Many of my aunts and uncles haven't yet met Master Jay, even though he's coming on for ten months old, so we invited them all round for a barbeque - yes, I know it's September, and I know it's England, but we're nothing if not optimistic in this house - and we duly convened for the ritual of burned burgers and abandoned salad. But of course, chez Jay we try to do things a little differently.
We did have some burgers and sausages (none of which I made, I'm afraid) we also managed to put out:
- Mackerel with a spicy dressing: both Mrs Jay and I love mackerel but have a golden rule never to cook it inside the house, so every bbq features them in some form. Sometimes in the summer we even light the fires simply so that we can sup on this delicious, cheap, healthy luxury, but we fear this may have been our last chance this year.
- Pork with a lemon and herb crust. Brilliant and simple, a marinade of parsley, fennel, olive oil, bay and lemon can be applied to the pork the night before and the whole thing grilled quickly with some nice flame coming from the olive oil. We should have had more of these, they disappeared quickly.
- Chicken tikka skewers: Delia would be proud, we cheated here. Simply mix up some supermarket brand curry paste and some yoghurt, and marinade the chicken overnight. Once they're skewered and grilled, the meat is moist and delicate and takes on all the spices. And it's p!ss easy.
I can definitely recommend St. Judes but they're not the only ones around. What's the best beer for you? A refreshing lager? A potent stout from Dorset? A lovely IPA? The press tells me that real ale is making a comeback - what do you think? Would you prefer the certainty of knowing what you're getting from a recognised brand or do you like to try a little something wherever you go?
As usual, all recipes available on request.