Week­end Food

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Food - Da­rina Allen www.cooking­is­fun.ie dari­naallen.blogspot.ie

We’ve been hav­ing fun cook­ing on the bar­beque. We fire up the grill at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. I have to say that even though the flavour of food cooked over char­coal or wood is far more de­li­cious, the gas bar­bie is mighty tempt­ing, par­tic­u­larly when you want to snatch a mo­ment be­tween the show­ers.

It’s not the same magic of course as cook­ing over fire but one needs time and a deal of ad­vance planning. This group of 12 Week stu­dents built a ring of fire on the gravel in the court­yard with some large rocks. They’ve had some su­per fun sit­ting around the camp fire cook­ing up big pots of stews or just grilling. It’s all the more ex­cit­ing be­cause they col­lect their own tim­ber (they walk around the farm with a wheel­bar­row to stock up with lots of wood and twigs that have fallen from the trees). They couldn’t raid the wood shed so they’re hav­ing a bit of gas prac­tic­ing sus­tain­abil­ity. Dou­ble bonus, clear­ing up and free tim­ber.

There’s some­thing about cook­ing over fire that seems to con­nect with our in­ner hunter-gath­erer and it par­tic­u­larly ap­peals to men, even wily chaps who can’t boil an egg for them­selves fancy their chances on the bar­beque, the aroma of the good food siz­zling on the grill cer­tainly fu­els the ap­petite. Steaks and chops, sausages and chicken breasts are still the favourites but don’t for­get veg­eta­bles and of course fish. We’ve been catch­ing some fresh mack­erel and pol­lock in Bal­ly­cot­ton and cook­ing those on the bar­beque — wow, how de­li­cious.

Sauces are su­per im­por­tant for a bar­beque. Some béar­naise or a punchy mus­tard aioli add magic to a sim­ple steak. Ro­manesco sauce is ad­dic­tive with grilled chicken thighs and of course a good bar­beque sauce is al­ways a favourite.

We also love our new sea­son onions split in half, tossed in a lit­tle ex­tra vir­gin olive oil with a sprin­kle of flaky sea salt and grilled. They char de­li­ciously on the out­side and be­come melt­ing ten­der and sweet. A lit­tle zuc­chini ei­ther whole or thickly sliced are also great, sprin­kle them with chopped mar­jo­ram. Young beets can be wrapped and roasted and buried in the coals or just grilled.

But best fun of all is bar­be­qued pizza, you’ll need a We­ber type bar­beque with a lid to cook them prop­erly but it’s a re­ally easy way to feed lots of peo­ple de­li­ciously in a short time. An ac­com­pa­ny­ing salad and a glass of some­thing de­li­cious is all that’s needed.

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