A couple of weekends ago Will and I hosted our first proper barbeque of the year on a sunny spring Saturday. I was faced with a house of hungry police officers – a daunting thought to say the least – but luckily I had more than enough food. As always you end up over-catering for fear of not having enough. Imagine finishing a meal and seeing someone picking carefully but desperately around the last chicken leg trying to find some more meat on it – I couldn’t bare it!
I have to say it was a real success though. As young new-comers to the dinner party scene, we planned everything down to the last detail and spent the whole day cleaning the house, shopping then preparing food.
I kept it simple and went for chicken drumsticks in a barbecue marinade, ribs (brought along buy a guest) in a sticky barbecue sauce and Greek lamb kebabs with pitta bread and Tzatziki. These went down a storm with the hungry meat-eaters.
For the lamb kebabs: marinate lamb leg steaks in olive oil, salt, pepper, a pinch of dried oregano and a squeeze of lemon juice for about an hour. Instead of cutting into cubes and skewering I leave the steaks whole so I can barbecue them quickly over very hot flames and keep them pink inside (if they are in small cubes on a skewer they can dry out very quickly). I then let them rest, slice and pile up the juicy pink pieces of meat on a warm plate for people to tuck into.
Alongside the piles of meat I served a classic homemade coleslaw (a mix of thinly shredded cabbage, carrot, red onion and grated apple dressed in mayonnaise and lemon juice), potato salad (dressed in natural yogurt with lemon zest and seasoning, chopped chives and then topped with crispy pieces of bacon) plus bowls of salad an lots of crunchy bread.
The desserts were the real stars of the show, a deliciously creamy vanilla baked cheesecake (which I have posted the recipe for on a previous post) with a bowl of fresh raspberry sauce, mini pavlovas and a gorgeously gooey soggy chocolate orange cake (look out for my next post for the recipe), which was a take on a Nigella Christmas recipe that I fiddled with. Apparently they were all talking about the dessert at the station the next day – result!
At the end of the day as long as there is a good supply of cold beers, soft drinks and wine you’re on to a winner. Barbecues need to be relaxed and stress free. Minimal use of cutlery is a good tip (we used plastic plates to cut down on washing up). Most people managed with just a fork and their hands. Now we just have to wait for another sunny weekend to have another go.