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Quick! 2 barbecues to squeeze in before summer ends (and a recipe for a chilli tequila cocktail)

Those bacon skewer things have scallops in the middle of them.

So a large part of the reason I have fallen off the blogging band wagon again is because this summer with the help, blood and sweat of my generous and long suffering parents my boyfriend and I have replaced the deck in our garden. We had one before, but it was rotten with nails sticking out of it and bits you couldn't stand on for fear of falling through and the NHS advised you have an extra tetanus shot before walking on it, so it was not the place to host barbecues and citronella candle lit al fresco soires. But now, 45,640 metres (not the real figure) of decking and 1000 screws (genuinely the real figure) later, boom chacka lacka lacka boom, I have a new deck. And I am the first person to write boom chacka lacka lacka boom in text, probably.

The larger part of the reason I've not blogged since the end of June, is on the 1st July Gilmore Girls came on to Netflix and I've had to quickly watch 100 hours (the real figure, not even counting the credits and the "last time on Gilmore Girls" bit). But I've done that now, life goal achieved, and I am ready to tell you the 2 barbecues I crammed in on my new deck before the summer ended, so you can cram them in too if you fancy it, just before glorious colourful Autumn knocks on our doors with a Pumpkin Spiced Latte.

Barbecue 1: Mexican fiesta!

This was my birthday party! We decorated the garden with picnic blankets, and hung bright pinwheels from the parasol, and ate of these little dancing cactai plates (adorable and no washing up - 3 x the thumbs up emoticon).

There were around 25 of us, which was come to think of it a rather risky way for Will and I to lose our barbecue hosting virginity. Oh well, no one  has been inpolite enough to tell me we poisoned them, so I'll assume we didn't. Sorry there are no photos of all this food and drink, but it was my birthday and I had had too many watermelon margaritas (recipe link for that below). There is however, a photo of me holding a large saw mid birthday speech which I can share if you'd like, and totally backs up my "I had had too many watermelon margaritas" story. (Though in my defence, I was just trying to show all my pals how much my sawing skills had developed during the deck renovation project. They really have.)

We ate:

Chips and dip to start - a kind guest bought this pineapple chipotle salsa and oh my

Tortilla wraps and tacos crammed with:

  • Barbecued chicken, salmon, halloumi and cauliflower - marinated in chilli, lime and ginger as per this recipe, then sliced into burrito-able chunks.
  • Jamie Oliver's Asian style pulled pork, but with plenty of bbq sauce stirred in for good measure
  • Mango salsa (just add mango and fresh coriander to a fresh pot of supermarket salsa for a sweet and fun twist)
  • Crushed avocados with chilli, coriander and lemon juice
  • Uncle Ben's microwave spicy rice (make-able even after 4 watermelon margaritas)
We made a little taco and burrito bar by setting plates, tacos and tortillas on little planter ledge, all the barbecued meat (and cheese and veg) on our outdoor dining table and then the guac, salsa, sour cream and rice on another planter so we had our own little Chipotle all the way in SE26. It was a super easy way of guest serving themselves without it becoming a stressful queuing system.

We drank:

  • Coronas, Desperados, Brixton Brewery's Lupolo Pale Ale, Brahamas and any other vaguely Mexican beer we could find with lime wedges in
  • Watermelon Margaritas 
  • Mojitos
  • Picante de le casa's - one of the Soho house group's signature drinks. I've typed the method out below, but for recipes of lots of delicious cocktails and everything else amazing you can get their book - Eat, Drink, Nap - available here

To make a picante de le casa:

You will need:

50ml of tequila
Juice of 1 lime freshly squeezed
20ml of agave syrup
1 small piece of chilli
1 stem of fresh coriander

Combine all ingredients in a shaker, and shake. Strain and pour over ice and garnish with an extra little bit of chilli.

Barbecue 2: Italian al fresco soire

One of my goals as a 28 year old is to host 10 fabulous dinners, like a proper grown up. My first attempt at one of these was to have a lovely fairy lit bbq with my pal Rowan and her new-ish boyfriend Kyle. Kyle and Will had never met before, and I've only met Kyle once so to ensure it wasn't awkward I thought it was important to serve plenty of alcohol hence why I served 2 different types of aperitif, wine and a digestif to a group of 4.

We ate:

And from Polpo's cookbook:
And for pudding - grilled peaches, with whipped cream (with a vanilla pod and a tablespoon or 2 of amaretto swirled in for good measure) and amaretti biscuits.

We drank:
  • Aperol and campari spritz
  • Red Wine
  • Sofoagato (rose wine blended with lemon sorbet, until it forms a little alcoholic slushy)

Happy Sunday evening everyone, from me, my lobster apron, my hacksaw and my fabulous birthday kimono.


Picante de le casa picture from pinterest

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