Karen Wright writes: I saw so many people out in their gardens. I could hear lawnmowers humming all around and I could smell one of my all-time favourite aromas, a barbecue!
The weather can make or break our al fresco plans but this holiday we were in luck.
I was chatting on BBC Radio Leeds on Sunday and the topic I chose was barbecue tips. I was asked if a gas barbecue is a real barbecue. My answer was inconclusive.
Charcoal is the real deal, you have the lighting of it, the wafting of it to get the flames going and of course the wonderful smell.
However, gas is instant and if perhaps there are just the two of you and you just have let’s say a couple of steaks to cook as opposed to cooking for a crowd with bangers and burgers piled high, then a gas barbecue is more convenient.
Some of you know that for several years I worked, along with John, for a holiday company in France. Our job was to keep the accommodation in good repair, caravans and tents generally.
Every unit was supplied with a barbecue, some gas, some charcoal. One of my best memories of those times was calling on customers and finding them all sat around the barbecue enjoying the evening sun. Happy days!
This weekend I have been practicing some recipe ideas for work that is in the pipeline. I am doing demos and talks at Warner Shows in Newbury and then just before the Platinum weekend I am booked to do demos at the Caravan and Motorhome event ‘Club Fest’ at Belvoir Castle. I try to find a new angle on old favourites.
I cooked a succulent steak with onions, mushrooms and tomatoes with a side of patatas bravas. I call it steak Espagnole with patatas bravas.
Marinade the steak in sherry and chilli oil for a few hours in the fridge. Take it out and let it come to room temperature before cooking. Pat dry and reserve the marinade. Then just cook it on the barbecue for a few minutes each side.
For the bravas, use cold cooked potatoes, sauté them in oil to crisp them up and then add smoked paprika, chilli flakes and tomato puree, loosen with some of the marinade and season with salt and pepper!