We've been house-sitting for Dave's folks while they're away. We're loving spending time with the cats (who now live here) and also making use of the garden. Living in a city centre flat with no outside space, I hadn't realised just how much I was missing it!
I've always loved a good BBQ (see a previous post here), and casual eating alfresco with friends. It shouldn't be stressful; for the meaty element we usually go with some pre-made high quality burgers or sausages - in this case, sweet cider, sage & mustard porkies from the glorious Gloucester Services.
When it comes to your side dishes, move away from packet mixed coleslaw and bagged salad and try something bit more exciting. It doesn't have to be anything hard or time consuming and lots of it can be made ahead of time. Here are my suggestions, all measured up for four people:
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
- Quarter 1 large juicy salad tomato
- Rip up a ball of mozzarella
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil
- Season with freshly picked thyme, sea salt & black pepper.
- Thickly slice red onion, courgette & peppers
- Thread them onto metal skewers with whole chestnut mushrooms
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with peri peri spice mix (we like the Aldi version)
- Cook on the BBQ for around 15 mins until the onion is cooked through and the peppers are showing charred bits.
- Boil 500g (1 small bag) of jersey royal new potatoes for 10 minutes (until they slip off a knife)
- Drain and pour into a large bowl
- Mix in 2 finely sliced spring onions & 1/2 a small red onion
- Season with snipped chives, sea salt & black pepper.
Stuffed Romano Peppers
- Cut the ends off 2 long romano peppers and slice in half, removing the inside seeds and membrane.
- Mix garlic & herb cream cheese with 2 finely sliced spring onions & black pepper
- Stuff the pepper halves with the cream cheese and wrap in foil
- Cook on the BBQ for five mins until the peppers have softened, then remove them from foil and place straight onto the grill bars to blacken on the outside for a few minutes.
Because everyone loves Halloumi, be a bit naughty and go for two packets.
- Thickly slice two packs of halloumi
- Put into a bowl with 2 tbsp tomato ketchup, 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 finely diced red chilli (seeds removed)
- Gently mix and leave to marinate for up to 1 hour.
- Cook straight on the BBQ grill bars and turn after a couple of minutes. Once both sides are charred, take off and eat immediately!
Once you've done your prep and your friends have arrived, all that's left is to get the pimms loaded up with mint, cucumber, lemons and oranges, sit back on your deck chair and enjoy. After all, a BBQ is the one occassion when everyone wants to help with the cooking! Enjoy!
Want some more ideas? Try these additional BBQ side dishes from some of my favourite food bloggers: