Let’s Get Grilling!

Maybe not right now in the UK but in Colorado we have glorious summer weather that has us all wanting to be outside, and that includes firing up the barbie (grill) – and with the  imminent start of  ‘The Season’ in the U.K. I hope they’ll get theirs soon!

You may have your favorite way of grilling outdoors but some people are always looking for inspiration, so here are a few of my favorite summer grillables and side dishes from over the years, along with links to each recipe – hopefully this will become your summer ‘go-to’ blog post.

BTW, if you’re a baby-back rib-eater, you’ll need to look elsewhere because I don’t do ribs – that said, I think you’ll find enough here to please everyone.

I’ve also thrown in some perfect outdoorsy summer desserts, so keep scrolling…

…and happy grilling!

Recipe Links:

Chicken Edemame Burger with an Avocado Cucumber Dressing

Asian Spiced Turkey Burger

Mustard-Dill Beefburger

Grilled Flatiron Steak Salad, Lemongrass Dressing

Grilled Salmon with Lime Leaves and Chili

Yellowfin Tuna Wasabi Sliders

Veggie-Portobello Mushroom Burger

Rosemary & Lemon Grilled Shrimp

Tuscan Bread & Tomato Salad (Panzanella)

Pressed Tomato & Basil Salad

Warm Potato Salad with a Sherry Vinaigrette & Crispy Bacon

Watermelon, Mint & Sweet Onion Salad

Beet, Goat Cheese & Fava Bean Salad

Roasted Beet Salad with a Yogurt-Caraway Seed Dressing

Watermelon Salsa

Pasta Salad with Black Olives, Parsley & Anchovy

Smoky Gazpacho

Grilled Caesar Salad

And for Dessert:

Recipe Links:

Strawberries with Creme Fraiche and a Balsamic Caramel

Fresh Mango in a Fresh Ginger & Mint Syrup

Grilled Mangoes

Toffee Bananas (or berries) with Toasted Almonds

Easy Apricot & Almond Tart

Summer Berries with Vanilla Ice Cream & Balsamic Caramel Syrup

Strawberries Baked with Pimms

Grilled Peaches

Classic Peach Melba

Rustic Fruit Tart (Galette)

Baked Peaches with Pine Nuts, Chocolate & Amaretto

BBQ’d Bananas with Orange, Cinnamon, Vanilla & Mint

Peach & Blueberry Flaugnarde

Chilled Coconut & Lime Rice Pudding

Eton Mess



A Classic Pimm’s Cocktail



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Recipe – A Raspberry & Custard Tart

You can make this with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, red or blackcurrants, in which case I’d glaze the fruit with a simple glaze of apricot preserves and water, heated together then sieved over the fruit – but a simple raspberry tart just needs a dusting of powdered sugar.

I recommend making the pastry well ahead as it needs to rest for a minimum of 2 hours and it freezes really well.

It’s a rather unusual pastry as it doesn’t require ice-cold butter and chilly fingers – in fact you make it rather like you would a sponge cake. The end result is rolled between two layers of cling film, so you won’t be making a mess with flour flying all over the kitchen either. This is a really lovely pâte sucrée; perfect for all types of fruit tart. This recipe yields more pastry than you’ll need so freeze the rest, wrapped in cling film and then in a plastic bag.

The custard base is perfect for any tart that’s topped with fresh berries and it also freezes well.

You’ll need a 9 inch (23cm) loose-based non-stick tart tin.

Raspberry Custard Tart

Raspberry Custard Tart


(Serves 8-10)


About 12 oz (340g) of fresh raspberries, or more if you want the tart really stuffed with fruit

Powdered sugar for dusting

For the pastry:

4.5 oz (128g) of butter at room temp

4.5 oz (128g) of fine (caster) sugar

1 large egg

9 oz (255g) of plain /all-purpose flour, sifted

1 oz (28g) of ground almonds

A pinch of salt


In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then beat in the egg followed by the sifted flour, ground almonds and salt. Beat until it forms a ball then scoop it up and wrap it in cling film. Flatten it slightly to a disc shape and stick it in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 3 days. (If you’re going to freeze the pastry you must chill it first).

For the custard base:

2  cups (500ml) of milk

A vanilla bean

2/3 cup (150ml) of sugar

1/3 cup (75ml) of all-purpose/plain flour

2 large eggs


Start by whisking together the eggs, sugar and flour in a saucepan until it’s light and fluffy.

