Inclement British summers mean that when those rare days of glorious sunshine finally happen, they must be savoured at all costs, with eating and drinking outdoors becoming a necessity, I get the joys of outside cooking and not just a casual BBQ! I get to work at many amazing venues with outside kitchens which mean you can really cook anything you want, The outside kitchen at West Lexham is fabulous, with a wonderful semi covered area, with stoves, fridges and seating areas, it really is lovely watching people enjoy relaxing and eating outside , chatting with friends and savouring the beauty of a late summer evening.

What you serve at your gathering is equally important as the company you keep, keep it seasonal and simple but with fresh, bold flavours. We often cook paella outside for large parties; there is a bit of theatre involved that is a talking point of the party and when ready, it looks stunning.

And finally, don’t forget the setting, we serve the feasts in a “glorious technicolour Berber marquee”. If this sounds a little much then you can still add a pinch of Moorish magic. Burn tealights in Moroccan glasses, dump the paper plates in favour of some good china and proper cutlery, or forget plates altogether and use flat-breads warmed over the coals instead. Serve chilled glasses of dry sherry or fresh mint tea made with water from your camping kettle, stare into the dying embers of your fire and allow the scent of burning coals to transport you to distant lands.

The Recipe

As we are approaching asparagus season and I do love it to be grilled, this fits so wonderfully with outside cooking. Asparagus can be tricky to BBQ, it can fall down into the coals or just be really fiddly to turn so the trick is to thread it onto soaked wooden skewers. This way you just turn the whole lot once and when you’re ready to serve simply slide off the skewers.

Threading the asparagus is a little fiddly but I promise you your effort will be rewarded. The best way to cook the asparagus is on a high heat and use a fabulous dressing like this soy sauce one, salty and delicious.

  • 16- 20 asparagus spears
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

Method & Instructions

In a small bowl, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and sesame seeds and stir with a fork to mix. Brush this mixture on the asparagus rafts on both sides. Season the asparagus with a little salt and lots of pepper.

1. Grill the asparagus on a barbecue or in a griddle pan for 4-5 mins per side, turning with tongs. Sprinkle with sesame mix as they grill and serve with fabulous fresh green salads, roasted aubergines, flat breads, hummus, all get to share the food and share the love of the food !