WORTH THE EFFORT Lemonade, sangria and a cajun-style food can elevate your barbecue to a classy cook-out to remember.
Al fresco frolics and patio pleasers
Joy! The restaurants and bars are open again! We raced out on Bank Holiday Monday to No 8 Mill Street, Westport, a tapas restaurant with a newly built outdoor dining extension. We went with our friends and neighbours, Erin and Dennis, and all of our kids.
The outdoor dining area is big – the wooden walls are painted a deep Mediterranean blue, there’s a see-through corrugated roof and plenty of fairy lights. We felt as if we were in some far-flung beach shack and the kids very much approved. We shared delicious tapas – patatas bravas, prawns pil pil, spicy meatballs and cheese boards – all washed down with hearty Spanish red wines.
Restaurant and bar owners have made impressive efforts – despite dodgy weather challenges – to make outdoor dining feasible and enjoyable for customers, so let’s give them our support.
After our meal we strolled down to The Gallery Wine Bar, where Tom, the owner, has built a truly lovely and comfortable outdoor room. It’s all pastel colours, lavender plants and candles, and you feel you have left Mayo. The kids got ice creams from Krem Gelateria and played outside in the pedestrianised lane. The adults sipped their wine. And all was good!
At the time of writing, summer seems slow to appear. But we live in hope. Oh for a summer of picnics and patio barbecues with friends and family. I’m thinking big jugs of icy lemonade for the children – cold fizzy water, fresh lemon juice, a few spoons of sugar and a load of ice.
For the grown-ups; well, it’s been a long hard lockdown. Let’s go for a jug of Sangria. It’s probably the closest we’ll be getting to Spain for a while. Take a large jug and pour in a bottle of Spanish red wine, 50ml of brandy, 50ml of orange liqueur, 75 ml lemon juice, 75ml orange juice, 50g sugar. Mix well, pour into glasses and top up with icy cold sparkling water. Add lemon and orange slices.
For nibbles, roast corn on the cob on the barbecue then slather with butter. Burgers are always a handy crowd-pleaser, but for a tasty alternative, cook some fish. Whole filets of fresh mackerel are great, chunky cuts of cod also cook well – add some spice and pretend you’re somewhere else!
What you need
- 4 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of chopped oregano
- 2 tablespoons of chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 1-2 teaspoons of chili powder
- 4 green cardamom pods with the seeds removed
- 12 whole allspice berries
- 2 teaspoons of whole mixed peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- 25g plain flour
- 125g melted butter
- 4 250g cod filets
- Juice of half a lime, and lime slices to serve.
What to do
Place the garlic, salt, herbs, spice and a dash of lime juice in a food processer and blitz. Tip the mix into a shallow dish and add the flour. Pour the melted butter into another dish.
Dip the fish into the butter then cover evenly with the spiced flour. Place the fish on a moderately hot barbecue and cook each side for two to three minutes.
Serve with lime slices and a crunchy green salad.
The Cabot family live and work in Lanmore, outside Westport. Fresh, seasonal foods are their passion, from country markets to growing, making and selling. They love cooking and eating at the kitchen table, while Redmond and Sandra are kept on their toes with children Penny and Louis. Here they share their favourite recipes.