5 Jun 2012

A summer (surprise) party.

It was one of my very dear friend's birthday recently and her fabulous boyfriend organised her a surprise party.  And by organised I mean he made a date and invited guests, organising the actual 'party' bit got a little overlooked,  so as the morning arrived I received a slightly panicked phone call, rolled up my sleeves and began frantically cooking.  It was a rush, but with the help of a couple friends and the sun shining through the windows, we made a pretty mean spread.
It made me super nostalgic for home though; during the summer months my mother pretty much cooks every meal on the barbecue.  The communal atmosphere whilst impatiently crowding round the barbecue waiting for food to cook with ice cold rose or beers in hand are sure signs of a good evening (even if clouds start to form).  So I thought I'd share a couple of my favourite super simple recipes for the sunny barbecue days.

Courgette (or Aubergine) and Cumin Salt.

These are ridiculously simple and the perfect addition to any barbecue or served cold at a picnic.  If you have left overs they make a mean sandwich filler when combined with a nice goats cheese or feta.
Simply mix a 2-3 teaspoons of ground cumin into a small dish and add a teaspoon of salt, mix it into a thick paste with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Try it, add more salt or more cumin depending how salty you like it, then brush it onto both sides of thinly sliced (length ways) courgette or aubergine rounds then barbecue (or grill - depending on the weather)!

Carrot and Orange Salad.

This salad transports really well, we always make a tub of it to take on camping barbecues as normal leafy salad tends to wilt in transit. Grate 3-4 largeish carrots (really just do as many as you feel are necessary) and place in a nice dish.  Tear over some mint leaves and season with freshly ground black pepper.  For the dressing, squeeze 1/2 - 1 orange into a bowl and add 1-2 tbsp of Red Wine Vinegar (scale the dressing up or down depending on how many carrots you have grated) and then bung it over the carrots.

A super simple marinade for vegetable skewers.

1tbsp of honey
1-2 tbsp of olive oil
1 diced chilli
1 preserved lemon, peel diced (not pulp) or zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

Mix it all together in a bowl and adjust the quantities to taste (James likes his with a tonne more honey than I do and I like mine with a couple chillies in), season lightly and use to marinade vegetable chunks and even chuck in some white fish or chicken or even halloumi before skewering and barbecuing. Do what you will with it, it is pretty darn good.






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