I love any excuse to eat outside, even in winter if it’s not raining, but it’s only during the summer months that I get an enthuastic response from my family if I suggest eating outdoors. As we’ve a little one, and her food always ends up over the floor, it’s easier to eat outside as I don’t then have to mop the floor every day! We have a Weber gas BBQ which is so easy to use as it just needs turning on and heating for a short time and it’s ready to use and is quicker than waiting for charcoal to heat up.
I find it useful to keep some marinades made up ready in the fridge which can be used, as the name suggests, to marinade food but also as a sauce to serve with grilled meats and vegetables. The important thing to remember is not to marinade raw meat in a sauce, and then use any of the same sauce to brush over the meat when it’s cooked. If you think you want to save some of the sauce to serve with the meat, then save some and keep it separate so that the raw meat doesn’t contaminate it.
I tend to cook a lot of fish on the BBQ, particularly tuna and I love the Honey and Soy Marinade for it which is perfect served with a fruity mango salsa which I sometimes add some freshly chopped coriander to. I try to buy really fresh tuna and to cook it on the day I buy it as I like it best when it’s not cooked all the way though and is still pink in the middle. For me, I like to sear it on both sides and serve it like that, but my husband prefers to have it cooked all the way through – so rather like cooking steak, everyone has their own preference on how they like it.
Another recipe that I like (when raw prawns are on special offer as they are at Ocado this week, until next Tuesday) are the Prawn Kebabs with mayonnaise dip. If you’re counting the calories, then omit the dip and the prawns make a low calorie meal. If you cook too many prawns, then they are nice left to go cold and stirred into a pasta salad. If you’re cooking for lots of people, then you can add some vegetables to the skewers to reduce the cost per skewer because with just prawns they can work out quite expensive, but try adding some pieces of red pepper or courgette between the prawns, and brush with olive oil before cooking so that the vegetables don’t dry out too much.
I think that the worst part of any BBQ is the cleaning up afterwards, and I tend to be quite lazy and after I’ve finished cooking a meal I leave the BBQ on for a bit so that any residue carbonises and I can then rub it off using a wire brush which makes it easier and less of a hassle.
So make the most of it while the weather lasts!