Summer is just around the corner, which means one thing and one thing only: barbecue season
Why not push the boat out and add a few exciting extras to your usual go-to menu of burgers, sausages and potato salad? We fan the flames of inspiration for jazzing up your next garden party and upping your barbecue game.
1. Marinated halloumi
Halloumi adds a certain je ne sais quoi to a barbecue even without a layer of marinade. But baste a few slabs of this salty Cypriot cheese in chilli, garlic and a little olive oil and it takes it to another level. A few minutes on the grill and the cheese will bronze on the outside and heat through without losing any of its firm texture.
2. Fish kebabs
Fish kebabs are perfect as barbecue fodder as they cook relatively quickly. Make a skewer, slather a little olive oil across the flesh and don’t forget to include some nice veggies. The kebabs can be served to guests while you are waiting for other meat to cook through. Choose a fish that isn’t going to flake and fall through the grill, such as monkfish tail, tuna or halibut.
3. Homemade salsa
Impress your friends and family by whipping up a homemade salsa. All you need is tomatoes, onion, pepper and plenty of seasoning. Smother it on a burger or layer it on a hot dog to add an extra dimension of flavour. Great for dipping nachos into as well.
4. Corn on the cob
Certain vegetables are delicious when flame-grilled and corn on the cob is a shining example. The smoky flavour toasts the corn and is magical when smothered in butter and a dash of salt. Pepper and asparagus also work well.
5. Homemade brioche buns
Making your own bread requires a little effort, but the reaction from your guests will make it worth it. The time to create the bread mix is actually quite minimal, but the resulting dough needs two sessions of resting time: one to let it rise, then after a ‘knock back’, another period to let it rise again.
6. Barbecue ‘beer-can’ chicken
This may not be the prettiest way to cook a chicken (sticking a beer can, filled with beer, up its cavity) but it produces an incredibly moist, succulent result. The chicken is cooked sitting upright, balanced on the beer can. Cover the barbecue with its lid and leave to roast. Check the size of the bird to judge cooking times.
7. Sweet potato salad
Potato salad is a perennial barbecue favourite, but mix it up by creating a baby spinach, feta and sweet potato salad as an alternative. Litter pine nuts across the top and get extra points for adding some barbecued pepper or asparagus into the mix.
8. Bananas and melted chocolate
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the barbecue is solely the domain of savoury foods. Take a banana, slit the skin and stuff squares of chocolate in the gap. Wrap the whole thing in foil and whack it on the grill for about five minutes. The flesh of the banana will cook through, and the chocolate will melt into the fruit creating a messy, but insanely delicious, treat.
9. Barbecued mango
Chargrill mango on the barbecue for a delectable and different dessert for your family and friends. Paint a little olive oil on the cheeks before placing on the heat for a few minutes. Serve with a drizzle of honey, frozen yogurt and a sprinkling of crushed pistachio for a quirky pudding that will showcase your culinary skills.