A lunch at Manning’s Emporium after an evening of angry water

It is two years since we have eaten at Manning’s Emporium but yet again we have come away thinking we should go more often. We went there for lunch today following a walk through the hills in the small forest park up the valley from Gougane Barra.

We decided on the walk following a wet evening when a combination of high tide and storm wind had driven an angry sea high up the bay so the water was high enough to wash over the top of the pier and bring waves crashing against the pier patch and throw seaweed onto the grass. As best we could tell the weather forecast for today was not much better so a walk through some hills seemed like the best option for the day.

It is ten years since we have made the drive to Gougane Barra. It is only 45 minutes away but the place seemed a whole world away from the Cottage and its raging sea. We spent five minutes walking around the lake and then took the car into the forest trail. There were a number of walks laid and as were under some time constraints we decided on what appeared to be a good short walk. Unfortunately we had not looked at the estimated length of walk and so were disappointed to find ourselves back where we had started ten minutes later. Fortified we set out on a more ambitious walk that was described as strenuous.

This took us on a steep climb through woods and past waterfalls until we got close to the lip of the valley and could look clear across to the other side. It was then a steep clamber back down to the car and we were done in just over an hour.

On the drive back we stopped in Ballylickey (which the adolescent son took great enjoyment in mispronouncing) and managed to find ourselves somewhere to park outside Manning’s Emporium and nine of us the squeezed round a narrow table. We ate plates of ham and cheese, crab claws in chilli, beetroot tortilla, confit of duck legs, molten croquets and a beef and beetroot pie washed down with Fino sherry.

I came away with a bag of pappardelle, some smoked salmon and a bottle of the Fino sherry. Apart from the sherry I am fairly sure I came away with the same things last time we were there with a view to making the same thing for supper.

We stopped off in Bantry to pick up some feta cheese and cream and cherry tomatoes and I cooked them with the pappardelle and smoked salmon.

We spoke very briefly about food as we ate and I was asked if there was a recipe that I had made up for myself. I pointed out that I hadn’t followed any recipe to make what we were eating. There was no doubt a recipe for it but all I had done was fry some garlic in oil, add the halved cherry tomatoes and allowed them heat through and then stirred in the cream and brought it to a slow boil before adding the smoked salmon, which had been cut into thin strips, and the crumbled feta and some chopped parsley and tarragon. All the while the pappardelle had been cooking.

Once the pappardelle was done, it was drained and put in a dish and the creamy salmon sauce was poured on top.

The only shame was that I had forgotten to put the sherry in the fridge so we had to put off having a glass of that until another day.

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