“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
The air is tinged with a warmth and smell only brought about by the start of spring. It marks the end of winter, that pivotal moment when long Sundays spent at the beach soaking up the sun no longer feel so distant. I don’t much like winter. I welcome that first warmth of the new season, the promise of a fresh start that brings with it thoughts of sun kissed skin, summer sandals and gelato eaten after fish and chips on the beach.
There isn’t much I enjoy about winter aside from the fact I can entertain the introvert in me with long bouts of curling up on the lounge and not much else. Come summer, I can’t stand spending too many daylight hours indoors. I feel like it’s a waste of fine weather, a waste of time that could be spent out in the sunshine. When spring hits I am out in the garden spring cleaning the shed and weeding the garden in my pink crocs.
And, out comes the BBQ.
Summer is a time to put away the slow cooker and break out the grill. Salads make more of a regular appearance, and instead of soups and curries I am craving lean grilled meat and crispy lettuce. And stone fruit, always stone fruit.
When The Good Guys sent me a George Foreman Grill for my final Gourmet Gadget Challenge post as part of Voices of 2013, my mind exploded. Oh the possibilities! We have a fabulous little BBQ but let’s face it, compact is good, and this grill means I don’t have to discipline the dog in keeping away while we’re grilling. The grill and I are safely tucked away inside from the prying, ever-curious snout. I imagine for the apartment-dweller or occupier of the shoebox kitchen (as I am), the George Foreman is ideal.
Furthermore, this baby fits our summer lifestyle perfectly. With beach days imminent, we suddenly have this urge to get back to being summer fit. And the George Foreman Grill is renowned for keeping food and grease separate. George and I; a match made in summer heaven.
For my final post as part of The Good Guys Gourmet Gadget Challenge, I just had to do two dishes. First up, lamb kebabs with coriander, mint and lime yogurt. Kebabs just scream summer grilling. Served with a crisp simple salad and lightly grilled Turkish bread, they make for a delicious meal post Sunday beach lazing. And herbs, well they are a summer meal must.
For the perfect summer dessert, deliciously caramelised grilled peaches with mascarpone, a sprinkle of pomegranate topped with delicate mint leaves. Peaches, all stone fruit in fact, are the epitome of summer. From as young as I can remember the new season of stone fruit meant summer was just around the corner.
See you later winter.
Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Coriander, Mint and Lime Yogurt
Ingredients in both of these recipes are accessible from your local grocer and supermarket. I initially intended to grill figs however they are not in season yet, so I used peaches. Feel free to use figs instead if you can get hold of them.
Coriander, Mint and Lime Yogurt
200g Greek yogurt
A generous handful of coriander (about ½ cup if chopped)
6-8 mint leaves
1 lime, juice and rind
1 garlic clove
Pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper
Place all ingredients into processor and whizz until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste; add more lime juice if needed.
Lamb Kebabs // serves 4
800g lamb leg steaks, cut into 2.5cm cubes
2 red onions, peeled, halved and halves cut into portions
12 skewers, soaked for 30 minutes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1” piece ginger, grated
½ cup chopped coriander
2 fresh red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
2-3 kaffir lime leaves, torn
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Fresh coriander + lime cheeks to serve
Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Toss lamb into the marinade and coat well. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
Thread lamb pieces onto skewers, alternating with red onion portions.
Turn George on (that’s his moniker around here now that we’re good mates), adjust to tilt and put the drip tray in place. Once hot, place skewers onto grill. Cook for about 7-8 minutes, turning halfway. Obviously you can use a grill or BBQ if you don’t have a George of your own.
If you want to give your lime cheeks cheeky scorch marks (see what I did there?), chuck them on the grill face down for a few minutes until charred.
Serve kebabs with coriander, mint and lime yogurt, a delicious summer salad and Turkish bread wraps.
Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone, Pomegranate and Mint
Ingredients // serves 4
6 fresh peaches, halved, stones removed
Grapeseed oil for grilling
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 pomegranate, halved and seeds scraped out
Handful of mint leaves
Lightly brush peach halves with grapeseed oil and place onto hot grill face down. Grill for 3-5 minutes until they have gorgeous little grill scorch lines on them.
As the George Foreman Grill has a lid, I simply closed the top and pressed firmly but gently down to ensure the grill covered the tops of peaches and they were nicely caramelised and scorched within 5 minutes. But if you are using an open grill, turn peaches after a few minutes to scorch both sides. No need to tilt George when grilling fruit as you want the delicious caramelised juices from the fruit to stay put.
Whip mascarpone and sugar until light and fluffy.
Plate peaches, add a dollop of mascarpone, a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and garnish with mint.
Now where’s my bikini!
The Good Guys are generously giving away 5 George Foreman Grills. To enter, head to their blog and leave a comment. Sending you some summer luck!
Disclosure: The Good Guys gifted me with a George Foreman Grill as part of round three of The Good Guys Gourmet Gadget Challenge. To read my first post of the challenge head here and my second post here.