Tuesday
Jul222014

How to Serve Tapas - the ultimate finger food

It was late when we began to catch up on our day, neither of us had had dinner, but a) the thought of cooking was enough to send me running for the hills, and b) we weren’t hungry for a large plate of food.

It was the time of night when hunger is for something not insubstantial but can be nibbled, eaten with hands or a cocktail stick.  This is the time for a glass of wine, comfortable seats and food eaten in little mouthfuls. 

Spanish Tapas fits the bill.  They are the ultimate finger food.

Tapa means lid or cover.  Tapas as we know them today began their life as pieces of bread used to cover jugs of wine, to protect the wine from flies, served to farm workers as a sort of elevenses, to provide a little sustenance during the gap between breakfast and lunch.  Then people got creative and started adding small pieces of cheese or ham to the bread.

Tapas are tiny bites hot or cold bites served as an appetiser with a glass of wine or sherry, or a beer.  They range from simple items such as slices of ham or salami, cubes of cheese or tortilla, meatballs or pieces of fish, small glasses of gazpacho, pieces of fried bread, clams in chilli sauce, dates wrapped in bacon. 

Lidl have always sold some of the best cured meats on the High Street, and their new Sol & Mar range of Iberian foods is one of the most bona fide selections of Spanish food, I have eaten outside of Spain.

On a large platter I arranged a selection of Lidl’s Sol & Mar products -

  • Pata Negra Ham from outdoor black Iberian pigs, has been dry cured for 20 months
  • Dates wrapped in the thinnest bacon
  • Slices of Chorizo and Paprika Salami
  • Cubes of warm Spinach Tortilla
  • Bread Sticks with sunflower seeds – these had the most incredible flavour, and have a more flavourable taste than similar products I have eaten at several times the price.  The buttery saltiness gives a good crunch to the biscuit, with a sweetness lingering on the palate from the sunflower seeds, which also add texture.
  • Slices of Manchego Cheese – matured for three months this young sheep’s milk cheese had is supple and moist texture, with a hay and grass flavour, leaving the slightest tang on the palate.
  • Olives
  • Salted Sunflower Seeds

We drank glasses of really cold Navarra Rose wine, which is a full bodied rose without any of the overegged sweetness which is so common in the glut of roses that hit the shops this time of year.  There are flavours of cherries and strawberries, in this dry wine, which has a silkily round and balanced nose, that lingers on the palate.

There is something wonderful about serving pudding as a Tapa, which appeals to me,  possibly because it allows people to help themselves to lots of sweetness or just a bite of two.   I placed a whole Torta Imperial Nougat with just a few bits broken off in the centre of a plate,  a dish of Magalenas, and some slices melon and we helped ourselves. 

The Nougat comes covered in rice sugar paper.  The circle when broken has an almond and honey brittle with a warm and morish flavour.  While the Magalenas have a light airy crumb with a subtle sweet lemon flavour.  They really are delicious.

Lidl have really surpassed themselves with products of such quality and excellent taste they could easily have come from the finest deli.


How to Serve Tapas

Decide what role tapas will play in your evening – is it a grazing plate for two instead of dinner, a late night snack, appetisers at a drinks party where, food to accompany a pre-dinner drink or as dinner?  Also consider will people eat the tapas sitting or standing.

Three to six types should be prepared for appetisers, or party food, whereas if you are using Tapas to serve as dinner, you should prepare up to ten different types.  Multiply the amount dependant on the number of people, and always serve more than you think you will need, any leftovers can be sent home with people or eaten the next day.

Buy excellent ingredients, serve the tapas on platters and bowls, and leave out plenty of napkins and toothpicks for people to help themselves.

Remember Tapas aren’t hard to prepare and can mostly be arranged in advance - you can make them as complicated or simple as you have time for.  Some of the best Tapas I have eaten have come straight from packets, and placed onto plates.

·         Slices of cured meats laid out on a platter
·         Little bowls of olives, salted sunflower husts and nuts
·         Cubes or slices of cheese
·         Shot glasses of gazpacho or salmorejo
·         Clams
·         A whole chorizo with a knife for people to cut slices for themselves, a good tip here is to cut the first few slices off, so people know what they are expected to do
·         Bread sticks
·         Little bowls of olive oil and sherry vinegar
·         Cubed fried potatoes
·         Tiny Anchovies in small bowls
·         Deep fried squid
·         Pieces of melon, figs and grapes

The Lidl range of Iberian foods is superb, I highly recommend it.

