As a chef, this time of year is my favourite without a shadow of a doubt. The fish are bursting with delicious roe and crabs are at the height of their weight gain abilities (as am I). The new season lamb is everywhere and just begging to be slow roasted with heaps of freshly budded rosemary that is all over my village and I’m sure, everyone else’s as well.

With this change of climate, it is very easy to carried away and simply start slapping everything you have onto your BBQ, but please don’t limit yourself to this, especially if you are using a gas fired BBQ – this really does nothing for flavour.

If you can get hold of a good kettle style BBQ, then I really would recommend it. A ceramic egg style BBQ is the dream, but takes a little bit more saving, that’s for sure. These both make so so much more of a difference to the flavour of the food. A general rule of thumb that I work to is: anything cooked over burning embers tastes better, fact! There are some great books out there; full of tips and tricks to get the best out of these bits of kit, but for me the wood you decide to use is a huge factor. I am very lucky to have a supplier down the road who only uses naturally fallen British trees; and they are the best of the best! The cheaper lump woods that you usually find on your local petrol forecourt tend to have a petrol like taste to them (funny that).

With this season kicking out some amazing herbs and vegetables like asparagus, new season turnips, courgettes etc. Try grilling or roasting these whole over the embers and not just defaulting to the British standard of burgers and sausages.

A whole roasted cauliflower with grilled asparagus, buttermilk, freshly picked dill and some hazelnuts or a whole baked mackerel with wild garlic butter, raw fennel and loads of lemon. These are a thing of beauty and what dreams are made of!

All of these taste better when they are washed down with some homemade elderflower cordial that my boys have gathered and made themselves. These beautiful trees are so versatile! We make vinegar or infused oils, garnish beautiful strawberries that you can mix through your yoghurt in the morning. Give it a couple of months and we will picking the unripe berries to sit in a vinegar bath for the next 6 months, then will come the beautifully tart elderberries for jamming or a nicely sharp ice cream.

If you are lucky like me, then your wild garlic will still be around. I use this in everything! We freeze it for when times get hard and even pickle and ferment it. Seasonality can be extended, you just have to know how

Due to the genetic curse passed down from my dad, I have to enjoy these times in the shade or garnished with a range of hats that Boy George would be proud of (unfortunately my head is lacking in the hair department) but for the next few months I will be basing myself outside and lapping up every second that I can. Even though, I am definitely built more for the winter.

Pete Redman
Chef Director