To celebrate the end of exams and the school year I will be breaking out the barbecue in June for some relaxed entertaining at home. I favour a barbecue with a large surface area so I can bank the charcoal more heavily to one end and have a space without charcoal (and intense heat) at one side of the cooking area. This is great for resting things that have been cooked or are in danger of catching fire or cooking too quickly.

Barbecued Harissa Lamb Steaks with Jewelled Couscous and Tomato Salad
Lamb Leg Steaks
Harissa Paste
Fresh red and Green Chillies
Spanish Onion
Pomegranate Seeds
Heritage Tomatoes
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar

I generously coat lamb leg steaks (at least two per person) in harissa paste and crushed garlic and allow them to marinate overnight in the fridge.

I light the barbecue 30-40 minutes before I want to start cooking and don’t put anything on it until ash has started to form and the heat begins to moderate. Ideally, the lamb steaks should be lightly-crisped on the outside and pink in the middle. They should be cooked for 12-15 minutes and turned frequently and then rested for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Prepping side dishes in advance saves a lot of hassle. I allow a cup of dry couscous (approximately 100g) per person and place it in a large, pre-warmed, lidded casserole dish. I then add exactly the same volume of (very) hot vegetable stock before letting it rest for 10 minutes with the lid on. After 5 minutes you can add a splash of olive oil and stir the couscous to help even cooking. Meanwhile I lightly fry a sofrito of sliced fresh red and green chillies and a chopped white onion. You then add the chillies and onion to the couscous along with 2 heaped tablespoons of pomegranate seeds to ‘jewel’ it.

Serving tomato salad fridge cold is a criminal offence so it is important to have the best tomatoes you can find at ambient temperature. I slice them finely and serve them in a shallow bowl with a simple dressing of red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. A few hand-torn leaves of fresh basil are a good addition.

Wine-wise I would be drawn to a lightly-chilled, quaffable and cooling red. This month’s Saumur would be perfect.



June Wines of the Month: £63.00 per case (of six bottles) delivered, saving £16.90 on list prices.