You know the drill, the facebook invite goes out to 30 people and everyone descends – at awkwardly spaced out times so the hosts can’t manage – on a slightly too-small back garden.
Under one arm, you’ll be carrying a couple of mismatching bottles of cider and some red that no one will drink. Under the other, some Kettle chips.
Now, come on. We at Belle think you can do better! It’s probably the last big BBQ weekend of the year so it’s time to get it right. And there are some fantastic products out there that will help to make you the best guest in town.
Veggie burgers – If you’re a veggie, than you really have to help your hosts out. It’s hard enough organising a grill session without having to worry about bits of halloumi sliding through the racks of your BBQ. So do everyone – and in this case, mainly yourself – a big favour and get hold of some Mash Direct vegetable burgers (£1.89). Unlike most beany burgers, these are made of potato and are thick, veg-filled and slightly cheesy. They’re incredibly filling and delicious and won’t crumble and disappear on a BBQ. And for once, the meat eaters will actually like them too.
A decent salad – Help your host out on the sides and they’ll be forever grateful. Once they’ve ordered enough buns and ketchup, their minds are too frazzled to contemplate a gorgeous side salad. But you could!
How about channelling the most fashionable flavours of the summer and giving your salad a Middle Eastern spin? You can now buy labneh – a kind of stronger tasting sheep’s yoghurt, beloved of Ottolenghi and others.
It’s a fabulous base for dressings. Check out the Nomadic version (RRP £1.89) and use it to make a dressing with feta cheese to cover roasted sweet potato wedges and leaves, topping the whole lot with toasted pomegranate seeds – see the recipe here.
Something for the non-drinkers – And don’t even think about the old fizzy water and elderflower combo here, please. How about a load of lovely old school bottles of Orangina (£1.20), now that they’ve been relaunched? Truly refreshing and fruity, everyone loves a bit of shaking it to wake it and your hosts will be grateful not to have to worry about the non-boozers.
Organic fizz that doesn’t give you reflux – Try Wild Thing Organic Prosecco (£9.99 from vintageroots.co.uk) for a lighter flavour with fewer bubbles and a bottle that’s more interesting than the one you’re used to grabbing from the Tesco Metro at the corner of your hosts’ road. It’s very quaffable and comes with a kilner style stopper that’s handy for taking out and about. And in the wake of the recent Cecil-the-lion debacle, you’ll be pleased to know that a percentage of sales goes to the Born Free foundation.
Scented candle – Finally, why not leave something lovely behind instead of just a load of cans for your hosts to clean up? Gorgeous flowery scents from Heyland and Whittle can be found on their re-launched website. Our top tip is the Cherry Blossom (£12) for a lingering reminder of summer.