Hope you will get the chance to eat Tapas style this week - let me know what you put together.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

 

Monday
Jul212014

Sláinte its Monday, time for some Bushmills Whiskey Lemonade

Whiskey Lemonade is a study in simplicity.  We are talking three ingredients here - Lemons, Whiskey and sugar .  

And, that's it, simple, sensation and sazzy. Not to mention perfect for serving in large pitchers at parties and BBQs.  

Good Whiskey Lemonade needs lots of lemons! I use the juice of 2 and sometimes three lemons per long glass.

What is it about squeezing lemons by hand, that is so satisfying.  The zingy scent makes me smile, and I sense I fresh rush of energy, just from inhaling the aroma.  I love the smell of lemon which lingers on my hands hours after juicing.

Lemonade: tart, refreshing, simple, with the slightless sweetness, add some 10 year old Bushmills Whiskey, and you bring the tiniest hint of smokiness which comes from the fact this Whiskey is matured for 10 years seasoned Bourbon barrels mainly from Kentucky.  The finishing notes of verbenna and the dry nature of this whiskey, open up when its stirred over lots of ice with lemon and a dash or two of sugar syrup.  I prefer this made with 10 year old Bushmills, but it is just as lovely made with Bushmills Original or Bushmills Honey.

 

Whiskey Lemonade is a summer drink at its finest, (although note to self it can be drunk anytime of year) it's freshness makes it ideal to sip at after a long day at the office.  Or actually just to enjoy over the course of an afternoon as  you watch the world go by.

The most simple way to make this for pitchers is 1/2 whiskey, 1/2 homemade or still lemonade poured into a jug packed with ice, then stir.  

Trust me it's unlikely you will want to make just one glass, but if you do, here's the recipe.

Whiskey Lemonade 

Ingredients

 

  • Bushmills Whiskey (two measures at least per person) 
  • Lemon juice (allow juice of two lemons per person)
  • Sugar Syrup to taste 

 

Method

 

  1. Fill a large highball with ice
  2. Pour over the Bushmills Whiskey
  3. Add the lemon juice and sugar syrup
  4. Stir and serve

 

 

That's it for now ...

Nics

 

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Monday
Jul212014

Quotations of the Day - July 21, 2014

'A bore has feelings. Very often he will interrupt something boring he is saying to comment that he is a bore. His wife comes over and inquires sweetly, "Is he boring you?"

If he is, maybe it's your fault. "Being interested makes one interesting," Dr. Erich Fromm observed, to which I would add that you generally get out of a conversation what you put into it.'
Barbara Walters

Did you ever think about the fact that there is only one letter difference between “anger” and “danger”? When you get angry, you are in dangerous territory. You are about to hurt others — and yourself — with your own anger.
Pastor Rick Warren

 
“Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you're not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.”
David Rockefeller

The truth is that we will never have more of what we truly desire until we become fully thankful for what we have.

“There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.”
 
Eyes are more accurate witnesses than ears.
Heraclitus of Ephesus, 535 – c. 475 BCE

Just a few of the thoughts I have been thinking about over the past week.
That's it for now ...

Nics
Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable
Thursday
Jul172014

Top Ten BBQ Tips

It's around this time of year we tend to go BBQ crazy.  When we feed our  primal instinct to get outside and cook over fire.  Things seared, BBQ'd, grilled, smoked, charred and sometimes burnt things are everywhere!  The scent of outdoor cooking lingers over garden hedges, beaches are filled with popup BBQs.  And, in anticipation of the big event fridges are stacked with ribs, steaks, burgers, sausages and ready for any opportunity to cook and eat outdoors.  Large pots of rubs are blended and marinades made.

I've been BBQ crazy since I was a child and its my favourite way to cook.  Coming from a family of BBQ enthusiasts there have been a few lessons learnt over the years, which I am going to share with you today, to get you outside and BBQing with ease.

 

Tip One - FIRE! 

This is the first thing to get right. Get the fire wrong, and your BBQ is sunk.  

Most people tend to put food onto coals too early, when the fire is still flaming, the coals haven't had a chance to heat up properly, and the BBQ is too hot.  This results in burnt outsides and raw insides, and a nasty case of food poisoning.  

A BBQ is ready to cook when the coals are all white, and you should not be able to hold your hand over the grill, because the heat is so intense.

