Summer holidays are here and the barbecue season too! What a better way to spend time outside with family and friends than firing up the barbecue while topping up on Vitamin D in the sunshine and connecting with nature.
Holding a barbecue doesn’t have to be stressful, you do not have to be cook everything at once. Get your fire hot and then top it up with quality charcoal to keep the heat going – we use Real Charcoal made here in Perthshire, with all-natural fire lighters to ensure that the heat and the flavour of the smoke are just right for cooking.
Cooking on a barbecue is versatile – seasonal Scottish meat, seafood, veggies and even fruits work well. Staycation means have a holiday at home but you can still transport yourself by combining exotic international flavours to your marinade.
Start by preparing yourself a large drink, because you need to keep hydrated! A refreshing cocktail of summer fruits and citrus such as strawberries margaritas, mojito or pina colada should do the trick!
Preparing your meats by marinating them overnight means you are not only adding extra flavours but also tenderising the meat.
Every single marinade should contain some acidity, I prefer to use natural acid like lime, lemons, pineapple but also you could use any flavoured vinegar. Here are a couple of my favourite marinades for you to try at home.
- Grated garlic
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- Bunch of thyme, only the leaves.
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Make a paste with this and rub the chicken all over as if you are giving a massage and keep it in the fridge overnight.
Cooking a steak, pork chop or lamb cutlet requires very little extra effort – keeping it simple is better.
- Start right by getting quality Scottish meat – go to your local butcher and ask for local, outdoor-reared produce.
- Two or three ingredients should be enough. Salt, pepper and some herbs from the garden. But if you are using a big piece of meat such as lamb shoulder or brisket this requires a marinade that can be macerated overnight to break through the fibres to tenderise the meat.
- Samples of natural tenderisers are pineapple and onion. We all know how well pork goes with pineapple so save some of the pineapple juice from your pina colada and use it in the marinade.
- For a Mexican flavour on game you can use grated garlic, roasted cumin and lime, making a paste with it and rub it onto you wild boar sausages or pheasant adding extra dimension to your food.
- You can reduce cooking time by dicing the meat and making skewers. Have fun adding colourful vegetables such as peppers, heritage beets, carrots and fruit. If you are cooking a whole fish on the barbecue citrus fruits work really well.
- Don’t leave your vegetarian guests out – haloumi is a winner on skewers with pineapple, peppers and onions. You can use some of the same marinade to give them an extra dimension of flavour. Baked beetroots on the BBQ served with some goats cheese and toasted nuts is a colourful alternative too.
- To enhance your side dishes cut your baking potatoes into wedges, part boil, drain and dry before tossing in olive oil, salt, pepper and peri peri powder, wrap them in baking paper and then baking foil and place them in the BBQ to finish cooking.
- For a delicious simple salad, Scottish raspberries work brilliantly well in vinaigrette so don’t forget to toss a handful in with your vinegar (we love Orkney vinegar for its raw natural goodness) and Scottish rapeseed oil and season with Scottish blossom honey, herbs from the garden and salt and pepper.
- And to finish – why not bake some bananas on the BBQ, by simply peeling, sprinkling with cinnamon and a pinch of brown sugar and wrapping them in foil and baking over the BBQ and serve with a scoop of your ice cream.