One of the joys of this glorious summer weather is eating outdoors. And there's nothing quite like getting friends and family together for a BBQ, whether in the garden or on the beach. If you're planning a gathering and are bored with the usual sausages and potato salads, we've got 5 delicious recipes for a winning BBQ.
Need some culinary inspiration? Tie on your apron, and get those coals fired up.
1.BBQ Teriyaki Chicken
This is so easy and guaranteed to please a crowd. You need to make it in advance, which leaves you more time on the day to mingle and catch up with your friends. Be sure to have plenty of napkins to hand as things are likely to get stiiiiicky!
In a large bowl whisk together 1 cup water, 1 cup soy sauce, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup pineapple juice, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1tbs crushed garlic, 1tbs grated fresh ginger and a grind of black pepper. Take 3lbs skinless and boneless chicken thighs and pound each thigh, between two sheets of clingfilm. Poke holes in each one using a fork, then place the chicken into the sauce. Cover and leave to marinade in the fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight. Remove from the fridge one hour before cooking, then lift the thighs out of the marinade and grill until thoroughly cooked.
You can keep some of the marinade back (before you've added the chicken) and heat it through as an additional pour-over hot sauce. For winter you can also bake the thighs, rather than barbecuing them - cook for one hour in an oven preheated to 175C.
2.Vegan corn burgers (serves 4)
Drain 1 tin of chickpeas and 1 tin of sweetcorn, then put into a food processor. Add a handful of coriander leaves and stalks, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, the zest of a lemon, a pinch of salt and 3 tbs plain flour. Pulse until fully combined but keeping its texture - you don't want a smooth paste.
Dust a surface with plain flour, then shape the mixture into 4 burgers, each around 2cm thick. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. Heat on an oiled grill tray over the BBQ for 5 minutes, turn them over, then cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with wholemeal buns, tomato, lettuce, vegan cheese and ketchup or relish.
3.Eggplant and pomegranate salad
Based on Ottolenghi's recipe, here the eggplants are grilled on the BBQ rather than roasted in the oven. This adds a lovely smokiness to the salad without crowding out its freshness and lightness. Make the dressing in advance to save time, and all you need to do is throw the eggplants on the grill and assemble everything.
To make, infuse a pinch of saffron in 3 tbs hot water for 5 minutes, the mix with 180g Greek yoghurt, 1 crushed clove of garlic, 3 tbs olive oil, 3 tbs lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth and glossy, then put in the fridge to cool. Slice two eggplants lengthways into 1cm width slices, then brush with olive oil and season. Grill until soft and golden, being careful not to let them burn or crisp as they can become bitter. Layer in a dish and spoon over the dressing, along with 2 tbs toasted pine nuts, a handful of pomegranate seeds and torn fresh basil leaves.
4.Prawn and lamb kebabs
No BBQ is complete without a kebab, but if you want something a bit different try these Spanish-style prawn and lamb kebabs. Great to make in advance so there's less to do when people arrive.
Trim the fat off 450g lamb leg steaks and place in a bowl. Soak 24 skewer sticks in cold water for 10 minutes, whilst you prepare the marinade by mixing together 2 tbs olive oil, 2 tsp crushed fennel seeds, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, 2 tsp smoked paprika and 1 tbs red wine vinegar. Tip two thirds of the marinade over the lamb steaks and leave overnight. On the morning of the BBQ tip 165g raw, peeled king prawns into another bowl and cover with the rest of the marinade. Leave for two hours.
Make a dipping sauce by combining a handful chopped parsley (cilantro), a finely sliced shallot, 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1 tbs dried chilli flakes, 4 tbs olive oil and 2 tbs sherry vinegar. Divide the meat between 12 skewers and then slide 2-3 prawns on the remaining 12. Cook on the BBQ over the hot coals but not in the flames until cooked through. Serve with the parsley dipping sauce.
This is the perfect summer pudding, celebrating fresh raspberries or strawberries and rich cream in all their glory. This is best prepared separately and then combined just as people arrive or need desert. It's easy and oh-so-delicious. Quantities will depend on who's eating so as a guide use 4 meringue nests, 400g double cream, 500g of fruit per four people.
Crush the meringues in a large bowl, or divided into four desert glasses. Puree half the fruit in a blender (you can skip this bit and it'll still be delicious) and chop the rest if using strawberries - raspberries can remain whole. Whip the cream, and when ready to eat fold this into the meringues and add the fruit. Drizzle over the puree, if using, and top with a sprig of fresh mint.
What are your go-to BBQ recipes?