With one fabulously sunny day in an Irish summer likely to be remembered as something of a washout, there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation in my mind…it was time for a barbecue.
I should explain here for those who don’t already know me…I’m a foodie. A ‘gastronaut’. A gourmande. A connoseur of fine food – and drink. Or so I like to think anyway! In short, I love food!
Like most of us, I think, many of my childhood memories include food, and all celebrations involve feasting.
Well, the rare appearance of the sun is as good an excuse for a celebration as any other, and a barbecue at our house is always a feast fit for a king!
I could talk about the meat, and yes there was meat aplenty. Chicken, burgers, sausages, and our very own lovely lamb chops. But my favourite part of a BBQ is the salad assortment, and that’s what I’m going to share with you today.
I always make a mountain of potato salad, using Avoca’s recipe. It’s the family’s favourite BBQ accompaniment, without a doubt. I took the first new potatoes of the season, scrubbed but not peeled, I boiled them, and while still hot, dressed with a little French dressing. Then you just add mayonnaise, maybe some fresh mint if you have it, and a dollop of natural yogurt to keep it fresh-flavoured.
Next, my favourite…taboullet. Call it what you like, but it’s gorgeous and easy peasy to make. If you’ve never considered Bulgar Wheat, then it’s time you did. It’s like a crunchier version of cous cous. Just boil the kettle, pour over the grain and leave it for 15 minutes. It’ll have plumped up and be ready to eat. I added loads of chopped up fresh coriander and mint, little cucumber cubes, lemon juice and a bit of dressing. Plenty of black pepper of course. Yum yum!
Time for a bit of colour. Just throw whatever tinned beans you’ve got into a bowl. I used kidney beans, but you can use chick peas, black eyed beans, haricot beans or even a tin of baked beans – rinsed – if you’re stuck. Rinse your beans in a colander first, then throw them in a bowl with a chopped up red pepper, a stick or two of celery chopped fine, a crushed clove of garlic, a rinsed tin of sweetcorn, and a splash of French dressing. Mix it up, and admire the rainbow colours just waiting to be gobbled up!
Next for a little experiment. I recently enjoyed a delicious dinner at Concra Wood Golf Club, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, of pork ribs served with a side of celeriac coleslaw. It was delicious, and I resolved to try it at home. So I peeled and grated a celeriac. A what? It’s the fat, ugly cousin of celery. Looks a bit like a turnip with acne, poor thing, but tastes great! Anyway, I grated a carrot or two, and mixed the two together with lashings of mayonnaise, and a bit of lemon juice. Next time, I’ll grate even finer, but the taste was good!
With a mixed green salad, and a few cherry tomatoes, I was happy without even the meat! A big glass of shandy – or Panache as our gourmet French friends call it – rounds it off as a serious summer feast. Who needs the Sun?!