Al Fresco Living // With the White Company {Part Two - Summer BBQ Recipes}

May 16, 2018

The change in season gives me so much new enthusiasm for cooking and coming up with new salads, fresh easy BBQ food and summery desserts. There's so much to celebrate food wise at this time of year too with asparagus, the first of the courgettes, Jersey Royal potatoes, summer berries and warm, al fresco evenings to enjoy it all. It's not just about the food though, I'm always on the lookout for serving dishes and platters to share it all with friends & family when entertaining - naturally I turn to The White Company. This weekend we hosted the first BBQ of the season at ours and I wanted to come up with something different to the usual burgers and sausages that we'll all no doubt do to death this summer. After a little reciple planning I created a feast and it was SO delicious - if I do say so myself. Lots of you were asking for the recipes so I've shared all the food below;  {this is part two of three in this outdoor living collaboration with The White Company}.

// Salads

Since that heatwave last weekend I've been obsessed with a couple of salads that I've been making for lunch in the week. This summer I'm aiming to make a batch of salads on a Sunday and then keep them in a box in the fridge for speedy summery lunches. For Saturday's BBQ I made two of them;

I adore this large heart stoneware dish {which is fully ovenproof and dishwasher safe so will be perfect year round, for both warm Winter dishes, a huge crumble or big salads for BBQs in the summer} along with these olive wood salad servers to make you feel like you're in the Med and this striped table mat to add a little Summery cotton to your table.

This heart serving dish is the perfect size to create two salads in one {or one really big one}. I used a base of a bistro salad mix {with lamb's lettuce and shredded beetroot} across the base before creating a divide down the middle. 

On one side I made a French inspired carrot and chickpea salad;
- Grate around 3 carrots {I made a big batch as I love the leftovers} either by hand or using a processor and then add a can of chickpeas. Dress with lots of lemon juice and really good balsamic vinegar. 

And on the other side, a Courgette ribbon, Asparagus and Pea Salad. 
Use a vegetable peeler to create courgette ribbons, going the whole way down to create long ribbons. Steam some asparagus briefly in the microwave for 2 minutes {or roast or BBQ, you want it *just* cooked, not overdone} and microwave a small bowl of frozen peas {or use fresh if available}. Then mix with your salad and add some torn mint leaves. In my opinion, the more mint the better! Dress with lemon juice and then let people dress more on the table if they like with oil & vinegar.

I like to try and prepare as much as I can before the event, leaving everything ready in the fridge. 

The set of three rattan trays really are so handy for a whole host of reasons this summer. For condiments, for decorative candles around the home, for serving desserts on in the garden, for drinks or small bowls. I love the option of mixing them all up and they break a table display up adding some extra interest, the white washed rattan giving an effortless summery air about them. 

We served foccacia bread and olives as a little starter whilst the BBQ was cooking and used this statement olive wood board to present it on - a board perfect for summery entertaining, each board is completely unique and I think this would make for a really lovely gift as well as being super useful in your own home.

// BBQ Meat

I feel that BBQing makes pretty much any meat/fish/vegetable more delicious than regular cooking would make it. There are so many options to choose from, salmon, whole fish, making up vegetable kebabs, creating a build your own burger station, classic really good pork sausages from the Butchers, spicy chicken, marinated pork, the list goes on. I guess base your menu on what your guests are most likely to eat, and whether you need to cater for vegetarians or not {we didn't on Saturday}. Then there's the huge charcoal v gas debate and what marinades to use which I'll save for another day. The Times had a really good BBQ guide the other day talking all about this.

On Saturday we served;

Prawn & Chorizo Skewers {make sure you soak your bamboo skewers in water for a few hours first to avoid them catching fire}

Lamb & Mint Koftas {my favourite}

Halloumi {simply sliced into strips with a little chilli oil brushed on}

Spicy chicken {which my Parents were in charge of}

Pitta Breads brushed with Garlic Oil and toasted on the BBQ 

I left the boys to the BBQing, which they did so quite happily even in the rain with an umbrella over the top!

