Posts Tagged: barbecue

Apr 11



Some people might think I’m a bit bonkers, some would think me a little keen, but what can I say? I’m a big fan of the barbecue. And as a result, we had the first one of the year on Saturday.

Admittedly, we ate inside and we were cooking by torchlight rather than the afterglow of a beautiful summer’s day, but hey – this is England and we’ll do what we can.

We had langoustines with chimichurri -the sweet flesh given a welcome smoky char from the coals. There was also sea trout with barbecued fennel and parmesan aioli, topped off with capers and toasted almonds and baba ganoush given all the more oomph from the flames.

Skewers of marinated vegetables brushed with thyme and rosemary from the balcony also featured with the humble sausage – is any food finer when given the hot coal treatment?

Stuffed in soft rolls, blobbed with ketchup and mustard along with a few slivers of raw onion for some sweet crunch, this is the stuff that dreams are made of – and made a chilly night on the balcony warm through and through.

Aug 10

Knee jerk reaction


Isn’t it the way? As soon as we have any glimmer of sunshine out comes the barbie, the bangers, the
burgers and the buns. There aren’t many food stuffs I’d rate higher than the barbecued sausage – that crunchy char on the outside, the smoky flavour imparted by the coals and the rich, juicy interior
(perfectly cooked, we hope!).

I do get a bit fed up of the other usual standbys though which is why when I cooked for a group of
friends recently I opted to go for something a little different.

My friend Helen has been working on her recipe for jerk marinade for a while now and I’ve followed her endeavours on her cracking blog waiting till she was really pleased with it. It was the perfect thing to cook for the barbecue – beautiful organic chicken wings in a sweet, fiery, tangy marinade that turned the wings deliciously chewy with just the right amount of spice.

It’s so good, in fact, that I’ve got a load of pork ribs cooking in the oven as I write and the smells are tantalising me away from the keyboard. Thankfully, Helen was more than happy to let me share her recipe here – so get cooking!

Click here for Helen Graves’ jerk chicken

Jun 10

Mixing it up with mayo



There are few things in life as pleasurable to eat as a slice of cold roast chicken dunked in mayonnaise; chomping down on last night’s supper got me thinking about variations.I’d made a honey and wholegrain mustard mayo and a sweet chilli and lime version but thought I should probably start to get a bit more creative.
I threw it open to the floor on Twitter as I often do and suggestions came flooding back – it’s such a great way to get hundreds of hugely varied opinions from people all over the world and a great inspiration for the home-cook.

Here are a few ideas for you to try with your barbecue over the summer; they are also fantastic for dunking potato wedges in as well as for jazzing up sarnies.

A special thank you must go to my great friend Elly who runs the brilliant Pear Cafe in Bristol ( – more than half of these must be hers that she serves up in her place every day – and makes me jealous I don’t live near there. I’ve been trying to wrestle her butterscotch brownie recipe from her but alas, no joy yet!

For all the below simply mix with mayonnaise.
•    Wasabi and black sesame seed
•    Harissa
•    Jerk seasoning
•    Tamarind paste
•    Mint and lemon
•    Tarragon
•    Red chilli, coriander and lime
•    Roasted garlic
•    Curry powder and spring onion
•    Smoked paprika
•    Tandoori masala powder
•    Pickled lemons
•    Sundried tomato puree
•    Wasabi and pickled ginger
•    Mango chutney and lime with nigella seeds

Jun 09

The joys of a green balcony


I am lucky enough to have a particularly green-fingered mother, a dab hand in the garden, who manages to live for the greater part of the year off her allotment. I’m slightly green myself, with envy at the wonderful produce that comes off it, the tiny courgettes with their flowers, onions, potatoes, beans, beetroot, carrots, herbs, asparagus. They taste like vegetables should – fresh and deeply flavourful.

I live in London, which as you can imagine, creates something of a problem when it comes to having a garden. Fortunately, having moved recently, we opted for a flat with a balcony, just big enough to house a barbecue, a table and a few chairs, and more importantly some plants. Well ok, the barbecue might have taken priority…

We’re only growing a few things – tomatoes, herbs and salad but there is something distinctly satisfying with tending these things as they attempt to grow in Blighty.

But while the rain pours down outside, we’ll be eating a wonderfully simple lunch – some toasted sourdough, smoked anchovies and some salad leaves from our box, dressed with good balsamic, some very good olive oil and a sprinkle of grated parmesan – a little dose of sunshine.

May 09

Bring out the barbie for national barbecue week


May 25-31 is national barbecue week and this weekend is supposed to be a scorcher with temperatures happily sitting around 22-ish degrees. What better excuse to get the barbecue out and enjoy a lazy evening in the garden, sipping cold beers while slices of lime and meat, fish and vegetables sizzle away?

There’s nothing quite like the British barbecue. I’ve even barbecued in the rain before – which I’m sure would make our antipodean cousins chuckle as they cook over coals in their tropical afternoon sun.

The flavour of food that comes off the hot barbecue is unique – the charring gives it a delicious depth and crunch like nothing else, and I suppose is as close as most of us will come at home to the grill that most restaurants have. It imparts a distinctly smoky flavour to whatever you’re cooking.

Boned out chicken thighs are my current favourite. With just the right balance of fat and meat, the skin blackens in places and goes crisp and moreish. A squeeze of lime or lemon juice over the top is all your really need. I always pop a few extra on teh grill to use over the next few days as they just sing with flavour. Tossed through a salad or shredded into a sandwich with a dollop of mayonnaise and a drizzle of hot sauce they have few equals.

If you fancy trying something a little more adventurous than the usual sausages and burgers, take a look at our spiced skewered lamb or beef and red pepper burgers. And this halloumi, nectarine and prosciutto salad makes a nice accompaniment.

Click here to view all our fantastic barbecue recipes.

Apr 09

The recipe collector – anchovy and mozzarella bread


I’m a recipe hoarder. I collect books, magazines, cuttings, hand-written notes. I’ve got photographs of all the pages from one of grandmother’s cookbooks and a box of neatly-typed cards from another. I have photocopied pages by the hundreds, stashed away for use on a rainy day. They are a constant source of inspiration, from lost classics to modern treats – and an insight into the evolution of the British diet.

The most recent addition to my ever-expanding collection is this fantastic, mouth-watering recipe from my girlfriend’s father, Tony. It’s a perfect addition to a barbecued lunch – and a great one for converting the non-anchovy lovers amongst you. The salty, savoury edge provides a perfect balance to the creamy milkiness of the chewy, golden mozzarella.

Tony’s anchovy and mozzarella bread

Ingredients (serves 6)

.    1 baguette
.    2 balls of mozzarella
.    1 tin anchovies plus oil
.    30g butter
.    olive oil


Pre-heat your oven to 200°C.  Cut the baguette top down two thirds of the way through about eight to ten times. Cut the cheese into quarter inch thick slices and slip into the holes in the bread. Drizzle over some olive oil and place on a baking sheet in the oven till golden brown, about ten to fifteen minutes.

Whilst the bread is cooking, warm a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the butter to the pan and tip in the anchovies and their oil. The trick here is to let the anchovies essentially dissolve to form an unctuous sauce. Cook slowly until they break down, pushing them around with the back of a wooden spoon then set aside.

When the bread is ready, take it out of the oven, pour over the anchovy sauce and serve.

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