Cookery Feature - The Gathered Table - A Taste of Home

A timely publication if ever there was one – and very appropriately launched recently at a lovely homely event in Eoin McCluskey’s Bread 41 Dublin bakery and café - this unusual collaborative Irish cookbook celebrates the relationship between food and home, in aid of the national housing and homeless charity Peter McVerry Trust, which marks its 40th anniversary this year.
The Gathered Table: A Taste of Home, is a beautiful 160-page hardback cookbook featuring a collection of 55 recipes from across Ireland’s food world, with contributions
.from bakers and butchers, farmers and food champions, producers, shopkeepers and
chefs. Each contributor has supplied their favourite recipe to cook at home, the one that takes them back to happy times and celebrates the relationship between nurturing food and the community of home, wherever your home may be.
Originated and compiled by Gather & Gather Ireland and edited by Kristin Jensen from boutique Irish publishing house Nine Bean Rows, The Gathered Table: A Taste of Home is priced at just €30 with all proceeds going to Peter McVerry Trust.
The list of contributors reads like a roll call of the best and brightest in the Irish food world. Chefs include Anna Haugh, Aishling Moore, Gaz Smith, Kwanghi Chan, Darina Allen, Neven Maguire, Domini Kemp, JP McMahon, Danni Barry, Aoife Noonan, Gastrogays and more. You’ll also find recipes from broadcaster and writer Suzanne Campbell, food writers John and Sally McKenna, and myself, as well as Gráinne Mullins from Grá Chocolates, Siobhán Ní Gharbhith from St Tola, Pat Whelan from James Whelan Butchers, Aisling and Michael Flanagan from Velvet Cloud and Eva Pau from Asia Market among others.
Recipes include a classic beef and Guinness pie, comforting stews and casseroles, a decadent sticky coffee pudding, treacle tart, porridge bread and a simple but delicious mac 'n' cheese.
The book also features some truly inspirational stories directly from those who Peter McVerry has helped out of homelessness. Last year alone, Peter McVerry Trust supported over 12,000 people in towns and cities across the country and gave over 900 people the key to their own home. Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said, “Peter McVerry Trust is honoured to be part of this fantastic project. Gather & Gather are long standing supporters of our organisation and we cannot thank them enough. Home means something special to many of us. For the people we work with in Peter McVerry Trust, home means safety, security and independence. Included in this book, alongside the wonderful recipes, are stories from some of the people we have supported out of homelessness – what their new home means to them and how it has changed their lives. Buying this book – for yourself or as a gift – is a fantastic way to help people impacted by homelessness across Ireland.”
Pauline Cox, Managing Director of Gather & Gather Ireland, elaborates on the initiative saying, “Mark Anderson, our culinary director, brought me the idea of creating a cookbook back in 2021. We had been involved with the Peter McVerry Trust for several years and had been looking for a project that would make an impact in supporting their work. While a cookbook’s role in raising awareness of homelessness may not be apparent at first glance, it becomes more evident when you consider the relationship
between our food and our security and comfort. For me, a great cookbook should do more than teach you how to cook a dish – it should carry real meaning, reflecting memories of people or places. The Gathered Table: A Taste of Home does all these things, in aid of a very good cause. We hope you enjoy reading and using the book just as much as we enjoyed compiling it.”
Kristin Jensen, publisher, Nine Bean Rows says, “There are a few things that connect everyone, everywhere. Food is one of them. Home is another. This is powerfully illustrated in The Gathered Table, which we are proud to be publishing for such a good cause.”

A gorgeous coffee table book as well as a recipe book for all levels of cooking, with photography by award-winning photographer Katie Quinn, The Gathered Table: A Taste of Home, €30, is available in bookshops and independent retailers across the country and online at Nine Bean Rows Books 

RECIPES TO TRY – Just a taste of the delicious dishes to be found in this beautiful and very practical book

Sausage, Chorizo And Roast Pepper Casserole
Mark Anderson, Gather & Gather 
When I cook at home, I want a dish that appeals to everyone and is easy to make so that I can be still part of the chats and fun. This recipe changes all the time and is one of the first things I taught my kids, Hannah and Dylan, to cook. They now cook it themselves and have adapted it to be their own versions. Food and cooking are so important in creating relationships and memories and this dish has done that for me repeatedly. It’s like a big warm hug on a cold night.
Serves 4

