Earlier this month I was invited along to enjoy a BBQ masterclass atop a rooftop in Queen’s Park. Being South African, I love me a BBQ (or braai, as we call it back home). If that wasn’t enough to entice me, we were also going to meet Ed Smith of Rocket and Squash PLUS we were going to get the opportunity to come up with some BBQ side dishes that would be featured on John Lewis’s website. HELL YES.
After being greeted by the delightful Erica from Talented Talkers with a glass of prosecco, I walked up the stairs to see a stunningly decorated table in a fabulous barn-like room. And I could spot goodie bags! Gotta love a goodie bag….
Outside on the roof terrace I found Ed busily preparing vegetables on the BBQs, of which there were three. The first was a good old trusty Weber® Genesis® II E-310™ 3 Burner Gas BBQ.
The second was the Everdure by Heston Blumenthal FUSION™. Yup, Heston has extended his range to include BBQs. This one uses charcoal but has an electric ignition. And of course he has his own range of charcoal too. In true Heston style it was both retro and futuristic…
The third BBQ was from John Lewis’s own range – a 6 Burner Deluxe Gas BBQ with Side Burner that comes in either black or silver.
Ed gave us all a masterclass in preparing a delicious BBQ spread. On the menu was a beetroot salad, Pork, charred leeks and much more – even a dessert. All the recipes are from Ed’s new book – On the Side, which celebrates the wonder that is side dishes.
Who knew that you could BBQ beetroot? Seriously? Mind blown. You do have to boil them first, of course.
The end result was this fabulous salad of BBQ beetroot and red onion served with fresh dill and soft goat’s cheese. DELICIOUS. Our task was to replicate this and also come up with our own recipe.
My group split up in to two groups of two. We looked at all the ingredients we had at our disposal and came up with a salad and some skewers. For the salad, we took four corn on the cob and made a seasoning of butter, mayonnaise, chilli flakes and sumac. We then slathered the corn with the seasoned butter and grilled them.
We took a cooked sweet potato and mashed it with butter, then heaped the cooked corn on top, squeezed some lime over it and seasoned with salt and pepper then topped with rocket and a drizzle of olive oil.
For the skewers, we created a surf ‘n turf using Chorizo, haddock, red pepper and red onion. They only needed a few minutes on each side on the BBQ.
For me, one of the highlights was Ed’s barbecued pork belly. OH MY. You have to simmer it for two hours but then it only takes about 20 minutes on the BBQ. Melt in your mouth pork… mmmmmm!
Whilst our dishes were being photographed for the John Lewis website, we sat down and tucked in to the BBQ feast. For dessert, Ed made barbecued apples with pecans and cinnamon, served with vanilla ice-cream. Another group of bloggers had made a barbecued pineapple dessert with crunchy cinnamon and crushed pecan butter. Dessert heaven!
If you’d like the recipes, you’re in luck! Here they are in all their glory.
So what was in the goodie bag, you ask? A copy of Ed’s book On the Side which he personally signed for everyone, an apron, a lovely notebook with a pen and a copy of John Lewis’s Edition magazine.
Thanks to Talented Talkers, Ed Smith and John Lewis for a fabulous event! I loved meeting fellow food bloggers and learning how to create some innovative and delicious dishes using a BBQ.