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!