• 150g orzo
• 2 tbsp vegetable oil
• 8 good-quality Irish pork sausages
• 200g raw cooking chorizo, diced
• 2 red onions, roughly chopped
• 1 medium carrot, diced
• 1 celery stick, finely diced
• 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary needles, picked and chopped
• 1 small bunch of fresh thyme, chopped
• 1 tsp fennel seeds
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
• 50ml sherry vinegar
• 150ml white wine
• 500ml chicken stock, divided
• 500g good-quality passata (I like the Bunalun or Mutti brands)
• 1 jar of roasted peppers, drained and thinly sliced
• 1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
• a few handfuls of rocket, chopped
• freshly grated Parmesan, to serve (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan).
Cook the orzo in boiling salted water according to the packet
instructions, then drain and set aside to cool.
Heat the oil in a large shallow casserole over a medium heat. Add the
sausages and brown on all sides. Remove from the casserole and set aside.
Add the diced chorizo to the casserole and cook for 2–3 minutes, until
the fat has rendered out and the chorizo is beginning to brown. Add
the red onions, carrot, celery, garlic, herbs and fennel seeds and cook
for 3–4 minutes, until softened. Season with salt but be careful as the
chorizo is often quite salty. Add the smoked paprika and cook for 30
seconds, then deglaze with the sherry vinegar. Once the vinegar has
bubbled down and become sticky, pour in the white wine and allow it
to reduce by half.
After the wine has reduced, add 350ml of the stock along with the
passata, roasted peppers, cannellini beans and cooked orzo. Bring to
the boil, then cover with a lid or foil and transfer to the preheated oven.
Cook for 5 minutes, then check the casserole and add the remaining
150ml of stock if it’s drying out. Cover and return to the oven to
cook for another 5 minutes, at which point the sausages should be
completely cooked and the pasta should have warmed through.
To finish, remove from the oven, remove the lid or foil and stir in the
chopped parsley and rocket. Drizzle with a little good olive oil and
adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Finish with
freshly grated Parmesan if you want to add a little luxury.

Mediterranean seafood casserole with chorizo and chickpeas
Niall Sabongi, Sustainable Seafood Ireland 
This is my go-to dish to cook at home for the people I love most. I like to use line-caught pollock – it’s local, sustainable and delicious – and red mullet, which gives it a Mediterranean feel. But you can use any fish you like, such as hake, brill, cod, turbot or even shellfish.
Serves 2–4
• For the roast vegetables:
• 2 large potatoes, cut into slices 1cm thick
• 1 onion, cut into slices 1cm thick
• 1 red pepper, cut into slices 1cm thick
• 1 lemon, sliced as thinly as you can
• 1 garlic clove, grated or crushed
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• For the casserole:
• 6 tbsp olive oil, plus extra
• ½ raw chorizo sausage, diced
• 1 onion, diced
• 5 garlic cloves, sliced
• 1 tbsp paprika
• ½ tbsp chilli powder
• ½ tbsp ground cumin
• ½ tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
• ½ tbsp caraway seeds
• a few strands of saffron
• 600ml warm water
• 2 tbsp tomato purée
• 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 200g fish per person (see note in intro)
• To serve: good crusty bread
Preheat the oven to 240ºC (conventional or fan) or as high as it will go.
Toss the sliced potatoes, onion, pepper and lemon with the garlic, a splash of olive oil and some salt and pepper on a baking tray. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Set aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 220ºC (200º fan).
Heat the 6 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy-based casserole over a medium-low heat. Add the chorizo and cook for 3–4 minutes. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the paprika, chilli powder, cumin, coriander and caraway seeds and cook gently for 1–2 minutes.
Put the saffron in a measuring jug with the warm water, tomato purée, 1 tablespoon salt and a good twist of pepper.
Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then add this to the casserole along with the chickpeas. Simmer for 4–5 minutes and taste for seasoning.
Add the roasted vegetables along with all their juices from the baking tray, then nestle in the fish and drizzle with 2–3 tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 15 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.
Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve straight to the table with crusty bread for mopping it all up.

Treacle Tart
Elaine Murphy, The Winding Stair 
A happy place, a sanctuary, somewhere to love and be loved, to create and flourish. Home is any place where you feel safe and secure. For me this tart is the taste of Ireland. It brings a sense of the richness and culture thar are synonymous with our streets and towns.
Serves 6–8
• For the sweet pastry:
• 250g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
• 175g cold butter, diced, plus extra melted butter for greasing
• 75g icing sugar
• 2 egg yolks
• 1 tbsp cold water
• For the filling:
• 150g day-old brown or white bread, crusts removed
• 650g golden syrup or 140g treacle
• 150g unsalted butter
• 1 egg
• 50ml double cream
• zest of 2 lemons
• a large pinch of salt
• To serve: clotted cream or ice cream
To make the pastry, put the sifted flour and butter in a large bowl and rub
together using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar, egg yolks and water and mix until it comes together into a dough. Wrap in cling film, then chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
Grease a 23cm loose-bottomed tart case with melted butter, then dust it with flour, gently knocking out any excess. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper and put the prepared tart case on top.
Once the pastry has rested, roll it out on a lightly floured work surface until it’s 4–5mm thick. Lift the rolled pastry into the prepared tart case, pressing it firmly into the case to mould it to the sides and bottom.
Trim off any excess pastry, then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan).
Remove the tart case from the fridge and prick the base several times with a
fork. Line the base and sides of the case with non-stick baking paper, then fill it with dried beans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30–35 minutes, until crisp and pale golden brown. Discard the paper and beans.
Meanwhile, to make the filling, blitz the bread in a food processor until it has formed breadcrumbs. Set aside.
Melt the golden syrup or treacle and the butter in a saucepan over a low to medium heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and cream until well combined. Pour in the syrup and butter mixture and stir to combine, then stir in the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and a large pinch of salt until well combined.
Pour the filling into the cooked pastry case, then return the tart to the ove and bake for 40–45 minutes, until the filling is dark golden.
Allow the tart to cool slightly for 15 minutes before cutting into slices. Serve warm with clotted cream or ice cream.




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