On Monday Catie invited me round to cook an end of summer barbecue and of course I said yes!
First on the grill were some delicious sardines. Bridget brought them marinated in half a teaspoon of pimentón, lots of garlic, olive oil and chopped parsley.
Next up came mackerel fillets, above left with crispy skin, simply prepared with salt and pepper, plus a squirt of lemon juice on each side. On the right are tuna steaks, again from Bridget, marinated with ground cumin seeds, a dried hot chilli, half a clove of garlic, lots of fresh basil, flat leaf parsley, olive oil and lemon juice.
I’d pre prepared fresh allioli to go with the fish and noticed that a lot of it disappeared on chunks of bread.
Catie picked some baby courgettes from the garden, complete with flowers. Bridget whipped up a simple tempura batter of plain flour, iced sparkling water, salt and pepper. The flowers were dipped into the batter and fried in sunflower oil until crisp and golden. Tempura (from the Latin tempora, for time period) came originally from Iberia, the name refers to Lenten and other fasting days, where fish and vegetables were eaten instead of meat. Portuguese missionaries took the tempura cooking technique of dipping fish and vegetables in batter (before frying them in lard) to Japan in the 16th Century.
The courgettes themselves, were fried in olive oil on the barbecue.
I cooked gambas al ajillo (prawns with garlic), again on the grill. This is a classic Spanish tapa which can be made in 10 minutes or so. Devein fresh prawns (heads on or off) and fry in hot olive oil. Flip over when the prawns start to turn pink and throw on chopped garlic and chilli flakes – I used chipotle for a smoky flavour. Squeeze on the juice of half a lemon and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Serve while hot and dip in allioli.
Last on the barbecue were some odd pea sausages flavoured with pimentón and a lump of cassava wrapped in bananna leaves. Neither proved to be exciting!
In the meantime, Catie prepared salads, which were consumed while I was barbecuing fish, so escaped my camera. Similarly a mountain of cheeses and excellent bread were lost in time.