We all love the prospect of firing up the barbecue and enjoying stacks of grilled food in the sunshine. But the latest restaurant trends show that it’s not just the social side of it we enjoy; it’s also the flavour of barbecue that gets our taste buds going. Barbecued food has that unmistakable smoky and slightly charred taste, but it doesn’t have to be restricted to alfresco eating. A good barbecue sauce or marinade can easily elevate meat to the tastiness achieved by smoking it over hot coals. And the best news? You don’t have to wait for the sunshine to enjoy it.
Serve NEW BBQ Chicken Riblets, £6 for six (800g), with a home-made salsa and sour cream for the full barbecue experience (pictured). To make the salsa, combine sweetcorn kernels with diced avocado, lime, coriander and chilli, and refrigerate for a couple of hours to let the flavours mingle.
For the ultimate BLT, brush rashers of back bacon with some NEW Mutha BBQ Sauce, £1.25 (200g), and grill. Then pile up the bacon, lettuce and tomato between slices of thickly cut bread, topped with lashings of mayonnaise..
1.) The heart and soul of a perfect burger is the meat inside it. A beef burger is at its best and juiciest when cooked medium (still a little pink in the middle).
2.) Think about offering a variety of buns, or forgo the bread completely and wrap your burger in crisp, crunchy lettuce leaves.
3.) If adding cheese, look for alternatives to Cheddar – go for mozzarella, feta (great with lamb burgers), Swiss cheese or a crumbled blue. Or try something really unique, such as Prosciutto Wrapped Tomino (pictured left) – a mild and creamy Italian cheese in a crisp ham parcel, ready to be grilled or fried, then popped on your favourite burger.
4.) Ring the changes with toppings such as houmous, guacamole or tzatziki. Extras like crispy bacon, pulled pork, readyprepared salsa, sautéed onions, mushrooms or peppers make memorable companions to a simple burger.
From fresh jalapeño to dried chipotle and ancho, the fiery taste of chilli is more versatile than you think
Chilli is usually associated with a culinary blast of heat, but it’s not all about ‘how hot can you handle’. With varieties ranging from rounded and mellow to searingly hot, chillies can be used to deliver nuances of flavour and are increasingly giving familiar dishes a new dimension.
Part of the capsicum family, there are said to be over 200 varieties of chilli, but perhaps the most easily identifiable and available is the jalapeño. Often used in everyday dishes, such as salsas, curries and stir fries, jalapeño is also surprisingly good when used to cut through sweetness. Don’t miss NEW Mad Frog Jelly Sweets, £2 (200g), which have an unexpected chilli kick in their feet. One of the sweetest and mildest varieties is the ancho. This dried poblano chilli leaves a mellow tingle on the taste buds, making it ideal for rich, flavourful meat stews. The chipotle chilli is a smoked and dried jalapeño, with a fiery punch. It will add depth of flavour to your sauces and dressings. Or sprinkle Cook With M&S Chipotle Chilli Sea Salt, £2.50 (55g), over familiar dishes for a surprising seasoning.
Ready in 15 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling. Makes 20
125ml double cream
250g chilli chocolate, chopped
40g unsalted butter
1 tbsp brandy cocoa powder, to coat
1 In a small saucepan, bring the double cream to the boil.
Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate, butter and brandy.
Chill in the fridge for 1 hour, until firm.
2 Shape into 20 x 2cm balls, then toss in cocoa powder to coat.
Truffles can be kept chilled for up to a week.