When I light a BBQ I start with scrunched up paper, and plenty of it, then lots of kindling (you can pick this up drift wood on a beach, or sticks from a forest) or just buy a bag of sticks. Light the kindling first and get a good flame going, before pouring over the charcoal.  Some people are fans of lighter fluid at this point - I'll leave it up to you whether you want to use it or not.  All I would say is use it with extreme caution as you don't want to get burnt, or burn other people.  Certainly if you are BBQing with children do not leave the lighter fluid anywhere near them.

Depending on the size of your BBQ the coals can take up to 45 minutes to one and a half hours for them to be ready to cook on.

Light the BBQ well in advance of guests arriving and remember grill times and temperatures are guidelines. 

Things like the type, age and dampness of the charcoal, weather conditions and the core temperate of the food all affect how long it takes to grill a piece of food.  BBQing well relies a lot on feel, touch and commonsense.

Tip Two - Choose what to cook 

Use the best ingredients you can afford.  You can make up everything from scratch but don’t be afraid to cheat by buying great products already prepared from the High Street.  It’s not always practical, but it is easier if you can purchase your ingredients the days before – don’t forget things like ketchup, cheese, ice and napkins.

Think about who you are serving and how many people there are when deciding what to BBQ.  Do you want to BBQ lots of meats, chicken and fish, chops, sausages or do you want to settle on one type to grill.  Different meats need various cooking times, and all meats need space on a BBQ to cook, so don’t crowd the grill.

I’ve thrown parties where I’ve just cooked Steaks, another time it was burgers, and then for a Friday night BBQ with about 20 people sitting to eat, I choose to just cook marinaded butterflied chicken fillets.

Have fun when your choosing what to cook – experiment with pre and post cooking marinades, smoking, use dry rubs, cook in parcels and even slow cooking (I know people who BBQ their Turkeys at Christmas and Thanksgiving).

Think about your accompaniments to what has been BBQ’d.  I always recommend serving family style with several big salads, slices of bread, jars of pickles and sauces open with spoons in the middle, and either a large bowl of rice, or a bowl of tinfoil wrapped baked potatoes which you have cooked in the fire of the BBQ (don’t forget to have plenty of butter to serve with them).

My favourite salads are – Vietnamese Carrot Salad, Beetroot and Goats Cheese, Tomato and Broccoli; or mango, pomegranate and rocket. 

Tip Three – Be Prepared

Clean your BBQ and grill the day before, stock up on charcoal and sticks, and make sure you have some matches. Make your marinades the day before and leave the meat to soak.

Put a table beside your BBQ with everything the BBQ King or Queen will need when cooking – a knife, a tray to place cooked meats, somewhere else to place raw meat, oil and brush, BBQ tools, cloths and wipes.  

Before your guests arrive prepare your salads (dress them at the last moment), set the table, string the lights, get your drinks and glasses ready, garnishes cut.  Prepare everything as much as possible in advance, leaving you with more time to relax and enjoy the party atmosphere on the day.


Tip Four - Oil in a cup with a heatproof brush 

Food can dry out quickly if you just leave it there to grill.  One of the best ways to keep flavour and in the meat, and to allow it to stay succulent is to gently brush, just the meat with a little olive oil, a dash of lemon juice, salt and pepper in a cup.  Be careful just to brush the meat, or the oil will hit the coals and flare up.  You can also do this with marinade, but be careful not to brush cooked meat with a marinade were raw meat has been.

Never let a rain shower stop you from BBQing.  Here are my brother and the boys keeping it real under an umbrella.

Tip Five – Remember Food Hygiene

It is wishful thinking and seriously unhealthy to think it’s okay to let the BBQ burn off any charred  food scraps from your last grill, therefore you don’t need to clean.  Nonsense!

Clean your grill - after washing I use halved raw lemons, which I rub over the metal.  If your grill had a hard night last time you used it and is crusted with charred remains, rub a lemon over it before washing, you will be amazed at how easily the black food comes off.  But wear gloves!  I have warned you.

Have separate dishes for cooked and raw meats.  Do not place cooked meats/fish/chicken etc on plates were raw meat once rested, and never add marinade used for raw meat to cooked meat.

Your grill will be hotter in the centre and cooler at the edges, use a rack system or move food around from cooler parts to hotter ones as necessary or place food on foil to prevent it burning.

Don't cook cold meat - allow your meat to come to room temperature before cooking.  Otherwise if chicken, meat, fish or vegetables are too cool in the middle the edges and outside will burn, and look done, whilst the meat remains raw. 

Use a small sharp knife to cut into the centre of meats to check the flesh is cooked and juices run clear – juices virtually always need to run clear - unless you are eating blue or rare steak.


