Summertime eating….

Al fresco eating and cooking is one of my favourite things about the summer, taking advantage of the warmth and the opportunity to sit outside at any occasion. Having a gas Barbecue means that grilled meat or fish with salad and a punchy dressing is a speedy evening meal, although the charcoal purists may disagree that the flavour isn’t quite the same!

Having recently come back from a week in Portugal where we indulged in amazing seafood and iberico pork, the temperature in London had hit the high 20’s… so it was straight back into alfresco dining! Lamb kebabs are a family BBQ favourite, which I served with a blackened aubergine salad, brown & wild rice pilaf and my home made Zhoug (check out The magic of Zhoug recipe from around the same time last year).

I marinated chunks of lamb neck fillet (probably about 1kg) with half tub of plain yoghurt, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon of chilli powder, 3 cloves crushed garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and the juice of half a lemon. This marinated for about 3 hours, and then I threaded it onto skewers with peppers and red onions before cooking over a hot grill for 20 minutes, turning regularly.

The blackened aubergine salad was inspired by Baba Ghanoush, but much lighter. I blackened the aubergines over the grill until the skin was blistered and it took on a smoky flavour, and the inside was soft. Once they had cooled, I peeled off the skin and roughly chopped/mashed the flesh in a bowl. To this I added salt to taste, 1 small clove of crushed garlic, juice of half a lemon, a generous glug of good olive oil and a few sprigs of chopped fresh dill, then left to let the flavours develop for about 30 minutes.

I know that not everyone is an aubergine fan, but to me, smoky aubergines and grilled lamb are a match made in heaven, especially with a generous spoonful of the spicy, citrussy zhoug or even Tzatziki or plain greek yoghurt.

Here’s to a summer of tasty barbecues and outdoor dining!

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