Remembering Peaches

peach large

Remember my sister NiNi got married to France-whah this summer? So, in the week before the wedding, our French in-laws arrived in Ireland and I offered to cook for everyone at my family’s home so that the parents could get to know each other. The invitation prompted a beautiful response from France-whah’s lovely mother and word came back that the in-laws were excited about having a meal cooked for them by a “famous” food blogger.

“Oh… merde,” I cursed, under my breath {for dramatic film noir effect, you understand}. There is nothing like the pressure of expectation to spoil an amateur cook’s winning streak. It wasn’t just my own personal reputation on the line – it was Ireland’s. It was the potential for a culinary comeback that could take away some of the sting of the Henri incident and wash away some of the hurt caused by the thousands of French summer students that have balked at our Irish “baguettes” for the last half a century.

And so, I made it really easy on myself by planning a fool-proof tried and tested menu. I’d make the deliciously simple grilled peach salad that I had made a million times – I was even telling people how to make it through our forkful season one. I’d show off our Irish cheese by tearing pieces of Toonsbridge mozzarella all over it and I’d reduce some good quality balsamic to make a rambunctiously  sweet drizzle to wow them all. For mains, I’d throw a bit top quality lamb in the stew pot the night before and wow the French with a succulent, flavoursome stew. Nothing could go wrong.

Until, of course, it did. It was, quite simply, the worst meal I have cooked in a very long time. Ca me fait chier!  In all the excitement of meeting my new in-laws (you’d have sworn I was the one getting bleedin’ married), I forgot to grill the peaches. The Toonsbridge mozzarella was as beautiful as always but the salad leaves I had dished onto serving plates suddenly looked sad and wilted. This was made worse by not having enough to go around, making me look like a stingy cook as well as a bad one. The balsamic reduction simmered on as I faffed about trying to speak French {“Votre cheval est belle” etc} until it had reduced to a tar. A tar. So much so that my Mum’s fork stuck to her plate mid-meal.

My lamb stew, cooked the night before and left to transform into the most AMAZING Irish stew ever, had descended into a stringy pile of {tasty, I’ll admit} mush. “Oh, we ‘ave somesing like zeez in France, but, uhhh… we call it ragout,” my in-laws graciously offered as I slopped spoonfuls of what I pretended was a traditional Irish stew upon their plates. At least my roast spuds were spot on. A mistake in the spud department would have been impardonnable.

Thankfully, Mum had made her famous pavlova so she tactfully stepped in to serve dessert. My courses, truth be told, had been a bit of  a dizazzo.

But you know what? It didn’t matter a bit. Because no one was really paying attention to the food – what was more important was that our two families were getting to know each other. It turned out our French counterparts are totally awesome. The chatter drew attention away from my below-average meal as the conversation and atmosphere was well and truly above average – and remained so for the rest of the wedding weekend.

My sister’s wedding was an unforgettable event for our family. We have always been very close and the wedding is yet another shared memory that has made our bond even stronger. I really do love every one of them – even if they’re all a bit bat shit cray-cray at the best of times.

Here are a few snapshots of my parents Eugene and Pauline and my brothers Lorcan and Peter, and of course Niamh and Francois on their big day, as captured by wedding photographer Fionn McCann.

THE-yellow-balloons-blog dictionaries-blog   wedding-day-schedule-blog flowers-blog niamh veil blog niamh-twirling-blog pauline-blogthe-twins-blog table-names-blogfather-of-the-bride-blog sisters-blog  niamh-and-francois-blog ceremony-blog

Will there ever be a time that these photos don’t bring a tear to my eye?

If you have in-laws that you are trying to impress (or not, as may be your best strategy), I promise that this peach salad is a total winner. It was the last episode of season one of forkful and is usually fool-proof.

I’m so looking forward to sharing more meals with my new extended family and I hope the next time I cook for them it will be less of a catastrophe as our first meal. I might just leave peaches off the menu next time :)

Categories: Dinner, forkful

9 Comments

  1. What a beautiful post, Aoife. And hey, while the cooking might not have been all you’d hoped, at least it makes for a great story now! And the salad looks positively luscious in the video. I love Daffodil’s starring role in this one. Could she be any cuter with those cocked ears? And congrats on the blog win too, so richly deserved! x

  2. Ah AOIFE! Tu es beaucoup trop sévère avec toi meme. Ton repas était excellent et la salade a su revenir d’entre les morts.Ton agneau était très tendre et un plaisir ‘en bouche ‘. Une chose est certaine ton commentaire est lui tout à fait savoureux et reflète très bien ton sourire et ta générosité. Il ne me reste plus maintenant qu’ à éblouir ta maman par ma superbe cuisine française ! A très bientôt et notre maison t’attends pour des séjours bavards et gourmets. A ton dictionnaire…..

    • Oh Hélene! I just put your comment through google transalter – merci beaucoup! It was so lovely to cook for such forgiving and lovely guests. Can’t wait til the next time we share a meal together :)

  3. I just watched the forkful video for this peach salad and can I just say your griddle pan and small pot are insanely cute. Kudos.

  4. Hummm êtes vous sûr ԁe ce que vous nous ɑffirmez ?

  5. Ј’ai trouvée votre pοst par mégarde puis je ne le regrette pas !

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