Tip Six – Marinades

Using marinades is easy, it just requires a little bit of thought to get the meat into the marinade preferably over night but at least 30 minutes before cooking.  Marinades flavour and tenderise meat

For example if you have a piece of meat you have spent serious money on – its well hung, preferably organic etc etc etc – then just lick a brush with oil over it, and then a little freshly ground salt and pepper.  However, if your meat or veggies are from a regular shop, then they definitely need to be marinaded in order to get maximum flavour.

Some of my favourites are –

Coco Cola, garlic, honey, soy and ginger for chicken; lemon, garlic and oil for steaks, wholegrain mustard, honey and a dash of cider vinegar for sausages, yogurt, mint, lemon, cumin, and coriander for lamb, and my sister in law’s outstanding Pork Chop Marinade – soy, scallion, brown sugar, fish sauce and garlic.

There are also some great pre-made marinades available, my favourites are Piri Piri and Smokey BBQ.

They say you shouldn’t marinade for too long, but on my travels I have seen meat marinaded for up to a week.  Do what works for you. 

Tip Seven - Seasoning

Seasoning is essential when cooking meat.  Don’t neglect it!  Never add salt to an overnight marinade, it can only be added a maximum of two hours before cooking, or it will dry out food.  Pepper and spices are grand overnight.  Season meat with salt just before grilling, and don’t be shy about it, season well. 

Tip Eight – Vegetarians

Veggies love BBQ’d food too, and there are plenty of ways to grill food that will make them smile.  Think grilled corn, Hallmoui and Pepper Kebabs, sticks of Asparagus served with grilled lemon wedges, veggie burgers made from lentils and chickpeas, there are also some great meat alternatives on offer, I’ve been known to enjoy the odd Linda MacCartney veggie sausage! 

Tip Nine – Pudding

BBQ’s tend to be Meatfeasts so for pudding you don’t want anything to too heavy.  I recommend serving a big bowl of sliced watermelon, and slices of pineapple that you have grilled for a few minutes each side on the BBQ.  Samores, BBQ Brownies, toasted marshmallows, cookies and an ice cream are fantastic other options.


Tip Ten – RELAX and ENJOY yourself!


What are your top BBQ tips?

That's it for now ...

 

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Monday
Jul142014

Spar Summer is 100% Northern Irish

Supporting local producers is very important.  In doing so we sustain jobs, help our economy and encourage producers to keep providing and creating great products.  This is something Spar Northern Ireland do very well.

Talking to the Henderson Group’s Fresh Food Director, Neal Kelly, I discovered, that Spar's

'Summer eating range this season is 100% sourced from farmers and growers in Northern Ireland, from the farms of Ballyclare to the lush grounds of Killinchy; all our meat, poultry, sausages, salads and fresh accompaniments are 100% made in Northern Ireland.”

The Henderson Group works with suppliers including Willowbrook Foods in Killinchy, Fred C Robinson in Ballyclare, Rockvale Poultry in County Armagh, Avondale Foods in Craigavon, and Around Noon in Newry. 

This is good news!  As our support of the local Agri-Food industry in Northern Ireland, makes a positive and significant difference to the lives of people who work really hard in this sector.  

I love to BBQ, as you will well know, and serving on my table food that has been grown and harvested in Northern Ireland, is one of my greatest pleasures.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Photographs taken by Aaron at Harrisons Photography, Belfast

 

Friday
Jul112014

Sláinte it's Friday, join me for a cocktail - Smirnoff Gold spiked Ginger Lemongrass tea

 

Standing golden flecked and proud, a bottle of Smirnoff Gold sits before me on the table, I have been staring at it for some time, wondering what to create.  Apple seems the natural mixer - but it doesn't feel right for summer, a little to reminiscent of the fallen leaves and Apple tarts in Autumn.

It's warm out.  Humidity is high, and nothing seems to quench thirst.  I think of my time spent in Southern Carolina, and the numerous glasses of iced tea I drank.  

Iced tea - doesn't have to be made with actual black tea, maybe there is an iced team combo that would work with the Smirnoff Gold.

I pour a timbal full and taste.  Swirling the thick liqueur around in my mouth.  Lemon, ginger they are flavours that would work with cinnamon.  The zingy freshness of the lemon and ginger would sit well with the sweet spice notes from the cinnamon.

 

I look at the tea cupboard do I have anything that would work, and I lift out a box of really refreshing Lemongrass and Citrus Tea.  In a large saucepan I make several cups, then leaving it to cool I pick up one of the books from my summer reading list.  When I finish the book the tea still isn''t cool.

