Recipes from the first office bbq of 2014

Our office has a great roof which, as soon as the sun is out , we populate at lunch time.

A couple of years ago, a colleague and friend from New Zealand decided that it would be rather nice to bring a few disposable bbqs and make them available to anyone who wanted to bring something along. I think pretty much everyone participated.

The impromptu bbq was then repeated a couple of times and each one was so successful that the company’s founding partners decided to purchase a “proper bbq” for the office.

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Great as you may think this was … and indeed it was… as it often happens with these type of things, as soon as there was company property to be used, there was also a need to coordinate a large group. This, amongst other things, required coordinating the partners’ and associates’ calendars.

An unforeseeable consequence emerging from this was that we no longer could have a lunch time bbq as not everyone was at the office . This is how the bbqs became dinner time bbqs that require for everyone to work around them.

A further consequence is that there no longer is spontaneity as details have to be agreed/ approved well in advance and decisions have to be made without the weather certainty. This, one may say, worsens the odds when attempting to catch a nice spell of sunshine.

And it is in this context of  the story that I am about to tell .

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Ridiculous as it may sound ,with the weather than we have been “enjoying” , last Tuesday evening we had the first office bbq of the year.

Come rain or shine we were ready for it as it had been decided that despite the rain, the bbq was to go ahead.

The roof was not available as there is no cover for everyone and the creativity had to kick in:

The bbq was lit (under the emergency fire scape)
The ping pong table became the table where all food was to be laid and
The culinary efforts that many of us had made during the bank holiday weekend finally saw their fruits.

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I photographed some of the things that we ate in order to share with you recipes and tips … You know, for when the weather is nice and you have your next bbq….

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My friend Rachael prepared these sea basses on the bbq by wrapping them on banana leaves that she purchased online : here

It was a great method that ensured them to be perfectly cooked avoiding BBQ burns.

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My friend and colleague Sonja prepared this Couscous salad from a delicious Ottolengui  recipe she found online : here

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And then, she made this potato salad as a variation of this one from the Guardian

(She did not use capers or anchovies in case people did not like them)

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My contribution was to prepare salmon teriyaki (this and my tortilla are the ones that seem to be most popular at the office) following my recipe : here

(There was a slight change as I had no brown sugar or honey at home and used Golden Syrup instead.)

The cooking was down to my lovely colleagues Mark and Alex (in the image above) who cooked the fish perfectly.

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Anna, a massive foodie and friend prepared these Soutzoukis following her own recipe, which she shared with me and which I am about to copy here:

What we need:

1 pound ground beef

2 onions

2 eggs

1 cup fine dry breadcrumbs/finely grated dry French toast (this kind)

2 teaspoons salt

1 tbsp dried mint

2 tablespoons oregano

1/2 cup milk

black pepper as desired

How to prepare it:

Put the meat in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and milk.

Inside the blender put all the remaining ingredients and mash.

Add to the bowl with the mince and knead well.

Shape it in an oblong soutzouki shape.

Allow an hour in the refrigerator to release the aromas of herbs and for the crumbed toast to inflate.

Cook on the grill over medium heat making sure to turn them often so as not to burn

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Anna also purchased this delicious aubergine dip (here) to accompany the Soutzouki

Photographs by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
Text  by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate, Recipes as per links. Recipe for Soutzouki by Anna Ifanti

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