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So, I may have said before how I love fire. The seemingly endless (is today the last day, really?) hot, sunny days have meant that we’ve had a barbecue every single night, bar one when we had friends over and fired up the pizza oven. It’s been sublime, sitting there watching the flames rise, scaring off magpies with my bb gun and supping a cold beer. I even had a barbecue when it was just me and the magpies. I wish I could always cook on fire.

Anyway, if you have both a fire and an aubergine then it’s well worth smoking it in the dying embers so you can make baba ganoush. This is a beautifully smokey Ottoman dish, and the flavour is unbelievably tasty.

We’d run out of charcoal a few days ago, so having overheard Siobhann’s husband Tom talking about cooking on wood, I’d been trying this out whilst Jamie was away. It’s actually way better than using charcoal as you don’t have to hang around waiting for the coals to turn white, all you need is to make sure you have a good blaze going and enough wood to cook whatever you’re cooking for long enough. Tonight we weren’t going to have a barbecue as the weather was supposed to have turned already, but I persuaded a well-travelled and weary Jamie it was worth the little bit of effort, and by the end of the meal he was in total agreement. It was delicious, but unfortunately there were no leftovers.

Baba Ganoush

1 aubergine, smoked whole in dying embers from yesterday’s barbecue

1 clove of garlic, crushed

Squeeze of half a lemon

3 tblsp greek yoghurt

1 tblsp tahini


Once the aubergine has cooled, peel off the skin, and squeeze out most of the juices. Mash with fork or processor, then slowly add the rest of the ingredients, tasting all the time. Should taste smokey and yummy and like you could eat a bucket load of the stuff.

Chorizo Kebabs

6” chorizo, cut into chunks

Red and yellow pepper, cut into chunks

Chestnut mushrooms, cut into chunks

Spear onto kebab sticks, and brush with oil (from the olives below).

Tomato and New Potato Salad

Half a dozen new potatoes, cut into equal chunks and boiled then cooled

Half a dozen cherry tomatoes, quartered

Bunch of coriander, chopped

Good glug of olive oil

Squeeze of lemon juice


Mix all ingredients together.

To Serve:

2 pitta breads, sliced into fingers

1 carrot, sliced into fingers

Some green olives to garnish the baba ganoush with

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