Garrentemple wagyu shabu shabu hotpot – daughters fill a house with laughter

Our daughter Claire does a great line in flying visits from Australia. She and her Welsh husband lived in London for many years and they usually have a reason to travel back to the UK once or twice a year. When they do, she always manages to tag on a few days in Ireland. As a result we see her a bit more frequently than we feared when she moved to Oz, with lots to pack into a short trip including visits to Grannies in Wexford and Ardee and catching up with friends and relatives.
I miss my far flung offspring and I miss their friends too – the impromptu comings and goings of young people, their laughter and chatter, an unexpected guest in the pot for dinner. So what better way to celebrate her brief visit home than with a Mongolian hotpot shared with family and friends.
Daughters fill a house with laughter and invite Claire’s friend Diane to dinner and you’re guaranteed a night of uproarious conversation. Diane’s views on the justification for expensive shoes are worth a blog post all of their own. (“Even if you’re having a ‘fat day’ your shoes still fit and make you feel fabulous…)

Hotpot is for sharing

I love the relaxed, convivial and leisurely pace of a hotpot dinner and the way it encourages conversation as dishes of raw ingredients get passed around the table.
Kevin Hui the owner of China Sichuan Restaurant tells me that, when his restaurant was closed for a while, his chefs would often invite him over for dinner, a saucepan of broth bubbling on a gas burner or an induction hob in the centre of the table, plates of ingredients ready to be cooked, dipping sauce on the side – self-service with a difference.
Shane introduced us to Mongolian hotpot with his student friends when we first visited him in Beijing over 5 years ago. We had another great hotpot meal there in June which I mention in the post “If the heart is bright the wonderful will appear” . But before this week I had never cooked one.
And then, if you have read wagyu beef Shananigans style, you will know about the challenge from @Pat_Whelan of James Whelan Butchers to give his very special beef a Chinese twist and my growing fears of not doing this exceptional meat justice. The beef is from his own wagyu herd at Garrentemple, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary and has been dry aged for a minimum of 21 days.
Pat Whelan’s wagyu striploin steaks

It was my Twitter friend Audrea (@Artisan Chutney) of Tastefully Yours, who supplied the stock recipe, who got me past the panic stage by reminding me to trust my instincts and that cooking is supposed to be fun.
So trust my instincts I did and it was fun, the most enjoyable meal we have had in a very long time, in fact, and also very delicious. It is extremely easy to prepare making it ideal for relaxed entertaining. The variations are endless and that’s part of the pleasure of table top cooking – there are no rules.
But for what it’s worth, this is the version I prepared this week.
Shananigans Shabu Shabu Hotpot 
Dip the wagyu right in

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