When I was 14 I took part in a school foreign exchange programme with a school in Avignon, France. You would think that it was a marvellous opportunity to learn about amazing french cuisine and taste some new foods. Unfortunately you would be wrong. My hosts didn’t seem to eat a lot of French food, and got take out like pizza and chinese most nights. When our exchange students stayed with us my mother went out of her way to cook up dishes that she thought they would like and also ones that gave them a taste of Ireland.
One evening my mother was cooking dinner, I was helping out and the student asked could she help. So Mam gave her a carton of fresh cream and pointed her in the direction of the stand mixer and asked her to whip the cream. After she had figured out how to open the carton, and turn on the stand mixer the student stood over the stand mixer with an expression of intense concentration on her face. 5 minutes later she declared the cream whipped and when we turned to look she had certainly whipped the cream, it was practically butter.
This occasion stuck in my mind when last Thursday I popped 250ml of cream into the mixer to whip, turned it on and turned around to chat to a friend in my own kitchen. I lost track of time, I was probably gesticulating or ranting about some community issue as is my wont, so when I turned around the cream had overwhipped. I could have at that point stuck it into a carton for a baking project later on in the week but I decided to continue to whip it until it formed golden solids of light, fluffy homemade butter.
Having a small baby has its advantages and I strained the butter through a muslin cloth (a staple in our household). I now had about 100g of pure, Irish, butter. A beautiful yellow colour (from our grass fed cows if you’re wondering) I can now add salt, herbs or spices to flavour it then slather it on freshly made scones. It is, quite simply, that easy.
I don’t proclaim to be the butter expert. If you really want to see the process of how it’s made, and shaped then take a look at the gorgeous blog by Imen of I Married an Irish Farmer. While you’re at it you might vote for her in the Saveur Awards for best regional cuisine blog.