Come dine with me: Home-made sushi
Laura Kenny, an architecture student from Sutton, Dublin, likes to run her cook club a little bit differently. Instead of people bringing along various dishes, like the classic American pot-luck supper clubs, or the more traditional style where each club member hosts a different night each week, Laura likes to ensure that her dinner-party guests get to try out a new cuisine.
That's definitely what happened at the cook club I attended. When Laura told me she would be serving sushi, I couldn't have imagined the hands-on experience I was going to enjoy.
Sushi can be quite daunting if you have never made it before, but as Laura explains, the key to success when serving it at a dinner party is all in the preparation -- that, and getting your guests to do most of dirty work!
I arrived early to help prep some of the ingredients we were using for the great selection of sushi on the menu.
It included spicy tuna maki, salmon nigiri, the art form that is the inside-out- roll, and something for all those who were slightly apprehensive about raw fish -- a sweet chilli chicken maki.
Laura had only recently taken a course in sushi making at the Donnybrook Fair Cookery School, with Audrey Gargan from Dublin's Sushi King restaurants, but she was well able to instruct her guests on the ins and outs of creating the perfect sushi roll. Although not all the guests were what you might call experts, everyone gave it a go, and the major sushi casualties caused the biggest laughs and were all part of the fun.
I absolutely love this type of hands-on approach to entertaining; it's a fantastic talking point for the dinner party and get's everyone involved.
Laura also mentioned she had organised a similar cook-club dinner party where she and her guests all made their own pizzas with different toppings, which was equally successful.
If you haven't tried making sushi before, the recipes here should give beginners a taste of some of the basic types, so get your kitchen stocked with some sushi ingredients and get rolling.
Each recipe here makes about 12 pieces of sushi, so be sure to make enough rice to try them all.
Essential sushi items
Sushi rolling mat: These mats are made from bamboo and can be picked up at most good supermarkets.
A large, sharp knife: Essential for making sure you don’t squash the sushi rolls as you cut them.
Wasabi: An extremely hot little green paste made from Japanese horseradish; it can be bought in little tubes.
Pickled ginger: Bright pink, thin slices of pickled ginger which are stored in jars and are used as a palate cleanser between courses of sushi.
Soy sauce: You can buy Japanese soy sauce for use with sushi, but really any type will do.
Sushi rice: Essential for making perfect sushi, you can get a big bag of sushi rice as it will last quite a while in the store cupboard.
Nori sheets: These are sheets of dried seaweed and can be picked up in packsat most good supermarkets. The sheets have a shiny side and a matt side.
Food styling and photography by Donal Skehan thegoodmoodfoodblog.com