Even though the nights are drawing in and the air is a little cooler, there’s no need to forsake your outdoor kitchen in the shoulder months. Here are our top tips for taking your al fresco cooking and dining through to the end of the year.
The season of mellow fruitfulness
As summer turns to autumn, here at Heart, Smoke and Soal we like to change the way we cook outdoors. Rather than BBQ treats, we switch up our outdoor cooking to be low and slow, meaning you don’t have to brave the nip in the air while tending to the grill… think casseroles, tagines and melt in the mouth roast meats that can be prepped, popped on the heat and left. We often fire up our Fire Magic grill on low with the lid down for roast meats, or for an authentic wood-fired smell and taste our Kadai bowl, used with a hanging tripod, allows for a fire-proof casserole dish to be suspended over the flames.
Bring on the flavour
As we say a fond farewell to the freshest tastes of summer where shellfish, kebabs and succulent salad produce adorn our dining tables aplenty, we welcome the heartier flavours of autumn. Whole fish, racks of ribs and meat joints will all take robust flavours well, and we love to use Angus & Oink rubs to take our roasts to the next level. For a saucier approach, the brilliant Sauce Shop range doesn’t compromise on freshness or flavour while still being oh-so convenient.
Our friends at Kadai have some great cooking videos if you are looking for some wood-fired inspiration – here’s one of favourites.
We’re on fire!
Fire pits are your friend during these shoulder months, not only are they brilliant to cook on, they also provide a focal point around which to gather as well as much-needed warmth on chilly evenings. There are some incredible options on the market, particularly those that provide a garden statement such as the Glowbus collection. We recommend burning good-quality wood, such as an African hardwood or British kiln-dried logs, with now being the perfect time to stock up.
Wrap up warm
Rather than head indoors when the temperature drops, why not adopt a more Scandinavian ‘hygge’ approach, don a winter woolie and get cosied up under the warmth of a blanket. British-made and designed just across the border from us in Cornwall, a woollen Atlantic Blanket will keep you toasty as you feast and sip under clear autumn skies. Why not prepare a pan of mulled wine or hot chocolate that will happily blip away over the fire and can be dipped into at will.
Get winter ready
When the temperature really drops, it’s a good idea to winterise your kitchen, which will not only keep it in good shape but may help to avoid costly repairs. It’s a good idea to clean down all the grills, disconnecting any gas supplies to equipment that won’t be used. Cooking surfaces can be wiped over with vegetable oil to ward against any rust; if you have an outdoor fridge ensure this is cleaned and fully dried before closing the door for the winter; and if frost is forecast then it’s a good idea to drain the water from the pipes.