The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FOOD & DRINK -

E at­ing al fresco is as good as it gets in the sum­mer. Smoky bar­be­cued fish, crisp fresh sal­ads and re­fresh­ing puds, all washed down, of course, with a glass of fruity Pimm’s or some nice cold beers — per­son­ally, I can’t think of any­thing bet­ter. With that in mind, I’ve got bril­liant chef An­drew Parkinson, who used to head up the kitchen for us at Fif­teen and is now at Brasserie Zedel in Lon­don, and won­der­ful pas­try chef Dean McClumpha, who works his magic at my Bar­be­coa restau­rant, to show you how to make the most of out­door din­ing. Their recipes are all about fan­tas­tic flavour and tex­ture com­bi­na­tions that’ll be a hit ev­ery time.

Monk­fish is a won­der­fully meaty fish, so it cooks re­ally well on the bar­be­cue. Skew­er­ing and grilling it with pancetta-wrapped pieces of crispy fo­cac­cia gives you that un­usual but un­de­ni­ably tasty combo of meat and fish. The ke­babs are also cost-ef­fec­tive as they’re bulked out with other tasty in­gre­di­ents like bread and onions that are cheaper but work re­ally well to­gether. Try serv­ing your ke­babs with a fresh, mixed-leaf salad like this one. The con­trast be­tween the sweet­ness of the ap­ples, the tang of the vine­gar and the sharp, creamy silk­i­ness of the cheese is in­cred­i­ble.

And for a sweet fin­ish, with lay­ers of Prosecco and straw­berry jelly (or Cham­pagne if you want to make it even more spe­cial), beau­ti­ful home­made vanilla cus­tard, whipped cream and berries, this straw­berry tri­fle is as naughty as it gets — but what would sum­mer be with­out it?

Ask your fish­mon­ger to re­move the pinkish mem­brane from the monk­fish fil­lets be­fore you skewer them – if you don’t do this, they’ll be tough and rub­bery once cooked.

Keep tast­ing and tweak­ing the mixed-leaf salad dress­ing to get the bal­ance spot on. Some blue cheeses are saltier than oth­ers so add sea­son­ing grad­u­ally – you can add more but you can’t take it away!

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