Something magical happens when you cook food on a barbecue. It might be because of the quick cooking times, or perhaps the fresh air gives you an appetite, but there's nothing like hot food straight off an outdoor grill. If the weather threatens your outdoor feast, don't despair, many recipes also work in a domestic kitchen.
Make summer sizzle with some timeless classic hamburgers, tasty grilled chicken or meltingly tender lamb. There are also options for fish dishes that work well on the grill, plus mouth-watering vegetarian recipes and salads to make it into the perfect meal al fresco. Most of these dishes are quick and easy to make and the flavour will be far better than anything bought from a shop. Even a homemade smoky barbecue rub can make a big difference.
Beef and hamburgers
Need something that will please the burger fans but with a twist? With north African spices and fresh herbs, these meatball kebabs can be made in any size to suit all members of the family. Kids might also enjoy the pancetta hot dogs.
A barbecue isn't a barbecue without some juicy grilled chicken, and these chicken and mozzarella skewers make the most of inexpensive but very tasty chicken thighs.
More tasty chicken ideas:
Chicken skewers with couscous
Chicken satay sticks
Thai chicken burgers
Lamb responds to hot coals like no other meat, bringing back memories of holidays on the Med. These minted lamb kebabs will put a smile on the face of anyone who's ever eaten kofte. A quick sauce made from chopped fresh mint swirled into natural yogurt or a chilli sauce would be the perfect accompaniment. Serve in pitta bread and you won't need to bother with plates.
More ways to barbecue lamb:
Marinated minty lamb
Fish and seafood cook very quickly so lend themselves well to a family feast in the garden as you won't be slaving over a hot grill for long. Try these monkfish and prawn kebabs for an outdoor supper to remember.
More fish and seafood options:
Swordfish kebabs with tahini sauce
Piri piri swordfish with tomato salsa
Lime and coriander sea bass
Scallops wrapped in Parma ham
Looking for a meat-free option? These Indian-spiced pumpkin wedges have delicate seasoning that marries well with the natural sweetness of the vegetable that grilling will enhance.
More vegetable ideas:
Roast vegetable and herb couscous
Charred leek salad with hazelnuts
Roasted sweet potato salad
Salads and sides
Mediterranean classics such as panzanella and middle eastern bread salad will help feed a large group and benefit from being made in advance, freeing you up to watch the grill and grab a cold drink.
Charred corn with chipotle chilli butter
Rocket and Parmesan salad
Classic garden salad
Roast tomato and mozzarella salad
Cooking's always thirsty work, so why not try some zingy fresh lemonade, a big jug of Pimm's or some ice cold beer.