Split the vanilla bean and carefully scrape the seeds into the milk in a separate pan. Gently heat until simmering then pour a little milk into the egg-sugar-flour mixture whisking all the time, then gradually add the rest, continuing to whisk. Put the pan on the heat and keep whisking as it thickens and the second it boils, take it off the heat and transfer the thick custard to a bowl. Immediately cover the surface of the custard with cling film and let it cool, then stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the dessert.

You’ll need about 2/3 of the pastry for the crust. Freeze the rest or use it for something else. Flatten the pastry between two layers of cling film and roll it out until you have a large pastry circle that’s about 1/8th inch (3mm) thick.

Carefully drape it into the tart pan pushing it into the sides and bottom without overly stretching it, so that it’s even and level with the top of the pan. I recommend doing this with the cling film lying on top of the pastry – it can take a few minutes of pushing it around to get it looking even. Once it’s evenly in place, prick the bottom all over with a fork and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 350F (180C) while the crust is chilling.

Bake the crust for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden and cooked through. The base should be ever so slightly springy to the touch. Cool completely.

To assemble the tart, fill it with custard and spread it evenly (again you’ll have more than you need so freeze the rest). Arrange the raspberries on top and finally give it a light dusting of powdered sugar to serve.

The assembled tart will keep in the fridge for 24 hrs, that is if you can resist eating the lot.



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Recipe – Easy Vanilla & Chocolate Millefeuille

I was the grateful recipient of a couple of pints of fresh Jersey cream from a friend’s farm the other day, along with a few free-range eggs.

Jersey cream is probably the best cream on the planet and faced with rather a lot, I had to come up with something to make with it, so after finding a stash of frozen puff pastry in the freezer I felt inspired to create a Cream Slice/Napoleon/Mille-feuille. Three names for the same thing; a classic French confection that looks and sounds complicated but is in fact incredibly easy to make. You can prepare this in three stages ahead of time which makes it even better and if you don’t have access to Jersey cream, just use full cream milk and regular whipping cream.

I can’t promise it would win a Great British Bake-Off contest for its appearance because it turned out to be rather scruffy looking. However, yours might not and the utter luscious decadence of it will win over anyone with a sweet tooth.

So here you are – a very easy and impressive dessert that required virtually no cooking skills whatsoever!

Feel free to be more traditional by replacing the chocolate ganache layer with sweetened whipped heavy cream and maybe put some fresh raspberries in there as well.

Vanilla & Chocolate Millefeuille

Vanilla & Chocolate Mille-feuille



2/3 of a puff pastry sheet (about 6.5 oz / 200g)

Milk and sugar for a glaze

For the pastry cream filling:

2  cups (500ml) of full cream milk – I used Jersey cream

A vanilla bean

2/3 cup (150ml) of sugar

1/3 cup (75ml) of all-purpose/plain flour

2 large eggs

For the chocolate ganache filling:

3.5oz (100g) of dark chocolate chips

2fl oz (65ml) of full fat milk

¼ pint (150ml) of heavy cream

For the glaze topping:

1 cup of powdered sugar

3 teaspoons of water

Edible flowers, shaved chocolate, or whatever you fancy for decoration


Make the pastry cream first because you want it to cool completely. Start by whisking together the eggs, sugar and flour in a saucepan until it’s light and fluffy.

Split the vanilla bean and carefully scrape the seeds into the milk in a separate pan. Gently heat until simmering then pour a little milk into the egg-sugar-flour mixture whisking all the time, then gradually add the rest, whisking all the time. Put the pan on the heat and continue to whisk as it thickens and the second it boils, take it off the heat and transfer the thick custard to a bowl. Immediately cover the surface of the custard with cling film and cool, then stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the dessert.

For the pastry layers, preheat the oven to 400F (200C). In the US, puff pastry conveniently comes in sheets that are folded into three. The good news is you just need to cut along two of the folds and keep the remaining piece for something else. You now have two rectangles of puff pastry.  Put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush them with milk and a sprinkle of sugar. Bake for 14-15 minutes until puffed and golden. Cool them on a rack.

While the pastry is cooling, make the chocolate ganache filling. Put the chocolate chips and milk in a microwaveable bowl and nuke for about 20-30 seconds. Stir it well and repeat if necessary, until the chocolate has completely melted. You’ll have a lovely thick chocolate sauce. Set this aside to cool then whip the cream into soft peaks and fold it into the chocolate.

