Those of us privileged enough to associate home with a table set for dinner, and loved ones and friends gathered around it to share the food with, know the blessing of plenty. Not everyone is so lucky.
Catering company Gather & Gather Ireland, has published a collection of 55 excellent recipes contributed by representatives of the food world in Ireland, and all proceeds will be donated to the Peter McVerry Trust to support their work with the homeless across the country.
It is called The Gathered Table: A Taste of Home, and among its pages you will find favourite home-cooking recipes from chefs, farmers, food producers, retailers, and more.
Beautiful production values have been brought to the project by Kristin Jensen’s boutique Irish publishing house, Nine Bean Rows Books. The images of each dish are by award-winning food photographer Katie Quinn.
We’ve selected three lovely recipes from the book to share here. They’re all from people who are not originally from Ireland, but have chosen to make it their home.
It’s very exciting to have a recipe from Ahmet Dede, head chef and co-owner of Dede at the Customs House in Baltimore, Co Cork, as his wonderfully nuanced Turkish recipes have not been widely shared here. You won’t find this multilayered lamb dish on his Michelin-starred restaurant menu, as he saves it for family and friends.
Don’t be put off by the long ingredients list, everything is easily accessible and some are used more than once in the finished dish. It’s a weekend project, set aside a Saturday to shop and marinate, and enjoy a feast on Sunday.
“This isn’t a complicated dish, but it does require a bit of advance planning to allow a full 24 hours for the meat to marinate. It makes a beautiful meal to share with loved ones and it gives me pleasure to make it for them,” he says.
In contrast, the sweet and sour fish curry from Sunil Ghai, who has three Indian restaurants in Dublin – Pickle, Tiffin and Street – can be made in minutes. “Home means everything to me, whether it’s my home here in Ireland or in India. Home is where you share your sorrows, stress and happiness. Home brings strength and togetherness. Home means food cooked by or for your loved ones.
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“I learned this recipe from my colleague’s mother, who used to cook this all the time for us. I am actually not very fond of seafood, but when we visited my friend, his mother cooked this. I only tasted the sauce and fell in love with the curry. It’s very simple but it’s all about technique: when to add the spice or tomato or chilli and knowing how much to use. I have simplified the recipe a bit so that everyone can fall in love with it, just like I did.
Manuela Spinelli is a translator and food project consultant who works with Euro-Toques Ireland. She is known to have strong feelings about how the food of her native country should be cooked, and here she shares her family risotto recipe.
“On Sundays, my grandmother started cooking lunch in the morning so it would be ready after Mass at midday. There was always a roast rabbit, chicken or pigeons. And then there was the ritual of making a clear broth from chicken, veal bones and vegetables that bubbled away slowly and was used for risotto, served as a first course at lunch. The rest was used for a supper of ravioli in a clear broth, boiled meats and fruit mustard or pickles. My mother has kept the tradition and to this day, this is what still happens on a Sunday.”
Recipe: Sunil Ghai’s sweet and sour fish curry
Recipe: Manuela Spinelli’s risotto Monzese
Recipe: Ahmet Dede’s spiced lamb shoulder with bulgur wheat
The Gathered Table: A Taste of Home is compiled by Gather & Gather Ireland, with all proceeds going to the Peter McVerry Trust (€30, ninebeanrowsbooks.com). Photographs by Katie Quinn.