There is something so liberating about eating, and especially cooking, outside. Is it the back to basics nature of it with minimum fuss, is it the fresh air making the food taste even better or, in the case of a typical English summer, is it the feeling of triumph over the elements? This summer has been amazing so far with stretches of days set fair so you can plan ahead which is the secret to some of the most memorable al fresco meals we’ve had over the years. They have felt spontaneous but the combinations of food and drink have been inspired. We have picked up a few tips along the way, particularly as you might guess, the perfect way to finish off a meal – with Granny Gothards Ice cream naturally!
Choosing which flavours to go for can depend on the type of meal or the occasion. We have some great seasonal suggestions for you and one of our favourites is our Lemon Meringue which won us a Taste of the West (TOTW) Silver a few years ago. Made with Sicilian Lemon Juice and chewy meringue added to our milk, cream and egg yolk, it’s not surprising it tastes so fresh and zesty. It is the perfect way to end a light summer lunch outside. If you are looking to impress your guests with a palette cleansing sorbet between courses, then may we suggest a chilled glass with a scoop of Cucumber and Lemon or perhaps Melon & Pimm’s Sorbet which was a huge hit during Wimbledon? Surely nothing says English Summer like Pimms, unless it is another of our (TOTW) winners – strawberries and cream.
With the lengthening days, out came the barbecues and this is another ‘impromptu’ meal that can benefit from planning so that all your guests feel included, especially those who don’t eat meat, if you have something else as the star turn. It could be whole grilled corn on the cob or vegetable and halloumi skewers (see recipe below).
We can’t sign off this month’s blog without sharing our enormous pride in the mention for Granny Gothards in the House of Commons with the Prime Minister no less congratulating us on our contracts with China and the Middle East! This, two business awards and a trip to Dubai not to mention the World Cup, Wimbledon and this fantastic weather – let’s raise a glass to the summer of 2018 and eating out!
Lebanese Shish Taouk
An easy to prepare, traditional Lebanese skewer dish, usually chicken based but just as good with Halloumi cheese.
You will need
500 grams of Halloumi cheese cut in 2 cm cubes
1 red and 1 green pepper cut in 2 cm squares
1 red onion cut in 2 cm cubes
250ml Greek natural strained yogurt (or 500ml of Greek yogurt to make Labne* the day before)
Juice of 1 lemon
4 garlic cloves chopped finely 1 tablespoon of tomato paste 2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper 1 pinch of chili flake/powder to your taste
1 1⁄2 tablespoon paprika
1 1⁄2 tablespoon zaatar or grind together 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme,1 teaspoon marjoram, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed (better but not essential dried oregano and thyme will do the business)
1 teaspoon of sumac (better but not essential)
Both zaatar and sumac can be found in most of supermarkets. Dorset Sea Salt to taste
It’s totally stress-free, as you can marinate your cheese for between four to 12 hours so you can prepare it at any time. (If you were doing the original recipe with chicken, do not marinate your meat for more than eight hours as the acidity of the lemon will alter the meat structure and your chicken will be mushy).
1) Mix all the liquid and dry ingredients together. Whisk well. Add the Halloumi cubes and mix well to coat all the cheese pieces.
2) Cover and marinate for between four and 12 hours in the fridge.
3) Immerse the wood skewer in water for about 15 minutes.
4) Fire up your barbie.
5) Skewer the cheese cubes along with the peppers squares and cubed onions. Pour the remaining marinade over the skewers.
6) Remove the excess marinade and place on the hot grill and grill until the halloumi begins to brown. Turnover and grill the other side too. Once grilled on both sides, remove and leave for a couple of minutes. If you fancy, you can drizzle over some olive oil and sprinkle some freshly chopped coriander.
7) Serve with pitta bread and garlic mayo and perhaps tabbouleh followed by our Saffron and Turmeric ice cream!
For this, all you need is a 500ml pot of Greek yogurt and a good pinch of Dorset sea salt.
1) Stir the salt into the yogurt and mix well. 2) Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth or clean cloth, letting it hang over the sides. 3) Place the sieve on top of a jug or deep bowl. 4) Pour in the yogurt. 5) Bring the corners of the cheesecloth together and twist from the top allowing excess liquid from the yogurt to be released. 6) Place it in the fridge and allow to drain for 12 to 24 hours until it is a thick consistency that will withstand high cooking temperatures without curdling (a great trick for tandoori chicken as well).