Chocolate Brownies with Solas Irish Stout

I decided as part of my new year resolution to “drink more beers”, I should start cooking with them too. So to start off I chose an Irish stout. Now this is a style of beer I really only started to enjoy late into last year. I was never really a stout/porter fan. And as far as cooking goes, its not something I enjoy. Mostly because I’m not really that confident with flavours and different cooking techniques. I especically dont like being watched in the kitchen. If left to my own devices sometimes magic happens. Luckily for me though Wayne is the chef in this household, and an excellent one at that. 

The dish I made was of course double chocolate porter brownies. I first started baking these after I was gifted the book Sláinte, The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider. This recipe is so easy to follow and so much fun to bake. I’ve since made them a dozen times, using a different stout or porter.

So this time I’ve decided to bake them using Solas Irish Stout, which is available in Tesco. Brewed by Rye River Brewing Company which are based in Kildare, not too far away from me. Also the brewers of Mc Gargles and the new craft beer range of lager, stout and red ale stocked in Aldi.

On pouring a nice head develops, which I found to disappear a few minutes later. The smell is malty with a mild taste of chocolate and coffee that leaves a lovely bitter finish. For me I enjoyed it as it was light to drink, not thick and heavy like others. At 4.5 % it made me wanting more, but into the brownie mix it went.

I found this a really nice stout to bake with and enjoyed sampling the end result, some lovely gooey double chocolate brownies made with an Irish stout. If I’ve inspired you to try these yourself, let me know how it goes. I enjoy baking them so much and even bring some to events I attend. So watch out for me, always a Tupperware of brownies in my bag.

Cooking with Cider – Dan Kelly’s Brined Pork Fillet, with Fennel, Apple, Onion and Creamy Mash

Anyone who knows me well, will know my immense dislike for cooking but my love of eating good food. I have a short list of dishes I can cook well, but I’m not great at trying new things. I leave that to Wayne! To my surprise I actually found a recipe I was dying to try. I was even so excited about finishing up my working week on a Saturday night to come home and prepare this delicious meal for myself and Wayne. Even he couldn’t believe his luck! 

So what’s the recipe I hear you ask? How about Cider-Brined pork fillet with apples, onions and fennel, found in Sláinte The complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider. A wonderfully written book by Caroline Hennessy & Kirsten Jensen. This book has become an invaluable source of information to me. 

So my choice of cider for this dish was of course that of Dan Kellys. I sat the pork fillet in the brine, using a bottle of the cider and salt, the night before and put it in the fridge. 

The next day I was counting down the hours to get home. Bounding in the door like an excited child, I began to prepare everything else. By searing off the pork, to chopping up the onion, fennel and apple. After a quick sauté I placed the veg in a casserole dish and placed the pork on top then into the oven to roast for approximately 25 minutes. 

 Once cooked through, I let the pork rest while I mashed up the potatoes I steamed. Using milk and butter to make a lovely creamy mash. After carving the pork and I served up. Thank God it was only for myself & Wayne as my nerves in  the kitchen were gone! I’m not a very confident cook at all. So I’m delighted to say this was  made so easy thanks to Sláinte.

Now that I’ve done the trial run on this dish and seeing how much Wayne enjoyed it, I’ll be more than happy to cook it again for family and friends. It was so tasty, the pork itself was so juicy and the flavours were amazing. 

We washed it down with a bottle of Dan Kelly’s Fiona’s Fancy 2011 Vintage Cider, it was the perfect matched cider. Now i’ve seen how easy it is to cook using cider as an ingredient I can’t wait to try more of the recipes in Sláinte.