Heatwave – it’s one of my favourite words! Possibly because I spend most of my time in London where you can never be certain of a decent summer. And a heatwave generally doesn’t mean death and destruction as it can do in hotter parts of the world. English heatwaves are gentler, though you wouldn’t necessarily think so if you’d heard the somewhat alarming warnings on the radio this morning. It’s only likely to reach 30C!
Anyway, when the sun does come out, I immediately gravitate towards my garden. I love eating al fresco and lighting the barbecue, of course.
Despite my strong, carniverous, Southern African genes, I don’t believe barbecues are entirely about slabs of meat. I treat my barbecue as an outdoor oven, I can create anything I want out there in the sunshine. So today I’m cooking up some deliciously sweet seafood kebabs.
This simple, summery dish is wrapped in foil so it can steam in the juices and flavours of the marinade. It’s quick and easy and makes a lovely light dinner. I served it with a jacket potato, one of my favourite comfort foods.
Scallop and prawn skewers in ginger and lemongrass
Serves 2 (makes 4 skewers)
12 medium to large prawns, heads removed, peeled and deveined
12 small scallops
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
1 small packet of asparagus tips
For the marinade
Juice of two lemons
2 tbsps chopped ginger
4 sticks of lemongrass, sliced
Half a cup of olive oil
A good grind of black pepper
Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add the prawns, scallops, asparagus and pepper. Leave to marinate for 1-2 hours.
In the meantime soak the wooden skewers in cold water so they don’t burn when you cook.
Thread the ingredients onto the skewers, alternating with different ones until you have used everything up.
Tear four squares of tinfoil and lay each skewer on one. Divide the marinade between the four skewers, pouring it over.
Wrap the foil loosely around the skewers so none of the juices can escape.
Place on the barbecue on a medium heat and cook for about 15 minutes.
Unwrap carefully and serve.
My top tips
You can buy prawns already peeled, deheaded and deveined which will cut down significantly on the preparation time. Preparing prawns is not my favourite pastime!
Try different vegetables, eg red peppers, spring onions or even fruit like pineapple or mango.
You could add a chunky white fish for a more substantial skewer, like monkfish.
I like the smaller Patagonian roeless scallops which have a lovely sweetness to them, and are perfectly bite-sized.
For a delicious jacket potato, rub your potato thoroughly with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper before wrapping in foil and baking in the oven for at least 45 minutes.
Looking for a new barbecue? Birstall have a good range to choose from, visit http://www.birstall.co.uk/ to find one that’s perfect for you.