We finally got the chance to pitch tents, unroll sleeping bags, light the campfire and enjoy a camping weekend. Great friends, happy kids, a nearby castle and an ever-so-slightly nearby gastro pub …. what’s not to like. I’m already planning one more trip before Winter just so the kids can feel free, I can cook up a storm and we can all just be outside and away from the oh-so-urban London for a while.
It was a pretty foody weekend. One highlight was Saturday lunch. I braved cooking Jamie Oliver’s crispy barbequed side of salmon with cucumber yoghurt from Jamie At Home which, with a bit of help from the menfolk, was a huge success. So here’s the recipe. Give it a try, it’s seriously yummy.
1 x 1.5kg side of salmon, scaled and pinboned
zest and juice of 1 lemon
a bunch of fresh dill (or fennel tops) and/or basil, leaves picked and finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cucumber, peeled lengthways at intervals if you like
300ml natural yoghurt
1 fresh red chilli
a small bunch of fresh mint, dill or oregano, leaves picked and chopped
extra virgin olive oil
Make sure you have a clean BBQ or use a stainless steel cake cooler on top of your BBQ, grill or fire pit. Place the salmon skin side down on a plastic board and, using a sharp knife, slash it evenly all over on the fleshy side, making the incisions about 1cm deep. Scatter the lemon zest and most of the shopped fennel tops, dill or basil over the salmon, then push these flavourings into the incisions. Rub the fish lightly all over with olive oil then season with salt and pepper, giving the skin side a generous amount as most of this will fall off.
When your barbie’s ready (medium-hot: too hot and you’ll crisp the skin before the fish is cooked), lay the salmon on the bars, skin side down. The flesh will start to colour from the bottom up and after about 4 minutes the skin should be beautifully golden brown. Carefully flip the salmon over (I bought two of the cake coolers. Lay the spare one on top making sure the fish is oiled enough, grab the two and flip and start barbequing on the other one. Voila!). Cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes on the other side. While it’s cooking, gently ease the skin away from the flesh and put it on the BBQ alongside to crisp up. Allow the skin to cool before breaking into pieces, like crackling.
Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, remove and discard the seeds, chop it up and mix with the yoghurt. Balance the flavours with the lemon juice, half the chopped chilli, and half the chopped dill, mint or oregano. Drizzle over a little of the extra virgin olive oil. Season carefully to taste with salt and pepper.
I’ll post the rest of our weekend menu over the coming days including my favourite Mexican breakfast and corn with chimichurri sauce. We ate like camping kings!