The 149th Balmoral Show starts next Wednesday. For the fourth year I’ll be staying at the show in a mobile home.
As an ex Girl Guide I’ll embrace the challenges this mode of living poses, if only for the heavenly feeling experienced with a hot shower when I get home and snuggle into my own bed.
Last year my ankles were attacked by an unidentified insect, to which I then took a reaction with the result that I slept at any time I wasn’t working at the show.
This year my intention is to spray myself with jungle repellent and cook with as much local produce as possible. A barbecue and camper stove will be enough to cook a myriad of meals.
Cooking outside or in a limited space is all about organisation and not over complicating things.
Steaks done on a barbecue with some grilled onions is a simple yet sublime supper.
Bring along some butter that has been infused with roast garlic and thyme, to melt on top, and you have something truly stunning.
I’ve included the recipe but the world is your oyster here as far as imagination goes – substitute red wine for white wine, add any herbs you fancy, whizz in roast tomatoes, add some smoked chillis…..
One pot dishes are ideal too. I have a butane camping stove that’s pulled me out of many a culinary hot spot over the years.
The heat that comes from them is surprisingly good, provided you’re not trying to cook on the side of a mountain in a gale, and the gas lasts for at least an hour of cooking time.
Thai cooking will make you the envy of the camp site – deep aromatic flavours will permeate through the air.
Chang mai curry paste is best made by first slowly grilling aromatics like ginger, shallot, garlic and chili.
It’s then blended and added to grilled meats, fish or vegetables with coconut, lime and fresh coriander.
It’s not traditional but I like to add potatoes to this curry for two reasons.
Firstly they are a great soaker upper of the spicy juices and secondly I think it’s vital that we embrace this local treasure.
It’s nutritious, delicious and needs to be nurtured – so forgo the rice and add a few spuds instead!
When I was growing up in Aghadowey we had English neighbours who, looking back, were quite inspirational.
They grew all their own vegetables.
The first time I saw a pumpkin was in a Ladybird Cinderella book when I was about five and the second time it was for real two years later in a field in Aghadowey.
43 years ago that was some sight for this country and one that fascinated me.
One of my food highlights was when they wrapped potatoes in foil, baked them in the embers of the fires and then, anointed this natural delicious combination, in butter.
Scorched sultry skin enclosing a fluffy spud – something we don’t enjoy enough of.
I’m between barbecues at the moment but have ditched the gas grill style in favour of the proper charcoal. It might be a bit more of a flaff but the flavour results are well worth it and you get to do your spuds in the coals.