Life’s a peach

karen salad

Posted on: 7th July, 2014

Category: A Flavour of West Cork

Contributor: Karen Austin

Lettercollum Kitchen Project, 22 Connolly Street, Clonakilty.,,

‘Life is a Peach’ pretty much sums it up when the sun shines in West Cork. Why would we want to be anywhere else? It ticks all the right boxes for me and the garden is flourishing with a little help from the garden hose. I look upon watering the garden as an all round tanning opportunity. It takes just long enough to catch a few rays and is quite a meditative occupation so what is a job, actually becomes a chill out.

The kitchen is benefiting big time from the bounty of the garden. Every day there seems to something else ready to eat. We’re enjoying salad, fennel, beetroots, beans, peas, broad beans, courgettes, gooseberries and herbs.  The blackcurrants, tomatoes and peaches are not far behind.

The peaches are being monitored closely and the branches of the tree are bowing with the weight of all the fruit. I’ve been playing around with salads with summer fruits, in anticipation of the feast of that is coming our way.

We have two new salads in the shop with this in mind, a Blackbean and Peach salad and a Nectarine, Pink Peppercorn and Mint Tabbouleh. Both are fresh and delicious.

Here’s the recipe for the Blackbean and Peach salad, bear in mind that the success of this dish is as much the quality of the ingredients as the recipe. Perfectly ripe fruit and big ripe fatty tomatoes are what you need to look for.

The farmers markets are probably the place for this; otherwise ripe beef tomatoes will do the trick,

I have used blackbeans but if you can’t find blackbeans try borlotti beans or pinto beans instead. Cans are handy — it is summer after all, and fast and fresh are the order of the day.


Blackbean and Peach Salad


1 can blackbeans, drained and rinsed

2 big fatty tomatoes or 4 smaller ones

1 red onion

2 large peaches

1 ball buffalo mozzarella

half a cucumber

a handful of basil leaves, chopped

2 cloves garlic

3 tbs white balsamic vinegar

100mls olive oil



Rinse and drain the beans, put them in a large mixing bowl. Peel and chop the onion. Cut the cucumber into quarters lengthwise and scoop out the line of seeds. Cut each length in half again and chop into a 1cm dice. Cut the tomatoes into half. Cut out the woody piece where the stem was attached and if you have big fat tomatoes cut them into half across again and then into a rough dice. To chop the peaches cut in half around the stone in the centre, then give each half a firm wiggle in opposite directions. With a bit of luck the peach will come apart, if not give it a little assistance with a small paring knife. Chop the peach into a rough dice. Drain the mozzarella and give it a quick rinse under the tap. Shake off any excess water. Cut the mozzarella into four slices, then chop it into a rough dice. Peel and finely chop the garlic and put it into a small bowl together with the vinegar and mustard and slowly whisk the olive oil in — use a fork if you don’t have a small whisk. Put all everything into the bowl together, don’t forget the basil, season with a little salt and toss gently. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if you think it needs it.

We‘re busy with the shop and garden right now so the cooking classes are on hold for the summer. Meanwhile if you’re in town, drop in and see us and pick up a picnic. We’re open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am until 6pm.


Sunny Greetings from all of us at the Kitchen Project



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