Summer is here which means al fresco aplenty and Katie Kingsley has rustled up some delicious ideas to enjoy on the side!
Giant couscous salad with roasted peppers, tomatoes, pesto and feta
If you can’t find Israeli/giant couscous, small pasta shapes or orzo work well. This salad packs a lot of flavour; a more than worthy accomplice to any barbecued protein! Measure 200g giant couscous (I used wholewheat), rinse well and add to a pan of simmering vegetable stock (500ml). Once back to a rolling boil, turn down to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 6-8 minutes then drain, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, stir and leave to cool.
Cut two red and one yellow pepper into chunky slices and place cut-side up on a foil-lined baking tray. Halve a pint of cherry tomatoes and place with them in the tray then slice a whole garlic bulb through the middle and place, cut-side-up, in the tray. Drizzle with olive or rapeseed oil and season before placing in a heated oven for about 40-60 minutes and the edges are nicely charred. Remove the garlic halfway through (it will have turned a light gold) and cloves and pound into a paste with a pestle and mortar with a sprinkle of rock salt and glug of extra virgin olive oil. Stir the paste through the couscous then add the roast veg, dollop on fresh pesto and crumble feta on top.
Griddled cos with anchovy butter
Almost everyone who tries this will want the recipe and it’s a pleasure to disclose in its refreshing modesty. Ideal for barbecues, there is something alluringly unconventional but worthwhile in grilling the salad. Halve three or four cos lettuces then heat a grill pan or barbecue to hot, brush your cos with olive oil and grill cut-side-down for a few minutes before turning and grilling for an extra few minutes. You want nicely charred griddle lines and edges.
Transfer to a serving dish. Use a small pan to melt 80g butter then sauté two garlic cloves until golden before adding three finely chopped anchovy fillets, 2tbsp of finely chopped rosemary, the grated rind of a lemon and juice of half. Season to taste and drizzle over your charred lettuce.
Toasted caramel pineapple with coconut ice cream
Dress this dessert up into an exotic sundae with chocolate, coconut shavings and rum or keep it simple on a platter with scoops of ice cream and generous drizzles of caramel sauce. End your barbecue on a high as pineapple is said to contain significant amounts of the feelgood chemical serotonin. Peel and core a pineapple then cut into about 10-12 wedges. Place wedges on the barbecue and cook for a few minutes on each side until you get griddle lines then transfer to a serving dish.
To make your caramel sauce, measure 100g granulated sugar into a large clean pan, heat to medium and once the sugar has started to melt shake the pan occasionally until all the sugar has melted. Cook and stir with a spatula until the sugar has turned a light brown then add 30g butter and whisk vigorously until the butter has melted with the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and add 60ml of single cream, whisking rapidly again until combined. If you have any sugar crystals, pass the caramel through a metal sieve, leave to cool then drizzle sparingly over charred pineapple and ice cream scoops.
Easiest ever flatbreads with herb butter
I have made these countless times; a delicious accompaniment to any barbecue. I like to pre-roll these so when people arrive, you aren’t in and out the kitchen all day – just separate them with baking paper or cling film. Place 350g natural yoghurt with 350g self-raising flour into a large bowl then add 1tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt. Use your hand to bring the dough together (it will feel a bit sticky so add more flour until you can).
Once you have the dough in one lump, give it a bit of a knead in the bowl then lightly flour your work surface and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece out to about 5mm thick and cook on a hot barbecue or griddle pan for one or two minutes on each side. Melt butter and sauté minced garlic cloves before adding fresh herbs then brush the herb butter over the flatbreads. Enjoy your summer!