I recently got my hands on some amazing autumnal mushrooms, a mix of shiitake and cep and golden oyster and lion’s mane and lord knows what, the kind of mix of shapes, sizes and flavours that makes you want to dream up all sorts of elaborate recipes and stay in cooking gorgeous dinners for your nearest and dearest. Except that late autumn can be a really busy time of year and it turns out that I have more breakfasts and lunches to be cooking up than elaborate dinners. Just as well that I love mushrooms on toast, mushroom omelette and mushroom soup. And that I know that sometimes keeping it simple is okay.
But all that frustrated culinary inspiration does make me look forward all the more to this coming Friday’s Guerrilla Gourmet Club, described as a “one night only popup autumn harvest dinner”, when I’ll have some of the season’s best ingredients cooked in suitably elaborate style. The dinner takes place in the The Royal College of Surgeons at 7pm, Friday 15 November, when they will serve a menu created by Ross Golden-Bannon (my ex-editor, formerly of FOOD&WINE Magazine) and Temple Garner of San Lorenzo in Dublin’s Georges Street (formerly head chef at The Mermaid Café and head chef/founder of Town Bar and Grill). I love Temple’s cooking. It is full of big generous flavours and executed with subtle skill. Perfect for the generously flavoured ingredients of this time of year.
Ross and Temple’s terroir-based menu focusses on celebrating the best of local. ‘Terroir’ is a wine term used to capture the relationship between geography (in other words, place, soil, climate, weather, aspect) and people (farmers, growers, producers and even consumers) and the end product (wine, or in this case, food). In the Guerrilla Gourmet Club’s own words: “Terroir is not just about great taste it’s also about flourishing local economies. Together a band of small local business are a strong buffer to economic difficulties. The Guerrilla Gourmet Club aims to amplify this message through terroir dinners created by high profile chefs, in unusual settings.”
The dinner costs €75 and for that you’ll enjoy a drinks reception with local, seasonal canapés followed a four-course meal with wine. There’s also a tasting of 8 Degrees Brewing beers at the start of the meal and Highbank Organic Dessert Cider at the end – both of which happen to be amongst my favourite craft brewers in Ireland at the minute. The evening promises to be a sociable affair, and if you’re going with a gang they can seat you together (make sure you give them advance notice).
I’ve had a sneak peak at the menu and it includes gorgeous seasonal treats like pheasant consommé with Madeira, truffle and foie gras tortellini – just the kind of elaborate dish I would love to be cooking up with my stash of autumnal mushrooms, if I had the time this week. Instead, I’ll just have to slum it with shiitake soup, and look forward to Friday’s feast!