Wednesday, 20 August 2014


Peppers roasting in the street in Avola, Sicily

This has been the summer of BBQ’s both at home and away. We went back to Sicily and loved it just as much the second time.

Kindly pepper roaster

On every street corner in Sicily there seemed to be someone with a little BBQ roasting peppers or fish. We stopped here in Avola to buy some aubergines and peppers and the man above gave me a bag of cherries as a present when I took his picture.

In Palermo the men in via Butera spent the whole day preparing the charcoal and fish in the street before doing a roaring trade in the evening with crowds sitting at their rough tables on miss matched chairs, eating freshly caught fish.

Roasted aubergines in Sicily

Elsewhere round the island people roasted what they had on homemade BBQ grills in the street. Aubergines, peppers, onions. The smells tempt you as you walk past. Unlike here in the UK no one is quoting health and safety regulations at them, so they grow their veg or buy it from the local van that drives around the street and roast it. Other people buy it. Simple.  

Seafront near Avola,Sicily

We spent a week on the coast outside Noto, the gorgeous baroque town I have posted about before and home to the wonderful Caffe Sicilia- more about that later, and I went to Pescheria FLLI SPUGNETTI fishmongers in Avola, with my friend Ernesto.

Pescheria, near Avola, Sicily

The locals go as much for a chat as to buy their fish. Each visit includes handshakes, pats on the back and lots of banter. 

Fresh swordfish, Sicily

Catch of the day, Sicily

Chatting with the customers, Pescheria Avola

Banter on the shop floor! Sicily

One of the best things we ate was from them was local dentice, which looks a bit like a sea bream but apparently isn’t. It was quite simply delicious.

Fresh Sicilian Dentice, ready to BBQ.

Back at home, keen to prolong the holiday spirit and fight the creeping autumnal chill, we have continued to BBQ. The best thing has been local Hampshire trout, simply seasoned and with wedges of lemon. We might have to wear jumpers and sometimes due to rain, sit indoors but it tasted fantastic. 

Which sort of makes up for the cold!  

Hampshire Trout ready to BBQ


1.     Keep it simple.
2.     Buy some fresh fish. Easier said than done here, where there aren’t many fishmongers. But supermarkets are fine.
3.     Heat the BBQ and make sure you have a wire rack that the fish can’t fall through.
4.     Wash the fish in cold water. Some suggestions for serving
Trout – stuff wedges of lemon in the sides two per fish
Dentice- sea bream or snapper stuff with herbs like basil, parsley and bay then drizzle with olive oil and lemon
Prawns- as they are. Serve with a garlic butter or mayonnaise
Sword fish- drizzle with lemon and olive oil

 Cooking time varies but is always quick, about 7 minutes per side for the trout and slightly more for the larger fish.

BBQ prawns in San Vito, Sicily

Monday, 11 August 2014

A TASTE OF SUMMER- Rhubarb and Orange Swiss Roll- Inspired by the Great British Bake Off

GBBO inspired Swiss Roll

As we returned a few days ago into a grey and gloomy Britain after a few weeks away, I could feel our spirits sink, all except one daughter.

“Hey, The Great British Bake Off starts again today, so it’s not all bad!” She said enthusiastically.

However the following day whilst I tackled the washing then the overgrown and somewhat dead plants in the garden, typical we go away when there is a heat wave and so all the tomatoes and most of the beans I have nurtured are totally dried up and shrivelled..the Not Just For Rabbits Teens got creative  inspired by their viewing.

Using left over rhubarb jam made last summer, see post ...for September 2013...and oranges they created a light delicious cake that has all the reminders of warm summer sunshine that you need.

Food from the garden

Using left over rhubarb jam made last summer, see post for September 2013 for the recipe

..and oranges they created a light delicious cake that has all the reminders of warm summer sunshine that you need.


Serves 4 plus

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 8 minutes


3 eggs

3 oz caster sugar

3 oz plain flour

Zest of an orange and juice of half 

4 TBSP Rhubarb and vanilla jam


1.      Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees

2.      Whisk the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.

3.      Gently fold in the flour and orange zest.

4.      Pour into a lined tin (around 28x18cm) and cook for 8 minutes

5.      Remove from the oven turn out onto a sheet of baking paper dusted with sugar, then peel off the paper and score gently at 1 inch along one shorter side.
6.       Roll gently up as tightly as you can without the cake cracking, then when cooler squeeze over a little orange juice then smoother with rhubarb jam and re-roll
7.      When totally cool dust with icing sugar and eat!!

This is very light and the rhubarb and orange just give it a really different taste 

Rhubarb and orange swiss roll