Ireland has recently been going through a spell of glorious weather with near-constant sunshine and temperatures in the mid to late 20s and so I’ve not stepped near the kitchen for the last while. Cooking is mostly out of the question and baking has been abandoned for the moment – very little Brown Soda Bread gets made these days! – as our kitchen is just too small to cope with the heat of the cooker and/or oven. Meals at home are mostly light salad affairs or, given half a chance on these long, warm evenings, consist of picnics eaten while sprawled on the grass in one of our local parks.
Depending on who’s out of work first, the Boyfriend or myself pick up the fixings from Hennessy’s Food Store, Donnybrook Fair or Morton’s of Ranelagh – a substantial bread, like Blazing Salads‘ organic sourdough, some savoury-sweet olives and semi-sundried tomatoes, a chunk of pungent oozy cheese, thin pliable slices of salami or on-the-bone ham, maybe a scoop of Donnybrook Fair’s intensely meaty chicken liver paté, a handful of sweet-scented cherry tomatoes and a few dollops of tapenade, hummus or pesto. For desert, I’m a particular fan of Glenilen Farm‘s screwtop jars of natural yogurt layered with fruit compote.
We grab our rug, a nicely chilled bottle of wine, some books and the picnic bag – already crammed full of lightweight cutlery and melamine delph – and hotfoot it to either Belgrave Square or Herbert Park to read in the sun while balancing mouthfuls of salami, brie, tomatoes and pesto on top of roughly hacked slices of bread. Food always seems to taste much nicer when eaten outdoors in the sunshine. When the sun starts to drift below the horizon, it’s time to pack up and wander homewards, nicely toasted and full of good food. We might bemoan the lack of a garden, patio or balcony to make use of in summertime, but there’s definitely ways of getting around that!