We cooked on gas for ease on Saturday with the rain, but I'm looking forward to our first charcoal BBQ of the summer on a hot day.

This oversized serving platter was the ideal size for all of the BBQed food on Saturday but would look equally amazing stacked high with a pavlova or desserts or a big cheese board.

Full plates all round!

Now, let's talk PUDDING. Because it will always be my favourite course, and I have such a sweet tooth. I made some old faithful mini pavlovas along with a new recipe for a chocolate oreo no bake torte. Both were ridiculously delicious and SO easy.

// Mini Pavlovas

Whilst one big pavlova is impressive all stacked high with clouds of cream and fruit, it can go soggy and crack and gets a bit messy when you're trying to serve up. But I think that individual meringues are a lot easier in all aspects and still look impressive when displayed. 

I used this heart stoneware bowl for a big bowl of strawberries {I'm so heart obsessed} and one of these whitewashed rattan trays to display the pavlovas. 

Use shop bought meringues {I think Sainsbury's Taste the Difference or M&S meringues are the best} or make some if you're feeling like a Domestic Goddess. Then simply top with vanilla cream {add a couple of tsp's of vanilla extract to your whipping cream and don't overwhip, you want it soft and silky not stiff} and fruit. That's it! 

// Oreo Chocolate Torte

Probably the best new recipe I've discovered in a while, a simple 4 ingredient, no bake chocolate torte with an oreo base. 

I found the recipe online here from Cath's Cookery Blog, and apart from the dark oreo crumbs getting everywhere it was so quick & easy - and one you can make a day in advance. 

For the tart shell. You'll need a loose bottomed tart tin.
42 Oreo cookies
120 g unsalted butter melted

For the filling
450 g dark chocolate
100 ml double cream

To decorate
Berries and chopped nuts.

- Place the Oreo cookies into a food processor and blend until you have fine crumbs. If you do not have a food processor, place in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin
- Add the melted butter to the Oreo cookies and stir until the consistency is like damp sand.
- Transfer the mixture to a loose bottom tart tin and press down firmly with a glass or back of a spoon.
- Place in the fridge to set for 30 minutes (it should be firm so leave for longer if necessary).
- Pour the cream on top of the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl/jug. Put in the microwave for 40 second bursts, stirring well in between, until you have a smooth ganache.
- Remove the tart shell from the fridge and pour in the ganache. If you have any air bubbles, gently tap the tin on the bench to bring them to the surface and pop.
- Place the tart back in the fridge to set for one hour.
- Remove the tart from the fridge and the tin then transfer to a serving platter. Top with berries and whipped cream.

If I made it again I'd play around with the chocolate ganache ratios as it was very hard, set chocolate rather than a soft ganache. Maybe it needed a little more cream? Or maybe just get it out the fridge a bit earlier than I did so it softens a little. Regardless, it tasted insanely delicious.

The fun part was the decorating.

Berries make anything look pretty and summery.

// Drinks

Hot summer days need some cooling down and I adore the simplicity of this handmade, mouth blown jug for infusing water. I added cucumber, mint and lemon but there are so many combinations you could use {watermelon and mint is another favourite of ours} with lots of ice. 

I like the idea of having infused water jugs on a tray, either to leave on a table or to carry outside into the garden.

and then there's always prosecco too! {topped with a strawberry}.

Everybody commented on how lovely the food was, and Ben's Mum said it was a very grown up BBQ without a burger or sausage in sight. I think these desserts might be my new go to puddings of the summer. 

Serve with really good vanilla ice cream and extra berries.

It was a really lovely, food filled evening.

Back with outdoor living for the garden next...  in the meantime you can shop all of the outdoor products here and use the code RVKLOVES15 for 15% off orders over £50 with free postage until Saturday 19th May. 

R <3 xx 

{This post is sponsored by The White Company, a brand I have truly loved for years and years}

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  1. I am so glad you love the Oreo chocolate tart as much as I do Rebecca, it definitely is a crowd pleaser. Your BBQ looks amazing and I will be adding the amazing looking salads to my list of things to make for our next one.


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