Sunshine food
July 19, 2013

The current heatwave can mean only one thing in foodie terms – barbecue time!

Every year I do the same thing, spend hours combing through barbecue recipes looking for new ideas, when actually all we end up having, each and every time, is resorting to good old, grilled meat!

In the Manning household, we’ve had a barbie each night since the sun started shining – so that’s a week. And we’re not bored yet. We’ve barbecued everything – chicken, sausages, burgers, kebabs; courgettes, portobello mushrooms, and vine tomatoes for our five-a-day; as well as toasting the bread they go in and even griddling onions for hotdogs. It’s amazing how much you can do, and how good it tastes.

Mr Manning keeps telling me it’s very healthy, because it’s all grilled – no fat, he tells me, just protein. I fear, however, that this may be counteracted by the sheer volume of said protein. Of course, you never just have one hotdog do you? Yes you can try to cut out the bread, to take the skin off the chicken, but it’s still too tempting to get back in touch with your carnivorous side and consume your body weight in meat.

So, away from concerns about anything other than food-filled yumminess, we return to the best (so far…) creation out of the only slightly-varied meals we’ve treated ourselves to from the land of the BBQ.

And here it is ……

Barbecue for dinner

Yep, surf and turf. I never order this in a pub, usually an overcooked, tough bit of rump steak with some deep friend scampi atop.

But imagine a thick, succulent ribeye steak, complete with seam of melt-in-the-mouth fat running through it like a forbidden treat. Cooked perfectly, it cuts like butter and is just the right shade of pinky-red inside with the unmistakeable chargrilled taste of barbecue on the outside.

As if this isn’t enough, your turf isn’t breadcrumbed twice-dipped scampi bits, but big, fresh tiger prawns. Its a cliche, but shellfish definitely is – in my mind anyway – the taste of the sea. The prawns start of grey and trasnlucent, but once they hit the grill, turn a lobster-pink. If time, add some crushed garlic to them before you put them on, and the fragrant smell will bring a smile to your face as they cook.

Again, the trademark chargrill taste is there, but as you peel them, the soft tender flesh perfectly complements the steak. It’s almost sweet to the beef’s savoury. And for greedy gutses like us, the prawns slow you down. Each moment you take to peel one stops you from marching through the steak in two minutes flat. The oh-so-easy ribeye is your reward for taking the time to undress each prawn carefully, not wasting anything.

With treats like this, all you need is some salad, or some of the aforementioned veg – because really they’re only going to be bit parts to the star of the show. Yes, you’ll eat too much, and yes, it’s probably not the healthiest dinner (though not the worst). But boy, it’s a way to barbecue.

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