In a large jug I place slices of ginger that I have bashed with a cleaver to smash them slightly, which allows their firey flavour to be released.  I then add thin slices of lemon and pour over the Smirnoff Gold.  Letting the flavours mingle for a moment, my patience has worn thin waiting for the tea to cool, so I add a large bag of ice, to speed up tht process.

Filling the jug with ice, I pour the now cooled tea over the top, until its about 3/4 full, then I top the mixture off with some old fashioned lemonade.

 

Filling up some small glasses with ice, I pour the Smirnoff Gold spiked Ginger Lemongrass tea  I garnish with pieces of lemon and freshly cut ginger.  The result is a smooth clean, fresh taste, which easily quenches thirst, with its sweet sharp scent uplifting the spirits.  

Recipe - Smirnoff Gold spiked Ginger Lemongrass tea (makes one two litre jug)

Ingredients

  • seven 35ml measures Smirnoff Gold
  • one lemon sliced
  • one bulb ginger sliced and smashed
  • one litre of traditional Lemonade
  • one bag of ice
  • one litre of lemongrass citrus tea - cooled
  • Lemon and Ginger slices to garnish

Method

 

  1. Place lemon and ginger slices in the bottom of a jug, cover with Smirnoff Gold
  2. Fill jug with ice about 1inch from the top
  3. Fill jug 1/2 way with cold Lemongrass tea
  4. Top up with traditional Lemonade mix and leave to sit for five minutes
  5. Serve in glasses filled with ice with a slice of ginger and lemonade

 

 

Now that is a cooling drink for warm days.

Sláinte it's Friday!

That's it for now ...

 

Nics

 

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

Thursday
Jul102014

Top BBQ Picks from Marks and Spencer's Summer of Flavour

 

My love for BBQ burns brightly, glowing like a hot sweet smoky hickory chip.

 BBQ is my favourite way to cook and to entertain.  Nothing else comes close to cooking outdoors, the meat and veggies infused with woodsmoke and that smoky taste of charcoal.  There is something primal and ever quite hardcore about cooking outside over an open fire (but if you grill with gas, well that's just great too).

 

'How can you be bother Nicky?' that's a question frequently asked, when I rave on about my love for the good old BBQ.  It's quickly followed up with - 'there's so much mess' and 'where do you find the time'  well let me let you into a little secret - I choose to make the time, and I am not shy about sharing my love of pre-prepared products from brilliant food retailers, like Marks and Spencer.

Repeat after me there is NO SHAME in not preparing everything from scratch.  It is perfectly acceptable to get pre-prepared food products, as long as you buy products of great quality, where thought and time have been spent developing the items.  Products like this can always be found at Marks and Spencer, especially in their Summer of Flavour Grill Range.

When I was in London this spring, I had the opportunity to meet several of the Marks and Spencer Food Developers, and we had some fascinating conversations about the amount of work that goes into the store's product ranges.  

For the summer of flavour range these guys travel across the world, sourcing produce, developing flavours with world renouned experts in BBQ.  And, they have brought to our table some real good'uns.

There are a range of burgers - beef, veggie, venison, salmon - and then a selection of toppings.  My favourite are the Grill Pickles and Polish Dog Relish.  Both of these are as good as I have had anywhere in the southern states of the USA.  They have a tangy finish which merges with sweetness and a satisfying crunch.

Marks and Spencer have strong tangy Mature Cheddar slices with red chilli pepper flakes in them.  This cheese melts easily and brings a bit of ommph to your burger.

The burgers are the best you can buy on the High Street.  The meat is succulent, full of flavour and locally sourced in the UK.  Cooked with just a hint of pink in the middle, or in traditional Northern Ireland style - well done - they still pack a punch.

Edgy Veggie burgers - fooled some of my team into believing they were actually eating meat, the texture and flavour, of these puy lentil and soy based burgers, flavoured with earthy thyme, beetroot porcini mushrooms, sweet caramelised onions and black pepper.  They are a definite on my summer table - not only for veggie's but for those who want to cut down on their meat intake, and eat something lighter.

The Vension Burgers are made from Northern Irish Venison are full of flavour and a great option for those who want to eat red meat and burgers but don't want the high cholesterol worries that come with eating normal beef burgers.  Venison is high in protein, B vitamins and iron, and is one of the leanest red meats available, with a light gamey taste.  It's important as you cook these fellas, to brush on a little olive oil across the meat as they grill, to stop them drying out.

 

The Maple marinaded flank steaks grilled easily, their sweetness enhanced as the meat caramelised over a smoky grill.  

