Sharing a taste of Asia
Sadhbh McCarthy is a European policy advisor, and when it came to her cook club she went for courses with a hearty mix of cultures, reflecting her travels worldwide.
The starter was an aromatic pho bo, a Vietnamese beef and noodle soup she fell in love with while travelling from Ho Chi Minh city to Shanghai. The soup caused a friendly debate among some of the more apprehensive guests, unsure about the red chilli.
Guest Peter helped Sadhbh present a platter of sizzling Thai fish cakes. Originally a Rick Stein recipe, Sadhbh used her own blend of curry paste and spoke encouragingly about being flexible when cooking Asian dishes, as long as you keep the base flavours.
All ingredients were sourced from the indoor Honest2Goodness farmers' market in Glasnevin, run by Sadhbh's friend Brid Carter. Brid provided the secret ingredient for a wonderfully tender pork belly; her own blend of five-spice powder.
Dessert was provided by Sadhbh's son Jamie, who is training to be a chef. He made a mouthwatering cheesecake topped with summer berries, adapted from a Bill Granger recipe, accompanied by a smooth berry coulis. It was a unanimous decision around the table that the addition of Moon Shine Organic Cream Cheese from artisan producers Gerry and Mary Kelly in Mullingar added an extra creaminess to the dessert.
Wines were carefully selected by sommelier and wine obsessive Colm Carter, who works alongside Brid at the market. He chose Domaine de l'Amandine Côtes du Rhône 2007 for the starter, a Vina Marro Crianza Rioja Doca 2006 for the pork belly, and a Oddero Moscato d'Asti 2007 for the cheesecake.
Sadhbh summed up the evening by sharing her ethos to "cook with love and a desire to share and enjoy the experience".