Wheeler and Company have just returned from a very nice weekend in Cork ... see above, would you believe that it's Ireland, well it is !!
Not only did we sustain a full day at the beach wearing little more than bathing clothes, but we actually swam in the tropical-looking waters and survived. It was invigorating and a very good reminder that our country is as good as all those places that we travel to and come back wishing we lived some place else. It is exactly what I needed to re-inspire me and make me proud and content to live in Ireland.
Here is a really simple and neat trick that I picked up in Germany to improve your meal times in Ireland. This is a really versatile butter which you can make in advance and is perfect for anything from summer barbeques to winter steaks. My lovely friend Barbara, who effortlessly manages to feed and delight everyone in her Berlin garden with no stress and a large smile, made this for us. I miss her a lot.
Bring a large lump of butter to room temperature, about 150g.
Finely chop 1 large bunch of flat leaf parsley, 1 bunch of chives and 2 garlic cloves.
Place the garlic with a large pinch of sea salt in a mortar and pound it to a pulp using the pestle.
In a bowl, place the butter, herbs and garlic and mash energetically with a fork.
Note that you can also add dill, chervil, tarragon if you have them fresh from the garden.
Place the herb-butter onto a piece of cling film and wrap it, pressing it into a sausage shape.
Ensure the cling film is tightly wrapped and place the butter sausage into the fridge to cool for a minimum of 20 minutes or until you need it.
Remove from the fridge and slice the butter into circles, removing the cling film before you serve. Keep the cling film on while you cut it as this is cleaner and less messy, just remember to remove it!
These delicious disks can adorn a slice of fresh crusty bread, squeezed into cuts in a baguette and warmed in the oven, over some knobbly garden potatoes (see below the delicious nutty baby pink fir apples harvested today from the pot) or as I had it tonight, atop a juicy sirloin steak.
This will keep in the fridge for about 3 days, any longer and the garlic will develop too strong a flavour.
Here's to missing Berlin, but recognising that Ireland is great too!