To assemble the Millefeuille, split both the cooled puff pastry rectangles lengthwise through the middle. Use a flat bottom half cut side up as the base and spread half of the cooled vanilla custard over. Now gently press the top half of the pastry upside down onto the custard so that the cut side is uppermost. Spread the cooled chocolate ganache over that.

Now using the second top half, repeat with the cut side uppermost and spread the remaining vanilla custard over that. Finally, place the remaining half, cut side down on top of the custard layer. The top should be flat as it was originally the bottom side of the pastry.

To glaze the pastry, quickly mix the powdered sugar with three teaspoons of water and spread the icing over the top of the cake with a palette knife. Decorate immediately with shaved chocolate or something else.  I used dried edible rose petals because that’s what I had, they looked so pretty and I just love their fragrance.

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Recipe – Grilled Caesar Salad

This is a delightful twist on that ubiquitous classic, Caesar Salad.

Grilling the lettuce before putting the dressing on doesn’t in any way diminish it’s crunch and there’s something rather wonderful about warm, crunchy lettuce oozing with melted Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a classic Caesar dressing.

There are no croutons here. If you can’t bear the thought of a Caesar salad without croutons, I recommend serving some thinly sliced and buttered baguette, topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and popped under the grill for a minute or so.

Although you can’t taste them, the dressing contains anchovies which makes this salad unsuitable for vegetarians – but if you leave them out, the end result will definitely taste flat, so don’t be tempted to do so.

The entire thing can be whipped up in no time and this salad is sure to impress. Be sure to use the best Italian Parmesan cheese and you’ll need a ridged grill pan, otherwise make this on your BBQ grill outside which will be more fun.

Grilled Caesar

Grilled Caesar Salad


(Serves 4)


2 hearts of Romaine lettuce (that’s Cos lettuce in the UK) trimmed and halved lengthwise

2 tablespoons of extra-v olive oil

1/2 cup (120ml measure) of grated or shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

For the dressing:

1 fat clove of garlic, crushed

6 canned anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped

2 teaspoons of best quality mayonnaise

2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

1/2 cup (120ml) of extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (go easy on the salt)


Start by whisking all the dressing ingredients together until you have a thick emulsion then set it aside.

Get your grill or grill pan nice and hot. Brush the cut sides of the lettuce halves with olive oil and put them cut side down in the grill pan (or on the BBQ grill) for a minute or so until you have nice scorch marks. Rotate them and grill for another minute so that you have a criss-cross of grill marks.

If you’re using a stove-top grill pan, heat the broiler/oven grill.

Transfer the lettuce halves to a baking tray cut side up and brush each generously with the dressing, making sure that you get it into all the crevasses of the lettuce. Sprinkle each with Parmesan and either leave them to one side of the outdoor grill under cover for a minute or two until the cheese melts, or put them under the grill/broiler on your stove until the cheese melts – don’t let the cheese burn.

To serve, brush them with any remaining dressing and scatter with more cheese, followed by  a good grind of black pepper.

Eat right away!







Posted in Fish, Made in Under 30 mins, Salads & Appetizers | 1 Comment

Recipe – Asian Turkey & Rice Noodle Salad

This delicious salad is simple to make and positively zings with the flavors of fresh lime, cilantro, mint, ginger and chili.

Even though it takes less than 30 minutes to assemble, I like to make this up to 24 hours ahead for the flavors to develop. I’ll keep it in the fridge until I’m ready to serve it, which is a bit unusual for a salad but this is a substantial main course dish; absolutely perfect on a warm day.

If you’re still waiting for that first warm day,  you’ll definitely want to earmark this recipe for later!

Asian Turkey & rice noodle salad

Asian Turkey & Rice Noodle Salad


(Serves 4)


7 oz (200g) of thin rice noodles

1 small red chili, seeded and sliced

2 medium carrots cut into thin matchsticks

A small red onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon of Tamari or low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon of hi-temp cooking oil

14-16 oz (400-450g) of ground turkey

A small bunch of cilantro (fresh coriander), leaves stripped and coarsely chopped

A handful of fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped

For the dressing:

The juice of 3 limes

1 fat clove of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger

1 and 1/2 tablespoons of nam pla (Thai fish sauce)

1 and 1/2 tablespoons of soft light brown sugar


Start by whisking together the dressing ingredients then set it aside.

Put the dried noodles in a large bowl and cover them with boiling water – after 4-5 minutes drain them (you want them to be a little ‘al dente’ rather than mushy).

In another bowl, combine the red onion, carrot and chili with the drained noodles and toss everything with half of the dressing. Set aside.

