Outdoor entertaining: Summer barbecue

Generous platters bursting with seasonal flavours make this vibrant high-summer menu perfect for informal, convivial meals in the garden with family and friends

Indulge in the art of sharing with our delightful summer barbecue menu – just in time for the warmer weather.

Set the scene

For comfort, choose a table generous enough to easily accommodate all of the sharing dishes while leaving plenty of room for guests. Pretty votives and strings oflights add a celebratory touch and ensure this leisurely feast can continue well into the evening.

summer entertaining

FURNITURE Ninix 270 extendable table in White, £3,300; Lucerne carver chairs in White, £390 each; all Indian Ocean. ACCESSORIES Warm white connectable festoon LED lights, £25 for 5m with ten lights, Lights4Fun. Double linen table runner in Light Grey, £30 ; Sleek mini hurricane lamp with white leather sleeve, £16; both Nordic House.

Evoke a relaxed mood by using a serving table as a bar – keeping it well stocked with wine and other tipples – and encourage guests to help themselves when they please.

summer entertaining

FURNITURE Crosilda garden table, £265, Out There Interiors. ACCESSORIES Faux rattan solar lantern, £28, Sainsbury’s. Tournon hurricane candle holder, £150, The Conran Shop. Vintage wicker flask, £120; Bistrot wine glasses, £7.50 each; all Designers Guild.

Against the simplicity of a crisp white tabletop and understated artisan ceramics, add pops of pink, blue and grey with colourful hand-painted napkins, loosely tied with a length of leather thong. Introducing woven place mats and sprigs of foliage will help to create a charming, natural look.

summer entertaining

Mabel S&B x Shrimps hand-painted linen napkins, £30 each.Summerill & Bishop. Square-cut paleleather thong, £13.20for 25m reel, J T Batchelor. Round woven place mat, £7, The Conran Shop. Ngwenya glass tumblers, £12 each; Artisan dinner plates, £14 each; all French Connection. Hand-blown glass votives in Smokey Pink, £19.50 each, Summerill & Bishop. Brighton pewter cutlery, £110 for 24 – piece set, Habitat. Bistrot wine glass, £7.50, Designers Guild.

Position the barbecue close enough to keep an eye on without abandoning your guests and also downwind so they are not engulfed in smoke.

summer entertaining

Salad plates in Mist and Pistachio, £25 each, Mud Australia. Classic British Britannia Pashley bicycle , available to hire, from £25 a day, Tally Ho Cycles.

THE MENU

This month, our menu celebrates the British summer in all its glory. Our dishes make the most of seasonal produce and involve minimal preparation, so you can spend more time with your guests. Lunch is an array of colours and textures, from the figgy baked ricotta that can be served as a starter to the barbecued leg of lamb and sweet-savoury salad. Finish with a summertime favourite, a delicious fruity meringue.

APERITIF White wine sangria
TO START Baked ricotta with honey & figs
MAIN British style ceviche; nectarine salad; roast root salad with crispy red rice; barbecued lamb & bulgur wheat salad
DESSERT Meringue with cherry & apricot compote

WHITE WINE SANGRIA

summer entertaining

Serves 6-8

Swapping red wine for crisp white makes a refreshing twist on this summer favourite.

6 apricots, chopped and stoned
100g golden caster sugar
2 lemons Crushed ice
1 lime
2 ripe peaches
1 bottle crisp white wine, such as Riesling or Chablis
300ml soda

1. Put the apricots in a medium pan with the sugar, 100ml water and the zest and juice of l lemon.
2. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the fruit starts to break down. Leave to cool a little. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
3. Fill two jugs with ice. Slice the other lemon, lime and peaches, then add to the jugs with the wine and apricot pulp. Top up with soda to taste and serve.

