Neon Barbecue


May 12th, 2012

My friend Simon Tyszko asked me to cook for his birthday party, at his studio in Battersea (previously a school science lab).

fish wok

We considered wok cooking over a gas powered water feature,

flaming fish

but the flame wasn’t hot enough and it would have taken too much time to get it working properly.

gas shower

Next came the gas shower head – again we got nice big flames but not much heat…

ice chair

The ice chair did hold some possibilities too..


but finally, a barbecue seemed the sensible option.

artist at work

I mixed up an interesting cauliflower salad on the science bench above, using sliced cauliflower florets, chopped onion, red and yellow peppers, coriander leaves, a little mint, olives, olive oil, garlic, a sprinkle of crushed chilli and the juice of a lime. Heidi made a lovely tomato salad with basil and olive oil and Xavier brought some tabbouleh. In the melee of getting the barbecue hot and preparing lots of fish, I forgot to photograph the salad and a super fuerte allioli (recipe here).


The first course was prawns – they cooked in a few minutes on the barbecue and were served brushed with garlic infused olive oil and the allioli.


Mackerel followed the prawns, with a little fennel and garlic olive oil for flavour.


To the left of the mackerel were a couple of parcels of asparagus with the garlic oil, wrapped in aluminium foil. This is an excellent way of cooking asparagus – it took between 5 – 10 minutes and beats boiling or steaming on a hob for tenderness and flavour. I also cooked some sliced fennel this way, which took about 20 minutes before it became tender – by that time it had started to caramelise and tasted amazing.


Crispy salmon skin came next, cooked directly on the barbecue grill.


Cosmo found some butter to add flavour to a kilo of mussels, again steamed in foil and then last of all…

scallops and chorizo

were scallops with chorizo and


Clonakilty black pudding. The scallops, chorizo and black pudding were the sensation of the party and a fitting finale.

party guests

I can’t say that I had time for much socialising until the end, but it did seem like the guests were having a good time!

About Mad Dog
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23 Responses to Neon Barbecue

  1. That all looks awesome mate, what a fun pad, and some great food. It’s BBQ season!!

  2. As usual it all looks wonderful – the scallops and chorizo especially. I’ll have to try that! You do seem to get asked to cook in some very interesting locations!

  3. rutheh says:

    Wow what a party. Love the documentation of all the food! Good thing FR wasn’t there cause with those gas flames she might have gone up in smoke!!

  4. ChgoJohn says:

    Shucks, MD. You’re such a spoil sport! I was hoping to see you blast those prawns with the gas shower. After being offered a glimpse of that, the grill seems so pedestrian. 🙂

  5. Wow, what a spread! Never seem asparagus done like that, I’ve always steamed it lightly then put it on barbie to char it a bit – as a non-meat-eater, I still love charred food! Must try the mussels too. Mackerel is cheap as chips over there, right? And v healthy. I love sardines and also corn on the cob, parboiled first, and peaches, and bananas… Here it’s presa, secreto, costillas, you know the story! Love your friend’s pad, by the way. Great post.

  6. My God, you get down to some serious eating, Science labs were a nightmare to me when at school as I never understood any of it. The barbecue makes a lot more sense:)

    • Mad Dog says:

      He’s been talking about the new studio for a while – I was quite impressed when I saw it. Most of the school has been divided up by artists and there’s even a professional film crew shooting something there at present.

  7. When I saw the name of your pal, I wondered was it the one who has a plane in his place…yes it was! My very fist boyfriend went to Salesian College in Battersea, I wonder if it was his old school you were cooking in?! I know what you mean about there being little time for socialising while you were cooking all this incredible food (and it looked amazing) but I do hope you had a glass of wine in your hand at all times!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Well done – it is indeed Salesian College (or was)!
      I did of course have some wine handy to stave off thirst brought on by hot coals and a couple of guests were kind enough to bring me out a glass or two 😉

  8. What a fun lab!! My friend works in a medical lab and would love to read this! Her home has random beakers all over the place. In the end it looks like a veritable feast for sore eyes.. since it is morning here and I would love to have sampled some of your barbecue!

  9. Audrey Evermore says:

    Professor Mad Dog giving a chemistry demonstration … some of us may well be looking at the stars, but you cant eat them … thank heavens for Mad Chefs …

    What … a naked flame and no creme brulee… I guess you had done enough .

  10. Beautiful stuff! Science the way it oughtta be…..

  11. Wonderful meal! 🙂

  12. Karen says:

    You do prepare food in the most unusual places. Great job…everything looks terrific.

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