Flaming hot

Summertime is BBQ time for me – there’s nothing I enjoy more than grilling food over hot coals!!  At the butcher’s shop I usually go to in Saint-Chinian, Boucherie Peyras, I saw some beautiful rump steak.  I thought it would be perfect for a meal with friends, and even more tasty if cooked on the BBQ.  Right now, the garden is yielding a great many tomatoes, courgettes and aubergines, so they were all added to my basket of ingredients, and also some freshly dug potatoes.  Along with the steak, I also got some chicken breasts for one of my invitees.

Here are all my ingredients ready to go on the grill!  I seasoned the steak and chicken breasts with my uncle’s secret spice mixture.  It’s a blend of various herbs and spices, such as caraway, curry, paprika, powdered garlic, oregano, and more, all mixed up with salt.

IMG_6096

The BBQ I use is the type which has a domed cover on it – you’ve probably heard of the German-sounding US brand which seems to have cornered the BBQ market? 🙂  I find it really easy to use and it works very well for me.  Here it is, all set up and ready to light:

IMG_6089

The chimney is a great tool to get the coals heated up without much effort.  Once it was filled with coal (I used charcoal briquettes), I lit a firelighter, which was put on the lower rack, and placed the chimney over it.

IMG_6100

About 20 – 30 minutes later the coals were glowing nicely, and were ready to be turned out onto the grill.

Once the coals had been distributed and the top grill was in place, I put on the potatoes, since they take the longest.

IMG_6104

After about 15 minutes I started the other vegetables.  First were the courgettes, which had been tossed with olive oil and seasoning.

IMG_6105

Next came the aubergine slices, which had been lightly brushed with olive oil on both sides.

IMG_6106

While all this cooking was going on, I was enjoying an aperitif with my friends.  Once we had finished our drinks and nibbles, we moved on to our starter of ice-cold gazpacho, made with tomatoes from the garden, and some cucumbers from the market.

With the vegetables cooked, it was time to put the meat on the grill!

IMG_6108

There was the most wonderful smell coming from the grill as the steak was cooking!  I waited with the chicken until the steak was done on one side.

IMG_6111

The potatoes turned out perfectly, and the flavour was great!

IMG_6113

Here’s what the finished steak looked like – it had had a busy day, so it was resting! 🙂

IMG_6114

The chicken strips were perfectly tender!

IMG_6112

And the courgettes and aubergines were delicious too!

Here’s a picture of a heaped plate – I hope you’re not feeling too hungry!!

IMG_6118

No French meal would be complete without cheese and dessert – we had a selection of local cheeses, bought at the market.  For our dessert I had prepared a flan, or creme caramel, as it’s called in France.

All very yummy and perfect for a summer’s evening!  Do you have any favourite BBQ recipes?

 

Advertisements

Refreshed…

… is how I feel after my little blogging break!!  We’ve been having some great summer weather – hot days and long hours of sunshine, and it’s been important to keep cool.  The old stone-built houses in the village, with their thick walls and traditional shutters, are easy to keep at a comfortable temperature, and the rivers in the area provide plenty of opportunities for a splash or a swim!  The river Orb in Roquebrun and Cessenon has great river beaches, and they are only 20 and 10 minutes away respectively, but there are some wonderful river pools right here in Saint-Chinian, if you don’t want to get in the car.

Walk to the end of Rue de la Digue, and keep to the right where the road forks – you soon get to the ford, where the road crosses the river.  Here you get your first glimpse of Les Platanettes, where we are heading today.

IMG_5832

Walk on a little and we arrive at Les Platanettes, a wonderful public space right by the river.  The municipal workers have been hard at work earlier in the year to give Les Platanettes a face lift.  Picnic tables and rubbish bins were installed, and the soil was filled in where it had been washed away over the years.

IMG_5886

In the 1970s, Les Platanettes looked like this:

in former times

This was before Saint-Chinian had a swimming pool, when everyone went swimming here. It was also before environmentalists decreed that rivers had to stay “natural” and untouched.

In the intervening years, the vegetation has grown and the pools are beautifully shaded by mature trees.

IMG_5840

The water still splashes endlessly over the waterfalls, and the sound creates a very restful noise, especially when there’s a bird singing along to it! Note: e-mail subscribers, please go to the website to view the following video.

The waterfalls are great for sitting under if you want a back massage!

IMG_5879

Fancy a dip?  Just come along, I’m sure you’ll feel just as refreshed as I do! 🙂