Tag Archives: bbq

Beach BBQ Menu

With this glorious heatwave we’re currently experiencing (ok, maybe I’ve spoken too soon), we’ve been BBQ’ing on the beach every evening we can. I got a little patriotic after Murray’s Wimbledon win and bought this red, white and blue picnic rug so have been using it at every BBQ’ing opportunity!

Most people’s reaction when I tell them I practically live on the beach is “WOW you’re so lucky”. I get it, its awesome, but some days when you’ve been sat in a sticky office and not able to even get out in the sun at all during the day, I can tell you it sucks being so close to the seaside.

So in the evenings we dash to the beach, armed with our BBQ, chasing the last few rays.

If we’re lucky, I even get a glimpse of the lifeguards packing up.

After three continuous days of chicken, steak and burgers on the BBQ, I fancied a bit of a change to our usual speedy routine of grabbing food out of the packet and cooking it. The food prep time is limited to around 5 minutes, so thought I’d share with you what I’ve come up with!

Sizzling Prawn Skewers

Marinate enough prawns for your picnickers (I normally allow 6 big ones for each skewer) with some Sweet Chilli Sauce. Add a sprinkle of chilli powder, a little squidge of honey and some chilli flakes. Pop them in the fridge while you’re at work. Chop up some red onion and pointed sweet peppers and thread with the prawns onto the skewers. Cook on the BBQ until crisp.

Naughty Mushrooms

Pick up a pack of large mushrooms, like Portobello and snip off the stem. In a bowl combine finely chopped sweet pepper (about half a pepper), 3-4 finely chopped spring onions, 1 or 2 teaspoons of pesto depending on tastes (homemade if you have time), and half a roll of chopped goats cheese. Divide the mixture on top of each mushroom. Place directly on the grill and leave to cook for 20 minutes.

These are one of my finest inventions. I adapted the mixture from my Stuffed Potato recipe and now I don’t know which one’s better!

Simple Salmon

I love salmon and usually spice it up with lots of chilli, honey and soy Asian flavours. Sometimes I like taking it back to basics. Make a little tin bed for the salmon and squeeze half a lemon into each. Add a finely chopped garlic clove and some mixed herbs. Wrap in the foil and cook in their beds for around 10-15 minutes.

Three simple recipes, and a different and flavoursome BBQ.

After devouring our food we had a little visitor on the beach in the doggy form of our friends new puppy Macey.

She’s trained well and even arrived with some chocolate dipped strawberries.

We sat and watched the sun set while Macey licked away at our plates.

Some great beach side food and a very beautiful evening.

The Italian Life

By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way to Scotland. On Friday evening, I’ll be switching the dancing shoes for my walking boots in an attempt to complete the Three Peaks Challenge (yup, 3 mountains in 24 hours). We’re raising money for the absolutely incredible children’s charity, Julia’s House. If you remember reading my post on their fairytale event last year, you’ll already know my admiration for this amazing charity. Our team of 8 not so keen trekkers have raised over £3000 so far and the donations are still pouring in.

I’m eternally grateful for all the encouragement and well wishes we have received and hope to do everyone proud! Wish me luck!

Anyway back to Florence, Italians love 3 things in life; wine, food and coffee.

Lucky for me, I also love all three of them. Call me the honorary Italian.

From fine leathers and fabrics to colourful arrays of fruit and veg, the Italians do nothing by half’s. Wandering  through the outskirts of Florence, you find an abundance of locals living their day to day lives. Commuters in beautiful suits and ladies who lunch in small coffee shops with their handbag dogs fill this pretty streets.

This is Italy.

Oh and last but not least, the creme de la creme of Italy, Gelato. Delicious, creamy ice-cream in a huge array of flavours.

I’m a coffee and caramel kinda girl, always.

Once we’d thoroughly sizzled ourselves in the sun and tried to mingle with the locals, we headed back to the Villa for afternoon wine.

I’d picked out my favourite Rose and perched on one of the window seats in the garden.

A few minutes later I was summoned to a game of tennis.

Which soon turned into an England vs New Zealand vs Italy sports tournament. Italy won.

After all our energy was zapped, we lit the BBQ.

Meanwhile, the boys had other ideas.

Antonio prepared a traditional Italian BBQ. Herb crusted chicken, local sausages, pork and a balsamic salad.

Oh and cheese.

Under a tree arch in the sunset, we sat around the table and ate and drank the world away.

I love the Italian life.

happy campers, corfe castle

It feels insanely good to be back, and I’ll tell what’s even better than getting home at a reasonable hour and eating normal food…being sat around a camp fire with best friends, exchanging stories of travels and adventures. Hey, happy campers!

Camping is one of my favourite hobbies and as the weekends weather forecast was beyond perfect, we packed up the tent, flung a text to some friends and met in the Dorset countryside for a weekend of adventures. No sooner than the sausages began to sizzle on the BBQ, the tents were pitched and the beers were poured. We talked and drank the night away tucked under blankets and called it a night after trying to identify every twinkling star in the sky.

Morning came around too quickly (who knew it’s that light at 5am), so I snuggled up to this little fella while eating my bacon and egg muffin, slurping on a large cup of coffee. As soon as we’d fuelled ourselves up for the day, we hit country path in search of Corfe caste.

Nordon Farm Campsite is a working farm. Cows and their calfs graze in the fields alongside the tents, and geese, peacocks and chickens rule the roost at the front of the site. The goats were particularly friendly, probably because of the constant petting from the fan-base of children they’d gathered around the pen.

I’d thrown on my new favourite H&M fedora, some trusty SPF and Havianas.

Out we popped through the woodlands into a great opening of meadows. And there she was perched on the hill in front of us, Corfe Castle herself.

We danced like fairies amongst the flowers and chased the dogs until it got a little too hot and sweaty in that jacket.

Dancing Dave learnt a few tricks too.

Back on track and with the castle right besides us, I started telling the story of Corfe Castle to the kids. It goes a little something like this…

“Built by William the Conquereur in the 11th century, Corfe Castle had a hard, hard life. Besieged twice by parliament and infiltrated by the enemy from within the castle grounds, it was finally demolished. It’s remains were used by the villagers as material to build their homes.”

Fascinating huh?

The village is a toy town. Tiny cottages line the narrow streets set in the valley beneath the castle ruins. Every time I visit Corfe, I fall in love just a little bit more with its charm. 

Anyway, enough of the culture and onto the Greyhound pub garden which…another fact coming your way…is one of the most photographed pubs in the world due to it laying just beneath the castle. 

Have I mentioned my love for my new bag and jacket? I can’t seem to find the H&M jacket on their website but I’m sure they’ll be in stores. The bag can be found on the Next website here.

It was a blisteringly hot day and no better excuse to spend the whole afternoon drinking cider and Pimms in a sunny beer garden.

On our trek back to the campsite, there was no doubt about it. The adults were drunk. 

Back to the tent for a short nap…

And back to BBQ’ing. We were all so tired from the previous night’s antics and a whole day in the sun, so we set up our fire fit and warmed up before heading to bed to the sound of the cows grazing.

Sunday morning came around with the warmth of the sun burning through the tent. Gosh, I’d miss this wake up call. We begrudgingly pack away our tents as the kids protested in their car shouting “we don’t want to leave!”. Me neither.

Our last adventure of the weekend was a short trip to Swanage. You already know my love for this traditional English seaside town and even on a slightly overcast day, it is still my favourite. I grabbed a large bag of chips and curry sauce and then moved to the Purbeck Icecream stand for some honeycomb goodness.

It was the perfect weekend for the perfect adventures.