Entries in Barbecues (6)

Friday
Jul082011

How to throw the perfect barbecue

Throw the best barbecue party this year with the help of these tipsGetting the barbecue going, the food prepared and the conversation started is all part of throwing the perfect summer barbecue. So, if you’re wondering what food to serve your guests that has something a little different, we have some incredible, mouth-watering barbecue recipes for you to try out.

However, it can all lie in the finer details when making your barbecue unforgettable.

Creating the perfect place setting is essential when wanting to make an impression. Make sure your tableware is eye catching; creating a centre piece with a collection of lanterns (these will become useful as soon as the sun sets in) will instantly form a talking point. One of our favourites is the willow and glass lantern as it fits most garden styles, has a rustic feel and is wonderful as a focal point on the table. You may even want to spread a tablecloth over the table to make it look more decorative; if so why not clip it into place with these flower tablecloth clips? They’re fantastic in case a wind begins to pick up.

For guests with young families it’s always a great idea to have a few outdoor games to prevent the children from getting bored with adult conversation. There are some amazing children’s activities to keep them entertained and even for you to join in with. Why not have a game of cricket while you wait for the food to cook?

When the day turns into the night ensure you can still enjoy being outside by switching on some outdoor lighting or perhaps starting up a chiminea or firepit. Not only will your guests be kept warm and be able to see across the table when the night settles in, it’s also a great way to create a cosy atmosphere. The only problem you may encounter is getting your guest to leave!

Notcutts


Monday
Jul042011

Our Favourite BBQs

Rio Stone BBQ - Masonry BarbecueSummer wouldn’t be the same without a good old British BBQ; they’re the talking point of many summer weekends and can sometimes be the subject for light rivalry between neighbours. Some believe it’s all about the way you cook your food that makes a barbecue; some prefer a gas BBQ, others a charcoal.

However, at Notcutts we believe they are all as good as each other and are proud to offer our customers a fantastic range of all types of barbecue, as well as all the accessories from barbecue covers to tableware.

It can be tricky to choose the right barbecue for you. So to make life a little bit easier, we have selected our favourite BBQs that we think will impress your guests and have you cooking some mouth watering dishes.

Gas Barbecue

Salsa 3 burner Gas BBQ – Medium sized and impressively built, this barbecue not only offers three burners, a griddle plate and a stainless steel hood, for the time being it’s half price! This spectacular gas BBQ is now only £249.99 or just £224.99 for Sage members.

Why not take a look at our full range of gas barbecues to see what else we have available for you?

Charcoal Barbecue

Weber One Touch Original Charcoal BBQ – This classic charcoal barbecue is manufactured by the well respected brand Webber and operates a very clever system. Webber’s patented one touch cleaning system opens all three vents, which gives you control over the temperatures inside the barbecue and ensures easy cleaning as it catches the ashes onto a removable plate.

Not the right barbecue for you? Why not view our full range of charcoal barbecues?

Masonry Barbecue

Tuscan Stone BBQ - If you’re looking to make your BBQ a focal point in the garden, this is the perfect barbecue to have. Not only is the Tuscan Stone barbecue aesthetically pleasing, it also produces mouth watering food. You can even customise it so it fits in with the rest of your garden furniture. Simply paint the exterior to match your garden and you’re ready to get your barbecue season going.

There is a great range of masonry barbecues for you to view that can cater for most requirements and budgets.

Notcutts

Saturday
Jul022011

Barbecue Recipes

bbq recipesTo help your summer sparkle we have brought together some brilliant BBQ recipes from across the world. Ditch the dull supermarket bought sausages and burgers and instead throw some locally sourced fresh fish, home-grown vegetables and even fruit onto the grill. With these fantastic recipes you can be outside and enjoying the sunshine quicker than you can say ‘barbecue’.

BBQ Fish recipes

Why not find out how flavoursome fish can be when you put it on the barbie with these recipes? They’re simple, but will always make an impact when served onto the table.

Salmon with soy and brown sugar marinade

Ingredients

1 tbsp lemon zest                                     1 tbsp garlic (finely chopped)

Freshly ground black pepper                      5 tbsp soy sauce

4 tbsp dark brown soft sugar                     5 tbsp water

4 tbsp vegetable oil 700g                           Salmon fillets

Method

  1. Mix all of the ingredients listed above (apart from the salmon) together in a bowl until sugar is dissolved.
  2.  Place the fish in a large resealable plastic bag, along with the marinade and seal. Make sure the marinade is covered on both sides of the salmon.
  3.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until ready to BBQ.

Stuffed Red Snapper

Ingredients

3 tbsp butter                                               5 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs

1 spring onion (chopped)                             1/8 tsp salt

1 stalk celery (diced)                                   1 clove garlic (finely chopped)

110g cooked prawns                                    110g cooked crab meat

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley                        Fillet red snapper

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper       

Method

  1. When making the stuffing, melt 2 tbsp of butter in a frying pan and then add the breadcrumbs. Sauté and stir the mixture over medium to high heat until the breadcrumbs are browned and put into a mixing bowl.
  2. Melt the rest of the butter in the frying pan and sauté the spring onion, celery and garlic until tender.
  3. Add them to the mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs and add the prawns, crab, parsley, salt and pepper. Toss gently.
  4. On a cutting board lay foil on the surface area and place the fillets of red snapper on top. Mould the stuffing on top of the fillets and curl up the edges of the foil.

