The Kinneagh Kitchen Pop-Up at Ubh
Last Tuesday I took over Ubh Café on George’s Street in Newbridge for The Kinneagh Kitchen Pop-Up Italian. I had gotten out of the habit of doing pop-ups but enjoyed my August one at Firmount House so much that I didn’t want to leave it too long until the next. Ubh is a beautiful venue for such evenings – it’s warm and cosy with beautiful lighting fixtures and handmade tables and chairs. It may be small but that allows a wonderful atmosphere to develop with people bunched up together. This did cause a bit of an issue before we opened – Ubh is set out as mostly four seater tables but the vast majority of the bookings were for two. We had no choice but to seat people together – one long communal table with 8 people and another beside it with 6. Although it may have been a surprise to some people, it seemed to work out rather well with lots of chatting and wine flowing.
As usual, I served a sharing platter antipasto for starter. Although it always takes a lot of work to put together, I really like to give people a taste of many different things. Homemade focaccia with the last of the Castleruddery Organic Farm cherry tomatoes was joined by some prosciutto di Parma and a couscous salad with raisins, lemon and organic leaves. Anna’s Dairy goat’s cheese was served with a drizzle of Back Garden Wildlife Athgarvan honey while pea and cheddar arancini sat atop a walnut and rocket pesto.
Falling off the Bone
The main course, Pollo Agrodolce caused a couple of issues upon serving. To give the dish as much flavour as possible, I decided to cook the chicken on the bone, completely overlooking the fact that, as it tenderises, the meat would fall off the bone! It didn’t matter too much however, I was careful not to give anyone any empty bones and the desired effect was had – a big chicken flavour in the sweet and sour sauce. Roast potatoes, roast organic carrots and some beautiful The Land Kildoon organic crown prince pumpkin was served with the stew with some homemade sourdough bread to mop up any juices.
The vegetarian option for the main course was a throw back to the pop-up we hosted at Ballymaloe Cookery School in 2016. While I was taking care of the lamb main course, Francesca came up with the most wonderful vegetarian dish – Pearl Barley Risotto with Dried Porcini, Mixed Mushrooms and Celeriac. I loved the dish then and decided to serve my take on it for the pop-up. The pearl barley was toasted in a dry pan before being cooked risotto style with organic celeriac, a mixture of wild mushrooms and re-hydrated dried porcini. Toasting the barley really brings out the flavour which, added to the dried porcini creates a great depth to the dish. Expect the recipe to appear on the blog soon.
Dessert was one of my favourites – Torta della Nonna or Grandmother’s Tart. It has a rich, sweet pastry shell and a custard filling with hints of lemon and vanilla. I like a little booze with dessert so I served it with some whipped cream spiked with amaretto. The evening was finished off with a cup of Ubh’s wonderful house roasted coffee.
I had originally planned on hosting the night in Brú House in Newbridge. This didn’t work out for a number of different reasons but Emma very kindly agreed to let me use Ubh. I immediately contacted David in The Wine Buff to see what we could do about wine. Of course it all had to be Italian and we came up with four stunners! I was keen to have choices – two reds and two whites at different price points. For the whites we went with a light Soave from Verona and Montaribaldi’s Roero Arneis from Piedmont. The reds really flew out the door though with the magnificent Montaribaldi Barbera D’Asti from Piedmont the best seller followed by the Pugliese Primitivo. All of these wine’s are available to buy in The Wine Buff so if you liked them, you know where to go.
To Emma for allowing me to use Ubh Café and for all of her words of wisdom and advice. Although small, the kitchen is perfectly equipped and it was a joy to work in it. To Lorna for all of her help in the kitchen and making the coffee. It was important for me to have someone who knew the space and equipment well and who would get stuck in when needed. To Shane and Katie for running the front of house and keeping everyone happy and stocked with wine. They were up and down the stairs all night and must have been wrecked by the time the evening was up. To my parents, Anne and Noel for their help and to Ali for being the ever present taste-tester of the dishes. Of course a massive thank you is owed to everyone who attended, I hope you all had a great evening and enjoyed the food and wine.
I am very lucky to be able to call on some wonderful local suppliers for these Pop-Ups: the free range chicken was supplied by Billy at Feighcullen Farm, Rathangan. The organic vegetables were from Castleruddery Organic Farm in Donard. Anna’s Dairy in Carbury supplied the mild and creamy goat’s cheese and The Land, Kildoon provided the magnificent pumpkin. David at The Wine Buff, Newbridge supplied all of the wine while Emma in Ubh provided the house roasted coffee.
The next Pop-Up will take place in Newbridge in November and will be announced early next week.