BAKED RICOTTA WITH HONEY & FIGS

summer entertaining

Serves 6-8

3 whole ricottas, 250g each
8 figs
Salt and ground black pepper
Medium bunch oregano
2 tbsp runny honey
3 garlic cloves, peeled
100ml olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
100g toasted hazelnuts
1 loaf sourdough bread, sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Line a large baking tray with baking paper and turn the ricottas out onto the tray.
2. Cut the figs in half and scatter over the ricotta, then season well. Bake for 20 minutes, until starting to turn golden.
3. Meanwhile, mix together the oregano leaves, honey, 2 cloves crushed garlic and the olive oil. Roughly chop the hazelnuts.
4. Put a large griddle pan on the highest heat and char the bread for a couple of minutes on each side. Cut the remaining garlic clove in half and rub on one side of each bread slice, then drizzle with olive oil.
5. Remove the ricotta from the oven, spoon over the oregano mixture and scatter with the hazelnuts. Serve on the tray alongside the sourdough toast.

BRITISH STYLE CEVICHE

summer entertaining

Serves 8

This light dish makes the most of British summer produce. It can be made well in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to serve.

300g skinned cod fillets
8 large scallops
Salt and ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
200g ciabatta
3 garlic cloves, peeled
½ bunch radishes, trimmed
3 red or green tomatoes
2 green chillies
½ small bunch parsley
½ small bunch chervil

1. Chop the cod into 1cm chunks and slice the scallops into thin rounds, discarding the roe.
2. Transfer to a large bowl, season then drizzle with a little olive oil. Add the zests of the lemon and one lime along with the juice of the lemon and two limes. Toss together, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
3. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Tear the ciabatta into 3cm chunks and scatter over a large baking tray. In a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic with the olive oil, then toss with the bread. Season well then pop in the oven for 15 minutes, until golden, tossing halfway through.
4. Using a mandolin or sharp knife, thinly slice the radishes and place in a bowl of iced water for 10 minutes.
5. Chop the tomatoes, chillies and herbs, then stir through the marinated fish. Arrange on a plate, topped with the radishes and croutons. Serve at once.

NECTARINE SALAD

summer entertaining

Serves 6-8

Charred nectarines are extra sweet and juicy.

200g pancetta
6 ripe nectarines
1 cucumber
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 red chilli, finely sliced
Salt and ground black pepper
200g green beans
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
Small bunch tarragon, chopped
50ml rose wine
50ml olive oil
½ medium bunch mint leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and lay the pancetta on it. Bake for 15 minutes until crisp.
2. Heat a large griddle pan over a high heat. Halve, stone and quarter the nectarines. Char on the griddle a for a couple of minutes on each side, then transfer to a large platter.
3. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut into 2cm half moons. Char on each side on the griddle, then transfer to a bowl. Grate in the zest of the lemon, then stir through the chilli and season.
4. Griddle the green beans for 4 minutes, turning occasionally.
5. Mix together the shallot, juice of the lemon, mustard, honey and tarragon. Stir in the rose wine, then slowly whisk in the olive oil, until well combined. Season the dressing to taste.
6. Scatter the charred vegetables over the nectarines on the platter. Crumble over the pancetta, then spoon over the dressing. Scatter with the mint leaves and serve.

ROAST ROOT SALAD WITH CRISPY RED RICE

summer entertaining

Serves 6-8

Look out for candy beetroot, a sweet variety with appealing pink and white stripes.

150g red rice
1 bunch baby carrots
1 tbsp honey
½ tsp cumin Sea salt
Zest and juice of I lemon
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
3 candy beetroots, peeled
½ kohlrabi, peeled 1 fennel bulb
1 tbsp tahini
4 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp sumac
Handful of pea shoots
Small bunch mint leaves, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 20 0°C, gas mark 6. Cook the red rice according to the instructions, then drain and rinse under cold water. Spread out on kitchen paper to dry.
2. Scrub the carrots and trim, leaving a short stalk. then spread out on a baking tray.
3. Mix the honey, cumin , salt and lemon zest with 2 tbsp oil. Toss through the carrots , then bake for 30 minutes. turning every 10 minutes. until golden and slightly crisp. Leave the oven on.
4. Fill a large bowl with iced water. Finely slice the beetroots. kohlrabi and fennel. adding them to the bowl. Set aside.
5. Scatter the rice over 2 large baking trays and drizzle with oil. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. until crispy and crackling. Leave to cool.
6. Meanwhile,combine the tahini, yogurt. sumac and lemon juice.
7. Lay the rice on a large platter and scatter over the carrots. Drain the rest of the vegetables and arrange on top. Drizzle over the tahini mixture, then scatter over the pea shoots and mint. and serve. This recipe can be prepared in advance and kept separately until you’re ready to assemble it and serve.

