What better use of a long lazy summer’s evening than to gather, cook and feast on the abundance of seasonal fruit and veg available now.
Outdoor cooking can be much more interesting and varied than you’d imagine by cooking not just above the coals, but also in the embers - bringing an exciting range of textures and flavour to your plate.
Classic Mediterranean veg such as aubergines, peppers and courgettes are great for simple kebabs, but take this to the next level by creating a new twist on classic ratatouille.
Devised by Riverford chef Bob Andrew, BBQ blistered ratatouille uses veg that is burnt and blistered before the blackened skins are removed to reveal tender flesh beneath. Everything is roughly chopped and dressed in a simple tomato sauce. Aggressive in the making, but subtle and smoky on the plate.
Embers hold their heat for a long time – think of them like an oven: a surrounding cloak of heat into which you can tuck tasty morsels. If you have a wood-fired BBQ, try making ember-baked roots with garlic and carrot tops, expertly demonstrated and served at past Riverford Pop-Up Feast extravaganzas. Thyme and lemon scented beetroot, potatoes and carrots are cooked in parcels nestled at the bottom of the ash-coloured embers, giving a beautiful depth of flavour to the finished dish.
The idea of putting fruit on a BBQ may seem strange but quickly griddling fruit really adds to the taste, contrasting sweet and smoky flavours and caramelising some of the sugars.
Grilled nectarines with orange blossom, ginger yogurt and almonds is a heavenly combination and simplicity itself to make.
Fresh herbs and creamy yoghurt with salty tang of feta make this refreshing grilled watermelon, mint, whipped feta and cumin recipe really zing too. Super quick to cook on a searing hot grill, it is the perfect summer plate.
For more top tips on open fire cooking, this piece on how to cook veg on open fire has all the info you’ll need to become an outdoor cooking expert in no time.