The good weather arrived just in time for the bank holiday weekend, and we awoke on Saturday to find the sun beaming through our bedroom window. By midday the cricket pitch was a hive of excitement. The grounds man and his spaniel were surveying the lines. Wily batsmen were practicing their swings. Hopeful spectators were shaking off rugs and setting up picnics. Barbecues were being dusted off, along with mad dashes to the village shop for firelighters and coal. The pavilion was crowded with eager club members already happily on their way, gulping down ale and sipping on pimms. Having delivered my victoria sponge for the cricket tea, I returned from the clubhouse to discover an enticing package of delectable pork ribs and burgers from the online butcher Donald Russell. With guests arriving any minute, we dragged a table outside, lit the barbecue, tossed a salad, and poured ourselves a drink. All the meat was barbecue-ready, meaning a relaxing afternoon of pressure-free entertaining.
An hour later and it was each man for himself. The deliciously juicy burgers had been devoured and we were battling it out for the last of the perfectly sticky ‘lip-smacking’ ribs. The cricket match was well underway, and having ploughed through a good few bottles of rosé, we were all three sheets to the wind. An icecream van pootled past just in time to distract us from the home team’s crushing defeat. I plumped for a Flake 99, for old times sake.
As the evening set on it became a little chillier, but we stubbornly remained outside, buried under woollen blankets. I resurrected the barbecue and stirred up a warming pot of tomato and chorizo soup. A recipe from the New Covent Garden Soup Company and cooked on the soft flames of the barbecue. The cricket came to an end as the light began to fade and we dipped hunks of ciabbatta into our soup, opened another bottle of wine and continued chatting in the candlelight.
Tomato and Chorizo Soup (made on the bbq)
Barbecuing soup may sound a little unusual, but why not if the sun’s shining. Cooking outside is such fun and real reminder that summertime is upon us. This is a recipe adapted from the New Convent Garden Soup Company Cookery Book and made on the barbecue.
Ingredients (serves 4)
Dash of olive oil, 1 small onion (diced), 1 clove of garlic (crushed), half a red pepper (diced), 60g Chorizo (diced), 250ml Vegetable stock, 200g tinned chopped tomatoes, 200g passata
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan over the barbecue. Add the onion, then cook gently for 5 – 10 minutes. Make sure the barbecue isn’t too hot. Add the garlic, red pepper and chorizo, then cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the stock, tomatoes, passata, then cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Add salt an pepper to taste.