Carrots are one of those vegetables I’ve never felt particularly excited about. They’re essential as a sweet foundation in mirepoix, in stock and in one of my favourite cakes but I just feel generally quite bored by them. I do not often think of a carrot as a starting point to a dish and get excited.

And yet. There are ways of cooking carrots that make them more interesting and it will come as no surprise that I think they are best cooked over live fire. The real trick here though is marinating them. I let these sit overnight in a bath of olive oil, spices and garlic, although a few hours would be fine. They’re then grilled until tender and charred in places before meeting a plate of cold (so crucially cold!) strained yoghurt and some mustard seeds and curry leaves, made shiny and aromatic with hot butter.

We ate this with some grilled garlic and coriander naan – a recipe I’ve been working on. That was a complete meal really – no meat or fish necessary – and I never thought I’d be saying that about a plate of boring old carrots.

Grilled Marinated Carrots, Strained Yoghurt and Curry Leaves Recipe

500g carrots, peeled and cut into quarters lengthways
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed or grated
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 cardamon pods, crushed and seeds removed
4 tablespoons neutral oil e.g. groundnut

For serving

Strained yoghurt or other thick, cold yoghurt for serving (around 250g should do it)
A good knob of butter (about 25g), or ghee
Good handful fresh curry leaves
2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant, then grind or crush to a powder with the cardamom seeds. Mix the spices with all the other ingredients for the carrot marinade in a dish large enough to hold the veg in a shallow layer.

Cook the carrots in boiling water for a few minutes, then drain. Add them to the marinade with some salt and mix well. Leave overnight or for a few hours.

Prepare the barbecue for direct cooking. Cook the carrots on it, until cooked through and lightly charred – around 15-20 minutes depending on size.

Spread the yoghurt onto a serving plate and top with the carrots. Melt the butter or ghee and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves – when the mustard seeds start to pop, pour the mixture over the carrots, sprinkle with some more salt, and serve.

Burnt leeks are having a moment. We’re now barbecuing this ‘boring’ and familiar vegetable in the style of the Catalonian calçot. Leek and potato soup? Forget it, pal.

While the outside is completely charred the insides collapse into buttery softness and you could finish them with lots of different toppings. A Spanish romesco sauce would still be lovely or some grated hard-boiled egg. Maybe bottarga? Crunchy breadcrumbs fried in the oil from a tin of anchovies would be pleasing or spiced butter, hollandaise, a tahini dressing, miso…

The warm yoghurt sauce is not as weird as it sounds because its creamy sharpness plays off the sweet leeks. I dotted it with some whizzed chipotles in adobo which I made for a hot sauce commission – that fires the whole thing off in a Mexican direction, particularly once garnished with oregano.

We’re coming into grilling season now and I suggest you get involved with grilled leeks because it couldn’t be easier: put them on the grill and take them off when they look f*cked. Simple.

Burnt Leeks with Warm Yoghurt Sauce and Chipotle Recipe

4 leeks
1 egg, lightly beaten
250g full-fat natural yoghurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
50ml hot water (hot from the tap)
2 chipotles in adobo – available online ready-made or I have a recipe for chipotle in adobo on the site here
Olive oil
Fresh oregano

Heat a barbecue for direct cooking.

When the flames have died down and the coals are covered in a thin layer of grey ash, place the leeks on the grill. Cook for around 10 minutes or so, turning until completely black and charred all over.

Mix together the yoghurt, egg and garlic in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot water. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and simmer gently over medium heat for around 5 minutes. Season.

Whizz the chipotles with a glug of olive oil to make a dressing.

When the leeks are ready, split them down their length and add the warm yoghurt sauce, chipotle dressing and oregano. Lovely served with this fresh flatbread recipe.

Hello! Yes, I know, it’s been ages. I’ve had a change of job and I’m back in the kitchen developing recipes full-time, doing the odd bit of food writing on the side and of course, working on Pit. I couldn’t be happier because it just feels so right, plus I’ll have much more time to share recipes here.

