Barbecues are a great way to have a group of friends over for an evening without having to spend hours in the kitchen preparing beforehand. Pretty much every meat barbecues well, and needs very little preparation. There are also plenty of vegetarian options for barbecues like veggie kebabs.
Of course, you can make it a lot more involved, if you enjoy making marinades and doing more elaborate barbecue cooking. There are also plenty of side dishes you can prepare like potato salad, rice salad and green salads.
People often make the mistake of not giving the bread that accompanies the barbecued meats much thought – but if you take the trouble to choose interesting bread and rolls like those topped with toasted seeds or made with wholemeal flour, it can really add to the enjoyment of the meal.
Of course, you’ll need to make sure you have enough cold drinks in supply – with plenty of fizzy drinks and juices for any kids that are coming. If you’ve got a couple of cooler boxes fill them up with some bottled beer, cover with ice and leave them chilling for a couple of hours before anyone is due to arrive. If you don’t think you’ll have enough space in the fridge to keep all your wine, beer and meat cool, then call a favour on a couple of friends and borrow their fridges for the day.
Whether your barbecues are more ad hoc like the ones that feature in the shack on the Brad and Dan good call ads for Foster’s, with just a few sausages thrown on the grill, or you prefer to go the whole hog and turn a barbecue into a dinner party, it’s definitely a great way to mix socialising and food during the summer months.
Even the busiest of kitchens will benefit from the impressive double oven and six gas burners of the John Lewis JLRCBK105 range cooker. Finished in black, this double A-rated appliance offers 100cm of width and 95L total capacity. An electronic programmable clock and timer gives you flexibility whilst cooking, and both ovens have double-glazed thermo-reflecting doors to keep the outside surface cool. The large main oven features seven functions, including fan-operated Circulaire cooking that circulates hot air evenly, to give consistent results whichever shelf is used. It also seals food quickly, so even sweet and savoury dishes can be cooked together without flavour crossover. The fan saves energy , reducing temperatures settings by 20% and cooking times by 20%, and normal defrosting times are cut by 50% too. A Vapor Clean setting in the main oven makes cleaning this cavity a breeze, and thanks to removable glass doors you can ensure every part of this oven is spick and span - without having to put in too much effort! The second oven in this John Lewis range cooker provides extra capacity when cooking for large families or parties, and economy for smaller dishes. It has a full width, dual-circuit grill. The conventional cooking is ideal for one-shelf traditional baking, and a grill setting with fan is perfect for browning or finishing foods, and grilling meats. The cook top handles all types of cooking and pans. It has six gas burners, from a high power 3.5kW wok burner to a simmer burner. Hob supports are cast iron for strength and durability. A useful storage compartment is also incorporated into this range cooker, for stowing away trays, pots and accessories
The double A-rated AEG 49002VMN Ceramic electric cooker hosts two sizable ovens along with a ceramic hob encased in an appealing stainless steel exterior. The 74L capacity main oven has 8 cooking functions, including: Grill for meat and browning foods True fan cooking provides even heat Conventional cooking for fruit cakes and biscuits Fan-controlled defrosting to carefully defrost more delicate foods Ventitherm fan-operated cooking for perfectly cooked food Pizza setting for a crispy base and deliciously finished topping The fast heat up ensures the oven is ready for use quickly, and there is also a useful heat and hold function. Settings are easy to customise with touch controls and an LED display, while the child lock and IsoFront triple glazed doors provide peace of mind. The ceramic hob lies smooth on this cooker for a streamlined look and has 4 zones: two single Hilight zones, one dual Hilight and one triple Hilight. The residual heat indicators let you know how hot the zones are, and the STOP+GO function simultaneously switches all cooking zones that are switched on to the keep warm setting, and then back to the heat setting that was previously used. This is a godsend for dinner party hosts who want to pre-cook the food before their guests arrive, and then want to get it hot again quickly for the table