There's no corned beef and cabbage bubbling on the stove, and no Guinness waiting to be popped. I'm not going out for green or any other beer, and we'll probably have grilled Cheddar cheese sandwiches for dinner.
There's just not any Irish in me, and after years of trying to get in the spirit of it, I've given up. I prefer wine to beer and Bastille Day stirs me up more than St. Patrick.
The only Paddy's Day tradition I've ever observed was eating a slab of the only cake my daddy ever made: Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake. Deep brown, with a frothy white frosting cap, it looks like the top of a pint glass of Guinness. Sort of.
Anyway, it has Guinness in it, it's great with a Guinness and it's as Irish as a Malouf gets.
Here's the recipe:
Chocolate Guinness Cake
From Feast by Nigella Lawson (reprinted in the New York Times on 12/8/04) Yield: One 9-inch cake (12 servings)
For the cake:
Butter for pan 1 cup Guinness stout 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter 3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa 2 cups superfine or regular sugar
3/8 cup sour cream 2 large eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
For the topping:
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 1/2 cup heavy cream
For the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.
In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.
For the topping: Using a food processor or by hand, mix confectioners' sugar to break up lumps. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.
Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.