Here’s something I made off the cuff last night which turned out really well, particularly considering it began with a lonely (albeit sunshine-yellow) courgette. With a potentially watery, flavourless vegetables like this the success of a recipe depends pretty much entirely on the cooking technique; treat it poorly and you will be punished. We’ve all had pallid courgette in an insipid ratatouille or squeaky aubergine in a hastily layered Melanzane Alla Parmigiana. One of my favourite ways to cook courgettes in the summer is to sling them right into the coals, or as we call it in the BBQ game: cooking ‘dirty’. This technique can be applied to lots of different vegetables (as with these tacos) or to steaks (where the direct heat and charcoal help to form a mega-crust).

You just lob the courgette in there whole once the coals are at regular cooking temperature (i.e. not flaming still) and in 10 minutes you have a vegetable that is cooked to varying degrees; charred in places on the outside, starting to collapse near the skin and just cooked through at the centre. Once chopped it’s useful as an ingredient in salsas, or just as a side dish on its own but I recommend you try it this way with yoghurt and pomegranate molasses.

This is best consumed when the courgette is still warm as it’s a pleasant contrast to the cold garlic-yoghurt. The juices also begin to seep out and mingle with the other flavours and if you don’t enjoy this scooped up with toasted bread then frankly we cannot be friends.

BBQ Courgette Meze with Yoghurt and Pomegranate Molasses Recipe

1 large courgette (no need to use a fancy yellow one)
1 large clove garlic, crushed
170g Greek yoghurt (I used one of those small Total brand tubs)
Olive oil
Pomegranate molasses
Turkish chilli flakes (pul biber)
Good flaky salt

This is very easy. When your coals are ready for cooking, put the courgette directly on them. Turn it every so often until blackened patches appear all over and it feels soft (but not falling apart) – around 10 minutes.

Mix the garlic with the yoghurt and spread onto a plate. Chop the courgette and place on top of the yoghurt. Drizzle with olive oil and pomegranate molasses. Sprinkle with good sea salt and the Turkish chilli flakes. Eat with fluffy Turkish bread (or pita, or charred sourdough at a push).


Here’s a recipe for flatbreads that go with so many things – way beyond hummus and other dips. They would be good with grilled meats, for example, or even a curry. They’re perfect to have on hand for a barbecue, and they cook well on the grill too.

Easy Everyday Spiced Flatbreads Recipe (makes 8-12 flatbreads, depending on how large you want them)

You can make loads of variations on these using herbs like rosemary, for example, or mixing up the spices. Of course, you can also leave the spices out altogether.

500g strong white flour
2 teaspoons salt
30ml olive oil
300ml warm water
1 packet of instant yeast (7g or about 1.5 teaspoons)

Mix everything together in a bowl and give it a knead for a few minutes, until smooth and springy.

Leave the dough in a warm place for an hour or so until it has roughly doubled in size.

Knock back the dough and divide into 8 balls for large breads or 12 for small.

Roll the dough balls flat and then cook for 1-2 minutes in a properly hot, dry pan – seriously, you need to preheat it for 5 minutes at least. I use a cast iron griddle pan. Cook them until they’re a little charred on each side. They will start to puff up when ready.

Barbecued Plaice with an Oxidised Wine and Caper Sauce

Bear with me because I know the title of this post is ridiculous. I was supposed to be going for dinner this evening, and not just any dinner – a CRAB dinner. I have been denied that opportunity thanks to a bathroom emergency and I don’t mean anything to do with me (ew), I mean an emergency which has had a plumber in there with an angle grinder for the past hour and counting. As I write this he is swearing because the job is proving so difficult and I’m too scared to go in there so I’m sitting here, telling you about this fish and its sauce instead.

This all started with a bottle of wine that had gone a bit wonky. We have lots of bits of wine hanging about in this house because of Donald’s job, which is – wait for it – in wine. He’s a sommelier/consultant/winemaker/general wine dude and you can see how that leads to lots of samples and other bits being thrown our way. Hard life, poor us, etc. Some of it gets oxidised in the bottle which means it goes a bit ‘off’ and tastes all sorts of wrong like someone just peed in it. I imagine.

