Food // Summer BBQ inspiration

June 03, 2019

It's that time of year again, BBQ season! From around May to September, we live for cooking outside as much as possible. I feel like cooking anything on the BBQ makes it taste better, and doesn't really feel as much as a chore as cooking inside can sometimes feel like? It's summer, the evenings are light and balmy, you can throw together some salads and then grill whatever meat/fish/veggies that you feel like. There's less to clear up and having people over for BBQs, and all sitting out in the garden, is definitely easier {and more fun} than serving a big roast dinner. I think I got my love of BBQing from my parents, they've always loved to BBQ whatever the weather! I share a lot of BBQ photos on Instagram and recently a few of you asked for a blog post with some inspiration for this summer so I thought I'd put together a quick post before I finish up for maternity leave. {A lot of these recipes were already on the blog but scattered across different posts over the last couple of years so thought I'd collate them here to make it easier to find}.

The biggest question is whether you use gas or charcoal? Our BBQ, from Aldi last summer, actually has both options but day to day we just use the gas side as it's so much quicker and easier, it's pretty much instant. But for bigger get togethers, or when we've got more time at a weekend, we'll use charcoal and it definitely does taste so much better {although takes ages to get to the right temperature and then can be harder to control the cooking on}.

First up, what to cook on the BBQ;

// 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. 

A lot of these don't really have recipes as such but some of our favourites include:

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. We get these from either Sainsbury's or Waitrose, or Aldi have lamb & mint burgers}

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

Spicy chicken {brush with jerk or chipotle paste}

Pitta Breads brushed with Garlic Oil and toasted on the BBQ 

- BBQed salmon with vegetable skewers {courgette, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers and onion} with griddled asparagus and couscous.

- Griddled aubergines and asparagus

- BBQed lamb koftas with a courgette, tomato and cucumber salad with flatbreads. We use a potato peeler on the courgettes to create long strips. 

- BBQed halloumi with vegetables, wholegrain rice and quinoa {the uncle Ben's microwave bags are great} with salad.

- BBQed chicken, or prawns, coated with chipotle paste with sweetcorn for burrito bowls. Cook brown rice and mix in some salad leaves,  black beans, salsa, grated cheese and guacamole.

- BBQed sausages with kale and wholewheat pasta.

I've also discovered the little jars of Jerk paste from Sainsbury's which are so delicious to brush onto chicken. Cook this with some extra veg on the BBQ and then serve with a microwaved brown rice/quinoa mix, some kale/salad, sweetcorn and cherry tomatoes. SO GOOD.

- I don't really like steak but it's always popular for Ben and my Parents on the BBQ

- Cheeseburgers, with plasticky American cheese and good buns.

- Big field mushrooms

Halloumi with lentils, salad and veg.

Secondly, sides;

Salads are a big one for BBQs;

You can throw together pretty much anything. A tomato & onion only salad, a french bean salad, a rice salad, potato salad, pasta salad, couscous salad, beetroot salad, crunchy slaw. 

For this mixed big salad 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.

Along with sides like houmous {if it's a lamb kofta/flatbread kind of dinner}, sweet potato fries {for cheeseburgers}, savoury rice for sausages/chicken, couscous, potatoes, the list goes on! The beauty of a BBQ is mixing everything together, and then hopefully having leftovers. 

// Desserts and drinks;

In the summer I think you want easy, light puddings. A few ideas;
Meringues with fresh fruit {to celebrate summer}, a chocolate cheesecake {see this recipe for an easy but delicious Nutella cheesecake to serve with summer berries}, an oreo chocolate torte {recipe online here}, a pavlova or mini pavlovas {recipe online here}, a strawberry flan {recipe here} or just bake some brownies {either Costco's Ghiardelli mix or these beetroot brownies} and serve with ice cream. 

Drink wise, we always get people to bring their own but I always make a big jug of infused water. Adding a combination of lemon, mint, cucumber or watermelon. 

What are your BBQ favourites? 

Hope this has helped! Let me know if you feel inspired from any of it.

R <3 xx 

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