Driving on the Copper Coast on a summer’s day is when I’m at my happiest. Only a couple of years ago it was almost deserted, even in summertime, as if only the natives knew its craggy undulating secrets. For those of you not yet in the know, it’s a Unesco global geopark in Co Waterford comprising 25km or so of spectacular coastline consisting of scalloped beaches and coves buttressed and enclosed by rocky headlands. Think Cornwall but with better-looking men.
It extends east from the dinky little village of Stradbally, ambling along the old copper mines of Bonmahon to the hurdy-gurdys of Tramore. You can almost smell the hot salty chips as you approach. I’ve often mentioned to my family that I’d like my ashes scattered on this coast. They think I’m joking. I’m not. Although I haven’t quite decided where yet and I’m still working on the soundtrack. I want it to be dramatic.
It’s along here in the height of summer that I come for my lobster, crab, and some mackerel if I’m lucky. It’s the cherry on a very beautiful cake.
I change my menu in the Tannery restaurant quite dramatically at this time of year. It seems natural to me that people visiting a seaside town want to eat fish as often as possible. The sea shimmers all around us, the ultimate flirt. Its ever decreasing bounty always excites me, but never more so than at this time of year. As I have got older, it is simplicity I look for in seafood cookery. Let the fish shine — quality is the key.
Unless you buy lobster freshly cooked, there is unfortunately no other way to dispatch it than to do the deed yourself. I put mine in the freezer for 30 minutes or so to render them docile. Then pierce the head with the point of a heavy knife to kill them instantly, before boiling; this is quickest way. The crab and watermelon dish is a bit of a show-stopper. I serve it in one stunning piece, like a cake, to be portioned later. Drama again.