Serving steaks as big chunks of meat can be very masculine, not to mention offering one big piece of meat, stops people eating some of the other meaty options you have been grilling.  Cutting these Maple Flank steaks across the grill after they have been cooked, and tossing them with the Grill Range Sweet Potato Wedges, with chipotle a flick of parsley and sour cream, allows people to have a piece of steak, without feeling they must chomp their way through a full chunk.

To get a really smoky flavour on the wedges, cook them in the oven indoors, then toss in a holey wok, allowing the scent of the hot coals a chance to quickly interact with the potato flesh.

Good kebabs are absolutely wonderful, and the selection at Marks and Spencer, this summer is authentic and tasty.  Arranged on a large platter with a few dips in the middle, you can offer kebabs as a first bite of BBQ while other meat is cooking or place on the centre of a table for people to help themselves family style.

Tandoori Lamb Kebabs are little balls of lightly spiced lamb mince, with pieces of green pepper and cherry tomatoes.  They are bite sized and perfect for serving as appetisers with drinks.  Should you wish to do this, they can be BBQ'd a head of time, then kept warm until serving in a low oven.


Chicken Souvlaki are pieces of chicken fillet are packed onto skewers alongside bay leaves, red onion and chunks of lemon.  There was a freshness and a depth to these Souvlaki, as the meat as soon as it came into contact with the lemon, onion and bay began to marinade in the packet, then when placed upon the grill, the lemon released its sugars, bringing a sweetness to the critusy meat. 

Lamb Shish Kebabs have a good depth of flavour with cumin, smoked paprika and chilli.  The meat has a sweet lamb flavour and is not overly greasy.


Vegetarians often object to having a hard time at BBQ, but really it jsut takes a little thought and consideration, and they are very easily catered for, as vegetables and grillable cheese, also take on new caramelised flavours when they are cooked over hot coals.

Hallumoi red peppers, and courgettes are skewered together providing a pop of colour on the otherwise meat heavy grill.  I brush these kebabs with a lemon oil, and turn them regularly while cooking to allow them to cook evenly.  The firm cheese blisters on the outside, then is soft firm goo when bitten into.

I don't think there is anything better than grilled sweetcorn.  A hot grill enhances the flavour of sweetcorn, because natural sugars of the corn caramelise.  Whereas with boiling the flavour pours down the table in the water.  Grilling sweetcorn is simple the secret is to not let it burn so don’t walk away from the grill once you start, at least not for too long. 

 Rib Ticklers are authentic southern BBQ ribs, that have been broiled.  We heated ours in the oven, then transfered to the BBQ for a dose of smoky flavour, then back to the oven with the thick sachet of BBQ sauce poured over.  

Good ribs need to have layers of flavours which begin with a complex spice rub, hardwood smoke, a tangy sweet sticky sauce, held together with the pork.  Marks and Spencer have got this process perfectly, and it would be hard to find better ribs in a restaurant.  The meat falls off the bone, and is so succulent, the sauce is sticky but neither too sweet or sour.

Pulled Pork - is making a huge entry this summer into Ireland and Britain's foodie landscape - is American BBQ at its best.  Cooked long and slow, tenderly even over low coals, the meat can be gently pulled apart by hungry hands.  It is smoky, juicy, and served with a sharp tasting sauce which stimulates the palate.  The particulars of the sauce change from state to state, and a fierce battle wages at BBQ competitions as to who has got it right.

Marks and Spencer pulled pork has a gorgeous deep, smoky tang with a sauce just balanced on that blend of sweet and sour.  Shredded we added it to the top of burgers, mixing pork and beef to create an enormous carnivore sandwich.

Lamb Lollipops - that attracative name makes me smile.  These little slices of trimmed rack of lamb come in a thick citrusy marinade and lightly cooked so the lamb remains pink are melt in the mouth gorgeous.  They can be served as part of a platter and also make perfect pre-dinner nibbles served with glasses of fizz.

Butterflied Chicken fillet marinaded in ginger, soy and chilli have a lovely sweet sour flavour, which paired with light smoke makes them very morish.

Marks and Spencer have worked wonders with this Grill Range, the products have been carefully developed and thought out.  They use top quality ingredients - local produce from carefully selected farms.  The tastes are authentic and allow you to have excellent BBQ without the stresses and strains of endless preparation.  

And that's what BBQ is all about  - great food, friends and enjoyment, and M&S's grill range allow you to do this.

Happy Grilling friends.

That's it for now ...

 

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable