O'Bama thing:) Guinness is one of my favorite beers. This is a recipe I simply must try out. As for the cookbook it sounds like a really great one to add to the collection. Thanks for the tip and sharing your gorgeous bread:)

Ann said...

OMG! This is an AMAZING recipe...I love this sort of bread and hubby does, too! Sweet, but not too sweet! Perfect!

Magic of Spice said...

What a wonderful idea for a bread recipe...fantastic!

Simply Life said...

oooh that bread looks so good!

Lizzy said...

Oh, I love soda bread...and yours looks fabulous with the addition of cranberries. Just plain yummy!

Kim Bee said...

This looks so amazing. Dare I use the word charming for a recipe? But it is. Love the look of it, think it would taste fabulous.

Three-Cookies said...

Guinness bread is awesome. They serve it with Irish stew at a pub here

Jill @ MadAboutMacarons said...

What a good idea for a cake. Hubby has a few cans of the black stuff he brought back from Dublin but never drank it. This is a better idea - thanks for the inspiration! Funny how these marketing people are so clever: it was even the first sign I saw in a remote village years ago in the Ivory Coast. Left a huge impression!

Hester Casey said...

@ Rachel - bet you'll come up with something really fantastic!
@ Claire - yes, in fact I think it is the staple diet in many parts of Ireland :(
@ Jill - wow, Guinness in the Ivory Coast! How funny! I was watching Poirot last night and I noticed an advert for it on the back page of the newspaper he was reading. It's inescapable! Looking forward to that cake.

Tina said...

I really like the ingredients here-guinness and cranberries-what an unusual bread! It does have a nice texture to it too-I will need to try. Great post.

Lilly said...

One hour and 3 minutes for bread? Count me in! It sounds and looks great =)
I’ve never used beer in baking before. This weekend is a good time to start hihih. Hester I hope you have great plans for this weekend!

Anne@frommysweetheart said...

Hester....this bread looks wonderful! You did such a great job with it. I imagine it would be so good paired with the plum and ginger jam! I also love reading and collecting cookbooks! Great review! See....a cup of tea, a warm slice of bread with jam, and a good cookbook to read...and I am content! : )

Fran Amenábar Ch. said...

It should be a great opportunity to make that recipe. And It must be a great book.

Greetings fromo Chile

Chef Dennis said...

sounds like a wonderful book! I have never used beer to bake with but I do love Guinness! The bread looks and sounds delicious!

Manu said...

I would happily cook from that book too!!! The bread sounds delicious: Guinness and cranberries??? mmmmmmm

Buttercream Blondie said...

So happy blogger is allowing me to comment again :) How on earth did I miss this post?? This bread looks wonderful, and your mom's plum & ginger jam sounds amazing! Sounds like the book is a keeper :)