Searching for the Great British ‘summer’
It seems summer has been and gone already and it was nice while it lasted. Looks like we called it on last week’s post. It’s such a shame, but we can’t say we aren’t used to it here up north. Manchester is hands down one of the rainiest places on earth, second to perhaps the Amazon rainforest. At least the jungle is warm and rain falls vertically rather than horizontally as it does here, and we would pick jaguars over scabby urban foxes any day – at least they’re somewhat majestic…
“There really isn’t any institution quite like the Great British (indoor) Barbecue.”
“Be that as it may, a little rain never stopped us Brits, we are made of stronger stuff and armed with an anorak and a golf umbrella nothing can stop us, except thunder and lightning of course. As long as it is summer by name, it is barbecue season for us and what better an occasion than to treat Daddy-dearest this Father’s Day than by firing up the grill.
Despite the men in your life telling you otherwise, there isn’t much art to cooking on the grill. There is, however, great skill needed to light and keep the coals burning. However, for the sake of you father’s ego and long withstanding gender rolls… you can leave the grilling up to your old man. Failing that, invest in a gas barbecue; they are much easier to use and clean.
“Made with lots of good quality olive oil, lemon juice and herbs like mint and parsley, it is really like summer in a bowl.”
You can put what you want on the BBQ. Meat lovers can have a field day with sausages, ribs, steak or hamburgers. Go and have a butchers at your local supermarket or independent meat provider, often they will have marinated delicacies ready to buy with minimal sticky fingers for you. Vegetarians don’t need to feel left out. Throw some corn on the cob on the grill and be sure to baste with garlic or chilli butter. Chargrill bell peppers stuffed with feta cheese, or halloumi cheese dressed skewers are also great choices for the ethically conscious folks out there.
Fish fanatics are in for a treat too; G&T love fish. T has many memories of freshly caught trout on the grill just minutes from the river. Keep the fish whole and gutted if possible, as this retains a lot of flavour and the crispy charred skin is just delicious. Stick shellfish like prawns, crayfish, scallops or langoustines on a skewer or in this fancy fish basket we bought from John Lewis, pricey as it was it really will save you life whilst BBQ-ing (no more peeling your seafood off the grill.) This makes it much less fiddly to turn while they cook, and your finger tips will surely thank you.
If we wrote a recipe for every imperative component of a barbecue we would be here for a century (albeit, a very delicious century). We felt the best thing to relay to you would be a fool proof, summery, yummy marinade. This recipe is so diverse as it goes with red meat, chicken, fish, shellfish and veggies. You literally cannot go wrong with this one. It’s made with lots of good quality olive oil, lemon juice and herbs like mint and parsley, it is really like summer in a bowl.
Now, in terms of timing, longer is always better and if you can think that far ahead, 24 hours will give you the best result. If that isn’t possible (because seriously, who can think that far ahead?) anything more than an hour will work well too. Serve your Father’s Day feast with all your favorited salads, new potatoes and a nice bottle of Dad’s favourite tipple.
Don’t let the cloud put you off, and if all else fails chuck the food under the grill and bring it all inside. There really isn’t any institution quite like the Great British (indoor) Barbecue. Don’t forget to give your Dad some love, and remember it’s the one day a year you should laugh at his jokes.
Let us be your BBQ heroes this Father’s Day.
See you next Thursday,
The Goes-with-Anything Marinade
5 tbsp. good quality olive oil
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
Juice and zest of 2-3 lemons
Pinch of sugar
Handful of parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. capers
3 sprigs of mint, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk with a fork to combine with the oil. Pour the marinade over the meat, fish or vegetables in a large tray and rub in well with your hands. You can wear gloves to do this if you like, but make sure you clean your hands before and after ya’ filthy animal. If you are using meat or fish, it is a good idea to make small cuts in the surface. This process is called scoring, and this helps the marinade seep into the meat to provide maximum flavour and succulence.
Cover the tray with cling film or foil and place in the fridge. Now, in terms of timing, longer is always better and if you can think that far ahead, 24 hours will give you the best result. If that isn’t possible, anything more than an hour will work well to.
Once marinated, take out the meat/fish/veggies and pop it on a hot grill. Save the excess juice and baste it from time to time to keep things moist. Timings will depend on what your cooking, but always cut into it and check before serving, barbeques are renowned for their trickery. Our sea bass cooked in about 15 minutes, and that was in the pouring rain.