BARBECUED LAMB & BULGUR WHEAT SALAD

summer entertaining

Serves 6-8

Start this dish the day before you want to serve it.

1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
Zest of 1 lime
1 tsp paprika
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp chipotle paste
Salt
Leaves from 1 bunch oregano
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 red chillies, chopped
2kg leg of lamb, butterflied and bone removed

For the bulgur wheat salad
300g bulgur wheat
2 red onions
Juice of 2 lemons
½ tsp brown sugar
2 carrots, scrubbed
2 tsp harissa paste

For the dressing
1 bunch coriander
½ medium bunch mint 2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 green chilli (or to taste) 6 tbsp olive oil

1. In a small pan toast the peppercorns. fennel and coriander seeds for 30 seconds, or until they become fragrant and begin to pop. Transfer to a pestle and mortar or small blender and grind to a fine powder. Tip into a large bowl and mix with the lime zest, paprika, 6 tbsp olive oil, vinegar, chipotle paste and a large pinch of salt. Stir in the oregano leaves, garlic and chillies.
2. Lay the lamb flat on a baking tray and massage the marinade into the meat. Cover with cling film and leave overnight in the fridge. Remove from the fridge an hour before cooking.
3. Fire up the barbecue and make the salad while it heats. Pour the bulgur wheat into a medium pan and add three times the amount of water. Add a pinch of salt. bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the bulgur has puffed up and is cooked. Drain and leave to cool a little.
4. Peel and halve the red onions, then finely slice and put in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the onions. Season with salt and add the sugar. then squash with your hands until the onions turn bright pink.
5. Use a peeler to create long ribbons of carrot, then toss together with the onions.
6. For the dressing, chop the coriander, mint, 1 garlic clove and the green chilli as finely as possible. Place in a bowl and add enough olive oil to create a runny paste.
7. Cook the lamb on the barbecue, turning every 10 minutes. for 40-45 minutes. Transfer the cooked lamb to a board to rest for 15 minutes.
8. Toss half the carrot and onion mixture through the bulgur wheat and transfer to a platter.
9. Stir the harissa paste and juice of the remaining lemon through the bulgur salad. Drizzle over the dressing , keeping half aside for the table.
10. Slice the lamb and place on top of the bulgur salad. Scatter over the remaining onions and carrots and serve with the remaining dressing on the side.

MERINGUE WITH CHERRY & APRICOT COMPOTE

summer entertaining

Serves 6-8

You can make this dessert with whatever fruit is in season.

5 large free-range egg whites
200g golden caster sugar
50g soft brown sugar
Salt

For the compote
300g cherries, stoned
4 figs quartered
4 apricots, halved and stoned
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp honey
1 punnet of edible flowers, to decorate

For the whipped yogurt
250g Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
60ml maple syrup
200g creme fraiche

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2. Line a 40x25cm baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. Check there is no shell or yolk in the egg whites and put them into the bowl of a freestanding mixer. making sure it’s really clean. Whisk on medium-high until the whites form firm peaks. With the mixer still running, gradually add both the sugars and a big pinch of salt. Turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for about 4-6 minutes. until the meringue is white and glossy. To test if it’s ready, rub some of the mixture between your fingers. If it feels completely smooth, it’s done: if it’s slightly grainy, it needs a bit more whisking.
3. Dot each corner of the greaseproof paper with a blob of meringue to help stick it to the tray. Spoon the meringue on to the paper then, using the back of a spoon, shape and swirl
it into a large round.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour 30 minutes. until crisp on the outside and a little soft and sticky inside. Leave to cool.
5. Meanwhile, put all the fruit in a pan along with the zest and juice of the lemon and the honey. Bring to a boil over a high heat for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
6. In a large bowl whisk the yogurt with the vanilla paste and maple syrup, then fold through the creme fraiche.
7. With the back of a spoon smear the yogurt over the meringue. Scatter with the fruit, drizzling over the juices. then decorate with edible flowers.

summer entertaining

Recipes/ Emily Ezekiel
Styling/ Ali Brown
Photography/ Emma Lee