In a wide saute pan, heat the oil and brown the turkey mince until completely cooked trough then stir in the Tamari. Transfer to a separate bowl and allow to cool then stir in the remaining dressing. You can make it ahead up to this point – just cover and chill.

To serve, toss everything together with the cilantro and mint.




Posted in Made in Under 30 mins, Poultry, Salads & Appetizers | 4 Comments

Recipe – Spiced Yogurt Grilled Salmon with a Salad of Quinoa, Cucumber, Mint & Pomegranate

A spring-like, even summery dish, bursting with flavor and crunch – and perfect on an 80+F degree day, despite the fact that there’s more snow in the forecast. Ah well, the hummingbirds are already here so as far as I’m concerned, summer is just around the corner.

You can whip this all up in under 30 minutes but you can make the yogurt dressing and salad ahead if you prefer.

The quinoa salad will also go very well with grilled chicken or lamb and is lovely on it’s own.

Grilled salmon with spiced yogurt and a pomegranate, mint and cucumber salad

Spiced Yogurt Grilled Salmon with a Quinoa, Pomegranate, Sweet Pepper, Cucumber & Mint Salad



7 oz (200g) of low-fat Greek yogurt

1/2 a teaspoon each of cinnamon, ground cumin and chili pepper flakes

1 fat clove of garlic, finely minced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 salmon fillets, skin-on, each weighing about 6 oz (170g)

A couple of lemons

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

2 cups (480ml measure) of cooked quinoa

1/2 a hothouse ‘seedless’ (English) cucumber, chopped

1 medium red pepper, seeded and chopped

1 smallish red onion, chopped

a small bunch of fresh mint, chopped with a few leaves reserved

1 cup measure (240ml) of pomegranate seeds


Mix the yogurt with the spices and garlic. Season with salt and set it aside. Line a roasting pan with foil and arrange the salmon, skin-side down.  Spread half of the spiced yogurt mixture on each salmon fillet and grill/broil for about 6-8 minutes or until the salmon is just cooked through.

In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, red pepper, cucumber, red onion, most of the pomegranate seeds, the chopped mint and toss with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon; season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you make the salad ahead, just cover and keep it in the fridge.

To serve, divide the quinoa salad between 4 plates along with the cooked salmon (the skin should be left behind stuck to the foil in the pan).

Top each salmon fillet with the remaining spiced yogurt and scatter with the reserved pomegranate seeds and mint leaves – and offer lemon wedges for squeezing.

This salad is also delicious with the cooked salmon served cold.

Posted in Fish, Made in Under 30 mins | 2 Comments

Recipe – Baked Eggs with Wild Mushroom Duxelles

I’m lucky to have access to fresh free range eggs on a daily basis so I’m always looking for a different way to serve them that doesn’t involve too much hassle.

Of course I took the hassle out of this recipe by making a large batch of duxelles (a fragrant wild mushroom reduction) in advance and freezing it so that I can transform a pile of mashed potato, a burger, pizza, steak or in this case a fresh free range egg, at a moment’s notice –  and duxelles defrosts in seconds.

This simple appetizer is voluptuous, divinely mushroom-y and rich-tasting and all you’ll need is some hot buttered toasted baguette for dunking. Absolutely wonderful!

Yes, you’ll need to make duxelles which can take up to an hour but trust me, if you make a sizeable quantity, it’s totally worth it! As a little goes a long way I recommend freezing it in ice cube trays first then transferring to a plastic container making it easy to use in small amounts.

Baked Eggs (En Cocotte) with Wild Mushroom Duxelles


Per person, 2-3 heaped tablespoons of duxelles (recipe here)

Per person – a 3 inch diameter 1.5 inch deep ramekin, well-buttered

Per person, one large fresh egg, preferably free range

One cooked mushroom set aside to top each ramekin

A heaped tablespoon of crème fraîche per serving, divided

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped parsley to serve


Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Stir 1/3 of the crème fraîche into the duxelles and divide it between each buttered ramekin. Make a well in the center and drop a freshly cracked egg in there. Gently spread a spoonful of crème fraîche on top of the egg and top that with a reserved cooked mushroom.

Arrange the ramekins in a deep-sided baking pan and pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake in the center of the oven for approximately 18 minutes, making sure there’s a bit of a wobble going on as you don’t want the yolk to be overcooked.

Scatter with a little chopped fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Posted in Salads & Appetizers, Vegetables / Vegetarian | 2 Comments