June is my favourite month for barbecues, so I'll be giving you recipes for some great meat dishes, tasty salads to go with the mains and, of course, drink recipes to keep you cool.
This Bank Holiday weekend, I've gone for blueberry mint julep, chicken and a pasta salad.
One tip, make your barbie a pot luck. This means everyone brings something different. But give your friends an idea of what to get so you don't end up with 10 bowls of coleslaw!
Blueberry Mint Julep
>7 blueberries plus 3 blueberries for garnish
>5 mint leaves, plus one sprig for garnish
>1 tbsp castor sugar
>45ml Jack Daniels or any type of bourbon
>Fill a glass with ice cubes.
>In a cocktail shaker, combine the 7 blueberries, mint leaves, sugar bourbon and 2-3 ice cubes and shake very well.
>Strain into glass.
>Top off with soda water.
>Garnish with blueberries and mint.
Twice-cooked barbecue chicken
>2 litres water
>2 tbsp coarse salt
>100g light brown sugar
>4 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
>Handful fresh thyme
>2 bay leaves
>1 tbsp peppercorns
>8 chicken legs and thighs
>1 bottle of your favourite barbecue sauce
>Put all the ingredients (except chicken and barbecue sauce) into a large pot that will fit in the fridge. Mix well and then place chicken pieces in the marinade and let stand in the fridge for two hours.
>Preheat oven to 190°C.
>Prepare and light your outdoor barbecue to a medium heat.
>Remove chicken from pot one piece at a time and pat dry with paper towels.
>Oil the grill on the barbecue so the chicken will not stick.
>Place chicken on barbecue and cook for five minutes on each side or until there are grill marks.
>Place chicken on a baking tray, brush with barbecue sauce all over and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
>Remove from oven and brush again with barbecue sauce and finish in the oven for a further 15 minutes.
>Serve with some more barbecue sauce on the side.
>230ml vegetable stock
>250g uncooked penne pasta
>2 tbsp pine nuts
>2 tbsp olive oil
>½ tsp crushed red chilli flakes
>2 cloves garlic, minced
>1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed and torn into bitesized pieces
>12 dehydrated sundried tomatoes
>120g grated Parmesan cheese
>In a small saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a boil. Remove from heat. Reserve.
>Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
>Place penne pasta (or your favourite pasta) in the pot. Cook for 9-12 minutes until al dente, and drain. Set aside in a large bowl.
>Place the pine nuts in a skillet. Toast for 3-5 minutes over a medium heat.
>Heat the olive oil and red chilli flakes in a skillet over a medium heat and sauté the garlic for one minute until tender.
>Mix in the spinach and cook until almost wilted.
>Pour in the reserved stock and stir in the chopped sundried tomatoes. >Cook for a further two minutes.
>In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the spinach and tomato mixture and pine nuts.
>Serve with Parmesan cheese.