What about all this weather we've been having? Naturally they're predicting a dive in temperatures and sleeting rain and hail for the weekend - of course - but hopefully it's not going to last long.
Anyway, I thought I might give you a list of things that are a Good Idea to barbecue, given ours is practically the third person in our marriage (who needs statuesque blonde women when I have to fight a hunk of hot metal for MCD's attentions? Luckily, come November, she goes back under her cover and he forgets about her for a few months. Future Mrs Ds beware - he's a fairweather partner...)
Ahem - back to the Good Ideas list. This is what we've been having over the last 10 days or so...
- Good old-fashioned sausages. Topppest of top tips - poach the sausages in boiling water f0r around 8 minutes before barbecuing. This results in that most appetising of results - perfectly cooked pork meat, glistening San Tropez outsides and praise for The Man on his cooking techniques.
- Good old-fashioned burgers. Yeah, yeah, bo-oring... We'd forgotten how good a plain burger can be on the barbie, slapped in a simple bun, with a slice of Dairylea for the connoisseur and a spread of onion marmalade and Gorgonzola for those with less refined tastebuds. Alternatively you cannot go wrong with pickle, tomato, ketchup, mayonnaise and a squirt of French mustard. Yes, you must simply use all of these together or none. It's the law.
- A leg of lamb, marinaded in molasses, red wine, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, cooked in a medium oven for about 25-30 mins then finished on the BBQ for sticky deliciousness. Amazing in wraps with a cucumber-yoghurt salad.
- Steak with a Chimichurri sauce (Argentinia - the law-makers of how to eat steak, they say - invented this sauce. Basically, parsley, green chilli, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar, s & p - slather steak in for about 30 mins before BBQ-ing to rare. We had ours with asparagus roasted on the BBQ and I believe MCD may have folded some carbohydrate around his.
- Seafood. Ooh this was a good one. Razor clams (just slap em on), prawns marinaded in garlic and olive oil, mackerel (just oiled and cooked for about 7 mins a side) and squid. I marinaded the squid in honey, balsamic, green chilli, garlic and oil first for about 30 mins, but you don't have to. What you do have to do is make Val Warner's caper sauce - bashed capers, parsley, olive oil, other herbs if you like, seasoning and a little harissa - as that goes with both squid and mackerel, in a handy 2-for-1 combo. We had this with salad (we have everything with sodding salad these days - see gardening posts) and chips.
Just while I think about it, there's this fab chicken dish I bastardized from Nigella involving rose wine and lavender which is sheer poetry on a summer's evening, but given the lavender is being a tad recalcitrant just now (or perhaps a little shy, given it's quite new), I can't make this yet. When I do, you'll know.