The Kinneagh Kitchen Pop-Up at Johnson’s
Last Wednesday, the 14th of November I held my second pop-up in as many months. This would be the biggest one yet with 54 sitting for a three course meal in the homely surrounds of Johnson’s on the main street of Newbridge. Catherine did a fantastic job in getting the pub ready. With fires and stoves lighting and tables set, we served a three course meal from the kitchen upstairs.
Although I had a few hitches during the day, the evening went off pretty smoothly. I had been careful when deciding on the menu and have learnt plenty of lessons from previous pop-ups. My usual sharing platter starter was particularly special for this pop-up with a range of cured meats from The Wooded Pig in Co. Meath. Irish Coppa, Chorizo, Fennel Salami and Pancetta was joined on the board by Anna’s Dairy Goat’s Cheese with a drizzle of Rickardstown Honey and homemade Sourdough and Focaccia. The bread caused me a few nightmares throughout the day – with only an unruly gas oven to cook it in, it didn’t quite come out as I would have liked. The vegetarian starter was a variation on my favourite salad – Roast Ras el Hanout Pumpkin with Anna’s Dairy Goat’s Cheese, Walnuts and a Lemon Dressing.
The main course was a classic Lasagna. Lasagna can be a difficult one to get right – everybody has their own version containing their favourite ingredients and it’s not easy to compete. Taking this into consideration I decided to cook something like you might expect to find in the Italian city of Bologna. A mix of Pig’s on the Green Free Range Pork mince and Mac’s Butcher’s beef mince formed the bulk of the ragu with a little liver for extra flavour. This was layered with a rich bechamel, pecorino cheese, pasta and topped with the wonderful Macroom Buffalo Mozzarella for a stringy top.The vegetarian Lasagna was based around a bean and lentil “ragu” which was also layered with bechamel, vegetarian pecorino, pasta and vegetarian mozzarella.
For dessert, there was only ever one option – Tiramisu. I love it. In the weeks leading up to the night, I was having a few worries about serving a dessert which contains raw egg. I decided to come up with a new recipe, leaving the raw egg out. After a few tries I found a way of getting the same richness and smoothness and after eating far too much mascarpone, I finally settled on a recipe. Instead of using Savoiardi biscuits which turn to mush pretty quickly, I used a crisper amaretto biscuit to add a bit of texture to the dessert.
As previously mentioned, we did hit a few snags during the day. Having never used a gas oven, it took me time to adjust to it’s quirks. The bread cooked unevenly and I ended up burning the bottom of some of the loaves. As it was a 48 hour slow-prove sourdough, the option to make more wasn’t on the cards. Up-scaling the recipes caused a couple of issues – seasoning food for such numbers can be difficult and cooking times vary massively when cooking a ragu with 10Kg of meat! Overall I was quite happy with how the evening went but as always, there were a few lessons learned along the way.
To Catherine and all of her staff at Johnson’s. Catherine really couldn’t do enough to ensure the smooth running of the event in the run up and on the evening. All of the staff too, were magnificent and couldn’t do enough for everyone. To Tom for all of his help in the kitchen throughout the day and to Shane who came in for the evening on his only day off. It was much appreciated. Big thank you to Sarsfields Gaa Club for allowing us to borrow some furniture and to everyone who lent us plates and crockery. A massive thank you to Ali who not only came in on the evening to help with plating and cleaning but also put up with eating mountains of lasagna and tiramisu in the lead up. Finally a massive thank you to everyone who attended, I hope you had a great evening.
It was a real privilege to use some of the most wonderful produce around for this pop-up. The free-range pork Irish charcuterie was all from The Wooded Pig in Tara, Co. Meath. The goats cheese was from Anna’s Dairy in Carbury which was drizzled with John Dooley’s Rickardstown Honey from Newbridge while the organic crown prince pumpkin was supplied by The Land, Kildoon. The free range pork for the lasagna was from Pigs on the Green in Tullamore while the beef was supplied by Mac’s Craft Butchers, Newbridge. Macroom Buffalo Mozzarella was used to top the lasagna while Castleruddery Organic Farm supplied the vegetables and salad leaves.
The next Pop-Up will take place in late January or early February and details will be announced after Christmas.