Barbecued Plaice with an Oxidised Wine and Caper Sauce

To me, these flavours have a lot in common with natural wine but I guess that’s a rant for another day. I’ve drunk a lot of natural wine in my time because lots of my mates are wine people and Donald is, well, Donald. I am also obviously curious when it comes to these things. I have run the full spectrum from actually quite enjoying natural wine to absolutely f*cking hating the stuff and right now I’m closer to the latter end of the spectrum. This may change again, who knows. At the moment I like a glass of something that’s had a shit load of stuff added in to stabilise it and make it taste better and I have made my peace with that, thanks very much.

Anyway, we couldn’t help but wonder (*Carrie Bradshaw moment*) whether these ‘orrible oxidised bits of wine might be useful in cooking, somehow. That was when Donald hit upon the idea of the sauce. It tasted too grim to drink but some of those qualities we don’t like in the glass might actually be nice in a sauce, we reckoned. On its own, the wine tastes stale but in the pan, it turns to a sort of intense sherried nuttiness, especially with a load of butter lobbed in because… BUTTER.

Barbecued Plaice with an Oxidised Wine and Caper Sauce

We grilled the fish whole on the barbecue because I obviously like to realise my full barbecue potential whenever possible (#bestself #goals) and it was brilliant. We had a tomato salad alongside, which is something we eat with practically every meal in summer and then potatoes because something needs to be mashed into the sauce (and eaten cold the next day). About the potatoes: they’re covered in an expert-level amount of garlic and all the herbs. Give the potatoes, and the people, what they want.

Barbecued Plaice with an Oxidised Wine and Caper Sauce

1 large plaice
3 shallots, very finely chopped
100g butter
2 large glasses of Kalin Cellars 1995 Chardonnay that was opened one month earlier and then left in a fridge (or, y’know, whatever you have)
2 tablespoons capers, washed then roughly chopped
Olive oil

Heat a barbecue for direct grilling. Pat the fish dry, rub it with a bit of olive oil, season and place (LOL) into one of those barbecue fish cages. It’ll only need around 5 minutes each side as it’s a flat fish.

To make the sauce, melt the butter and gently soften the shallots. Add the wine, whisk it to emulsify it a bit then reduce by half. Add the capers.

When the fish is done, pour some of the sauce over and serve the rest on the side.

Coffee and Chipotle Short Ribs

This is the second of four recipes I created in partnership with Vitamix and Great British Chefs (that means they paid me to write ’em). 

I’ve been trying to think of something to say about these beef ribs other than that they taste really good and I can’t, really, because it’s Friday and my brain is frazzled. What do British people do when they don’t know what to say? They talk about the weather. So I’m going to say that these are perfect for the barbecue now it’s cooled down a bit, and we can all contemplate actually standing in front of a metal bucket full of hot coals. I’m very glad to see the back of that heat, quite frankly, and until we get air con you can keep your 30 degrees + thanks very much. There, that’ll do, won’t it?

Oh yes, I should say that this is a fantastic rub made by whizzing coffee beans and chipotle chillies together in the Vitamix. The idea here, apart from the fact that it tastes brilliant, is to show you that the Vitamix will blend up pretty much anything, including those notoriously hard to grind beanz.

This results in a smoky, sweet and spicy bark that’s different enough to make people ask you for the recipe. You could easily serve these as tacos with sour cream, some pink pickled onions, hot sauce, black beans and so on. Think something hot, something creamy, something spicy, something crunchy and fragrant, then yer meat = TOP TACO.

Coffee and Chipotle Rubbed Barbecue Short Ribs Recipe

1 rack of beef short ribs
2 tablespoons coffee beans
1 handful of dried chipotle chillies
1 tbsp of dark brown sugar
1 tbsp of salt
2 teaspoons cumin seeds

Add the coffee beans, chillies and cumin seeds to the Vitamix and pulse on Variable 5 until you have a medium to coarse spice rub consistency

Rub the paste all over the ribs and leave to marinate 24 hours (this is an important length of time, do not reduce it because it will affect the final texture and moisture of meat)

When ready to cook, remove the tough membrane from the ribs (the meat-side, not the bone-side), and cook at around 105°C on offset heat in a barbecue or smoker. The length of time will depend on the thickness of the ribs and could take 5–8 hours.