Wednesday, 17 August 2016

A summer barbecue

Oh, reader, I don't know whether it is the slightly oppressive heat or the fact that I am now on a mere nine day countdown to our holibobs but I am so TIRED. I am not one of nature's naturally energetic creatures. Long have my family suspected that my spirit animal is a sloth. But at the moment, I feel like I am crawling through my days.

Soon, we will be in Scotland and there will be bracing Scottish air and lie ins and seafood and whisky and, bestest of all, no work (apart from the studying that I need to take with me which I am choosing to ignore while in the midst of my bucolic daydreams). Only nine days, reader, only nine days. Surely it is doable, even for a full on human sloth?

In an effort to soothe our jaded selves, and also because we were promised sunshine, we decided to barbecue last weekend. Said sunshine didn't really materialise but, because we are British, we were undeterred.

We were potentially slightly ambitious, since I seemed to spend most of the day pottering about the kitchen but the results were all kind of lovely. And I do think that it's nice to think beyond burgers and sausages when it comes to barbecuing, much as I love burgers and sausages. Some of the dishes were inspired (or shamelessly stolen, depending on your point of view) by what we had eaten the week before at my brother's, including a lovely bruschetta recipe that I will post later this week.

So, all washed down by turbo Pimms, we start with king prawns, which had bathed all day in two teaspoons of oil (one of plain rapeseed, one of chilli infused) the juice and zest of half a lemon, a fat garlic clove, salt, pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes. A perfect match of zing and smoke.

Then lamb cutlets, again, marinaded all day. To make the marinade, D combined a tablespoon of olive oil with two tablespoons of runny honey, two tablespoons of pomegranate molasses and the juice and zest of a lemon, before adding a teaspoon of smoked paprika, a teaspoon of cumin seeds, salt, oodles of black pepper and a decent handful of chopped fresh mint. The results were stunning - a really well balanced hit of sweet, sour and warming spice with the mint adding freshness right at the end. I would highly recommend giving these a go even if you end up cooking them indoors.

On the side we had humous drizzled with harissa, onions that had been caramelised for an age so that they were on the point of melting into a memory of sweetness. We also made flatbreads to this recipe and cooked them over the hot coals which was revelatory - who knew smoked bread could taste so good?

Have you been having any barbecue adventures this summer? Do share; you never know, I might rouse myself from my lethargy long enough to steal your ideas as well.


  1. Have you tried Summer Cup (or London Cup as I think it's been re-christened) ? It's like Pimms for grown ups. They say serve with orange but that's a bit austere for me and I chuck in lemon, orange, strawberries, nectarine and mint sprigs - I can't recommend it enough.


    1. No but I NEED that in my life. I'm already quite the fan of the Winter Cup.

  2. Oh, that food looks absolutely delicious! My husband and I love to barbecue in the warmer months with our kids and family. There are so many different delicious recipes to try and there's just something about the atmosphere of a barbecue! By the way, I think I may steal your great idea for the lamb cutlets for our next barbecue!

    Lindsey Mckenzie @ Buchanan Fire And OutDoor