It might be early in the season, but the UK is already having a summer that beats previous years hands down. Nothing says summer more than a BBQ party with friends.
But playing host can be stressful. If you’re planning on dusting off your grill and making the most of the sunshine, use these simple party recipes to whip up an Instagram-worthy spread in no time
The Retro Side Dish: Waldorf Salad
Though it may have risen to popularity in the same era as avocado bathroom suites, Waldorf salad has been biding its time, waiting to re-take its place as the perfect BBQ side dish.
Both crunchy and creamy, it’s a fruit and nut salad.
To make it; dice some fresh apples, grapes, celery — keep the celery chunks nice and small so it doesn’t overpower the rest of the flavours.
To make the dressing, stir in several spoonfuls of mayonnaise, until everything is coated. Add a dollop of crème fraîche and finish by sprinkling chopped walnuts or sliced almonds on top.
To save time, buy pre-cut packets of nuts. You can also chop the apples in advance and keep them in some water, in the fridge.
Crunchy and creamy, it pairs perfectly with deep chargrilled BBQ flavours.
The Homemade Burger: Lamb and Mint
Instead of defaulting to the usual beef burgers, mix it up at your next BBQ with some homemade lamb and mint burgers.
You’ll need a packet of minced lamb, a handful of breadcrumbs, a beaten egg and some finely chopped mint. Mix all the ingredients together and squeeze tightly to form patties.
Make them before your guests arrive and leave to chill in the fridge for an hour or so, to help everything bind together.
To really raise the bar, serve the lamb burgers in a brioche bun with feta cheese crumbled on top.
The Space-Saving Side: Spicy Roast Peppers
Everyone knows the downside of BBQs is having to wait for the food to cook! If you’re throwing a big party, it can be tough to coordinate timings and find space for everything on the grill.
Take the pressure off and make the chef’s job easier by using your oven to whip up some of the side dishes while you socialise.
Roast peppers make a great side dish and help cater for any veggies at the party too. Use a range of different colour peppers, to make the dish look extra appealing.
Drizzle sliced peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with a generous tablespoon of smoked paprika to give them a gentle heat. If you’re a spice lover, upgrade it to cayenne pepper to really give things a kick.
Freshly ground salt and pepper will finish this dish off perfectly. These are also great served cold the next day — if you have any left!
The Burger’s Best Friend: French Fries
What goes with a burger? Chips! A proper, chargrilled burger is finished to perfection with crunchy fries. But with all the prep that goes in to a BBQ, fries often get overlooked.
With the oven already on for your pepper side dish, it’s the perfect opportunity to throw in some McCain Crispy French Fries.
Done in around 15 minutes, serve them in a large dish, on the centre of the picnic table, for people to help themselves. You know the kids will be all too happy to help themselves!
The Fancy Salad: Fig, Goats’ Cheese and Prosciutto
With so much good stuff coming off the grill, it can be easy for a green salad to get overlooked.
Make sure the salad earns its place on the table with this tasty Greek-inspired recipe.
Though this side salad sounds fancy, you’ll only need a handful of ingredients to make it.
Pick up some mixed leaves and some rocket. Chop figs into quarters, crumble the goats’ cheese and tear strips of prosciutto into mix — this should be rough and ready, not neatly chopped.
The creamy texture of the cheese works perfectly with the salty ham and sweet figs. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil or look for a French-style dressing if you prefer something more creamy.
The Finishing Touch: Homemade Tzatziki
Ketchup might be the default choice at a BBQ, but to give your party a continental twist, whip up some homemade tzatziki.
Of course, you can buy it ready made, but there’s only four ingredients to this fresh-tasting dip: Greek yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and mint.
The main prep work is actually centred around the cucumber. Instead of chopping it, grate it and sprinkle with some salt. Put the grated cucumber on some kitchen paper and squeeze it to get rid of the excess water.
Finely chop the garlic and then mix all of the ingredients together. If you’ve got some lemons hanging around from your drinks, a little squeeze of lemon juice will give it a bit of extra zing.
Make a generous batch, then serve it with crisps and nibbles while the BBQ is heating up then dollop it generously on top of the burgers.
By following these recipes, you’ll definitely be able to cater to all tastes and ages, so make sure you lap up all the praise for your BBQ hosting skills!