FIRE UP THE BARBIE
I used to hate barbecues. Everyone I have ever been to was rubbish. The fire was never lit on time, the chicken pieces charred on the outside and raw in the middle, served on a paper plate. Try to cut them with a plastic knife in one hand and a glass in the other, as the rain start to pour down …it ain’t fun! And how fascinating to watch men who only ever go to the kitchen to throw away beer cans, suddenly seek to master the art of barbecuing!
But, dining al fresco is one of life’s simple pleasure, and since I spend a lot of time in my house in Provence, I have learned to enjoy cooking on the barbecue, and to give it some Mediterranean twists .
Barbecue Argentinian Style
Le Puingoin Bleu Restaurant, Grimaud
The prime enjoyment is being out with the guests and not stuck in the kitchen, the other, this type of cooking doesn’t need recipes. I like to keep entertaining simple. You can cook virtually anything on a barbecue, especially if you have an all-singing, all dancing model. Steaks, sausages or chops all taste better cooked out of doors. So do certain fish, like sardines, mackerel and herring. And have you ever tried kippers on the barbie?
Chez moi in Provence
On warm evenings when it’s too hot to eat indoors, lounging outside is a great joy. The smell from sizzling burgers on the fire, the cling of ice cubes in glasses, and the distant sound of children playing, seem to sum up what is best in outdoor entertaining.
Also, thankfully, with climate change, better equipment, and more experience, the doomed British barbie is a thing of the past. There are lots of well-designed barbecues on the market, easy to light, economic on charcoal and safe to use. Others operate on gas and can be left in the rain. More expensive ones can turn into smoking ovens, have rotisseries or kebab holders.
Delia Smith recommend self-lighting charcoal that comes in small bags which are placed on the tray complete. All you do is light the bag. The coals burn evenly, are ready to cooking in 20-30 minutes, and there’s no fuss or mess.
You can add extra flavour by scattering FRESH HERBS on the hot coal. Try rosemary or thyme …
When in Provence, I sprinkle LAVENDER.