Indian spiced sea food (Medium-hot)

Ingredients

Fish of choice (whole)                    1 tbsp red chilli powder

1 tsp garlic paste                           1 tsp ginger paste

1 tsp black pepper powder             1 tsp chaat masala powder

1/2 tsp gram masala powder          1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tbsp soy sauce                            1 tbsp lemon juice

Salt to taste                                   2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Wash the fish and remove the fins, leaving the tail and head intact and score the fish to the bone three times.
  2. Apply the ginger and garlic pastes between the fish cuts and leave to marinate for 10-12 minutes.
  3. Whilst you’re leaving the fish to marinate, mix the rest of the ingredients (apart from the olive oil) together in a mixing bowl.
  4. Now apply the rest of the spices to the cuts you previously made to your fish and leave to marinade, again for another 10-12 minutes.
  5. Before cooking rub olive oil over your fish.

Barbecuing Vegetables and Fruit

When you grill vegetables on a barbecue the flavour intensifies as the moisture evaporates and the sugars become condensed. Vegetables should be grilled on a medium heat until it has grill marks and is tender when pierced with a knife. The amount of time a vegetable takes to cook depends on the size and how it’s been prepared.

When it comes to fruit, you should wait until the coals begin to die out. It’s important to know that soft fruits such as bananas and plums just need to be heated and not cooked and benefit from having their skins still on as this prevents them becoming mushy. With hard fruits a great tip is to brush them with butter to prevent them from sticking to the grill. Again the time it takes to cook them relies heavily on the size and how it’s been prepared.

TOP TIP: Due to many fruits having a high level of water it’s a good idea to let them cool for a while, otherwise the fruit may cause serious burns to the mouth.

Cooking Techniques

When cooking fish people tend to wrap their fish in foil to help capture all the flavours and prevent the fish being burnt. However, there is another way that keeps your fish moist and makes for an interesting barbecue display – this technique is called Plank Cooking.

Plank Cooking

  1. Ensure you have a good set of wood planks (these tend to be cedar or alder) and give them a good wash.
  2. Before you use them lug some olive oil in the hollowed out areas to stop them from cracking and soak them for at least 30 minutes.
  3. When your barbecues reaches roughly 180°C (350°F) place the planks in and leave for 10 minutes so they can warm up.
  4. When your planks are warm remove them using tongs, place your fish and return to the BBQ to cook for roughly 15 minutes, depending on size.

Notcutts

Thursday
May192011

Our Summer Season is Launched

Our summer season collection has just been launched on Notcutts.co.uk and what a great range of flowers and garden essentials we have to offer you. Now is the time to get your hanging baskets ready to help dress the walls and fences of the garden and have an abundance of containers brimming with colour and fragrances across the patio. Summer is such a wonderful time, the grass is green, the sun is out and the flowers are filling our borders attracting wildlife to our homes.

When we think of the summer, we can’t help but day dream about the barbecues we will be having with family and friends, getting our hands dirty planting new flowers and watching them blossom to their full glory. And with our summer season collection you can do all of that.

You can find a great range of flowers to incorporate into the garden, amazing deals on a variety of barbecues and so much more, the possibilities are truly endless. When the sun is out who wants be stuck inside when there is so much to do and see in the garden?

If you want to be sure your garden is being put to good use, not only by your family and yourself, but by wildlife, there are some quick and easy steps you can take. Putting up a bird table will encourage birds into the garden, but to keep them visiting over the sunny months why not put up a nest box in a tree and create a safe home for them? Another creature you may want to encourage in the garden is the bee, they are humble insects that many gardeners love to see in their gardens. As they collect pollen and nectar, cross pollination occurs, which can have incredible effects in the borders.

There is so much you can do in your garden, making it a sacred place to relax in; you never get twogardens looking the same, which makes gardening such a fun, personal and rewarding activity .

Notcutts


Thursday
Apr142011

Getting My Garden Furniture Ready

This weGarden Furniture setekend has been lovely, I must admit the weather has been a bit up and down, but generally it has been quite warm. There has been a lot of buzz around the allotment, with the old boys being quite concerned that this summer is set to be a scorcher. For me, that can only mean one thing; if the weather is going to be hot and sunny, it’s barbeque season.

I am a big barbeque fan and won’t let anyone else near them (yes, I have two; a charcoal and a gas) and most certainly won’t let anyone else cook on them or worse, tell me how to cook on them. I adore having a barbeque in the summer whilst the family are sitting around enjoying the food, the garden and of course, my food.

It is a great opportunity to show people how self sufficient you can be, most of the cooking I do on the barbeque is using the food that I have grown myself on the allotment. When Mrs McGregor’s friends come over (we like to do a mini “Come Dine With Me”) they are always amazed at how much we grow and how tasty they are. My favourite memory of my wife’s friend, Claire was when she said “this is much better than what you get in the supermarket”; my face instantly dropped. Of course it is better than something you buy in a supermarket; I grew these vegetables for months. I must admit, it is nice to know that you can taste the difference (no pun intended) instantly.

So with the barbeque season fresh in my mind and getting a little bit over excited for a man of my age, I have been taking the baby steps and just thought to check what the garden furniture looks like. I was pleasantly surprised that it was pretty much all still intact and had survived the dreadful winter. There is a bit of DIY here and there to do, but most of it all looks in good knack. I will be heading down to the Woodbridge garden centre soon, I think we could do with a new garden furniture set.

Will keep you posted,

Mr McGregor