Vol. VIII No. 16 - Tuesday
April 21 - April 27, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


DINING OUT & KHUN OCHA'S COOKBOOK
 

The UN Irish Pub - an old favourite, still very popular!

Sean Carter
I met two of my friends who were backpacking around Asia in town recently. They wanted western food, so I took them to the UN Irish Pub on Ratwithi Road inside the moat. The UN Irish was originally founded by Rosemary O’Connell from County Monaghan and her husband Daeng Putthawiteree from Chiang Mai in 1992, since which it has changed hands several times while still keeping the ‘traditional Irish Pub’ look. For those who don’t know, it is also the home of the Crusty Loaf Bakery with some of the best priced home made bread in town, with large rolls at 7 baht, small baguettes at 10 baht and carrot and walnut cake at 40 baht.

Great food at The UN Irish Pub.
The menu is extensive, with a wide choice of mainly western dishes; however, Thai food is available in especially for tourists, a spicy, medium and not spicy option. One friend chose the ‘Big Irish Breakfast’, served all day, two eggs of your choice, pork sausage, back bacon, grilled tomato, baked beans, fried mushrooms, fried bread and shallow fried potato—a huge plate for 160 baht. Customers can also make up their own ‘a la carte’ breakfast with separate prices for all items. For those who want a healthy breakfast there is an option of ‘Faragutans’—homemade mixed cereal with fresh yogurt and toast with butter and jam at 95 baht.
My other friend, (who also has a healthy appetite), elected to try the UN Irish Pub hamburger—a 150g burger with bacon egg, cheddar cheese slice, tomato, lettuce and caramelised onion, which arrives complete with French fries, onion rings and a small side salad. In case you haven’t guessed, both my friends were very hungry!
As I had been there several times, I knew their speciality was homemade pies at 90 baht, this time I chose their yummy spinach and mushroom pie in cream sauce; however, other pie options include steak & onion, chicken, leek and mushroom and (of course, being Irish) , Guinness and beef. Although I don’t drink at lunchtime, my friends could not resist the draught Guinness at 170 baht for a large glass. On this occasion, not wanting them to drink alone, (!), I decided to have a cider, of which there are 3 options, Blackthorn, Olde English and Strongbow.
As we are all smokers, another reason to choose the UN Irish Pub was their very attractive garden at the back, with lots of shade—where we can smoke to our hearts content. After lunch, we looked at the dessert menu, but, also looking at our waistlines, we opted out. However, being a bakery as well as a pub, there’s plenty to choose from—including a very tasty homemade apple and cinnamon pie.
I explained to my friends that this is one of my favourite places to go, with quiz and live music nights held upstairs in the private room each week. There are also large T.V. screens, mainly devoted to sports from around the world, be it cricket from Australia, rugby from the 6 Nations, English Premier League or checking out Formula 1. Even if you are not into sport, it’s a great way to meet people—while cheering on your favourite team with friends new and old, you can choose from a large selection of bar snacks, ranging from vegetable spring rolls, baby fishcakes to potato wedges. A great place with good food and music, at reasonable prices given the quantity and quality—our bill came to 400 baht per person!

 

Tomato wine mussels

This week it is an American calorie counter, where I am assured that it only has 151 calories per serve! You do not need to use American mussels either, and in Thailand they are cheap and plentiful.

Cooking Method
Scrub and de-beard the mussels under running water. Prepare a steamer and place the mussels on the top. Steam the mussels for around seven to eight minutes, or until they have opened. Important: discard any that remain closed.
Meanwhile, in a medium sized saucepan, sauté onion in margarine, stirring over medium heat for two minutes. Stir in the garlic, sauté for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for two minutes, then add the wine and salt and pepper to taste.
Now quickly bring the tomatoes to a boil for around five minutes, until the sauce is thick. Stir in parsley and keep the sauce over very low heat.
Break off the empty half of the mussel shells and arrange the mussels on serving plates. Spoon some of the sauce over each mussel and serve immediately.

Ingredients                                   Serves 4
Mussels                                               1 kg
Unsalted margarine                          1 tbspn
Onion, minced                                  1 small
Garlic, minced                                  1 clove
Tomatoes, coarsely chopped             4 large
Dry white wine                                  ¾ cup
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley, minced                    1 tbspn



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