Is this the worst Summer we have ever had in the UK?
Can it even be called a summer when there’s not been a hint of sunshine up north for the last 2 months? As a sun worshipper myself it’s been hard to enjoy my garden this year, but this week is set to be a scorcher so I thought I’d share some of my favourite purchases that make enjoying the sun in your garden extra special.
What’s the best BBQ to buy?
When the sun is out and the house is unbearably warm there’s only one thing for it, a proper British barbeque. Now I’m not talking about a few sausages and burgers on a disposable BBQ you got from the petrol station on the way home from work, if you’re going to do it, do it properly. This summer we fancied a firepit for our garden (which actually became incredibly useful considering how cold the evenings have been!) so I chose the multifunctional Dual Firepit Barbecue from Bar-Be-Quick.
I absolutely loved this, it does exactly what it is designed to: barbeque food on its 54cm diameter grill and provides a warm fire on raised legs so it’s suitable for use on decking. It also comes with a handy carry case for easy storage and is absolutely ideal for camping trips or students off to university this September.
Great tasting vegan meat
As an avid meat eater, you can guarantee there’s always a good selection on my barbeque but when family and friends come round to enjoy the garden (and my good company, obviously) I like to make sure there are options for everyone. For this I turned to vegan brand This whose vegan meat products are fortified with vitamin B12 and iron and have been criticised by vegans and vegetarians for the textures and tastes being too much like real meat to be fake!
I have to say that the burgers weren’t quite up to the standard of a quarter pound of juicy beef from my local butchers however the Lamb kebabs were almost identical to a lamb kofta from my favourite Indian restaurant and the sausages were just sensational in a bun with plenty of onions and sauce.
Chilli sauces that are actually hot
And at the mention of sauce this brings me to some chilli sauces I cannot recommend enough from Chilli No.5. For those of you who struggle to find a chilli sauce in your local supermarket that makes your eyes water and wince at the very notion of the term ‘mild’ when it comes to heat level then you need to invest in either the BBQ sauce gift set or go all out and get the full range gift set. Their sauces are combined with superfoods and health supplements as well as being produced in the UK with sustainability at the forefront of their business.
My favourite sauces were the Sriracha Cha-Cha-Cha and the Louisiana BBQ Hot Sauce to name but a few and do be warned that the chilli flakes in the set are a lot more potent than the ones you might find in your local supermarket. Let’s just say I added far too many to a simple stir fry and ended up in literal tears, so a couple of shakes will do!
Reduced sugar cocktails
Enjoying the British summer just isn’t complete without a cool beverage and this year I was genuinely thrilled to discover that Ocean Spray now offer a sugar free version of their iconic cranberry juice. As one of my closest friends friends is Type 1 Diabetic I always like to offer a reduced sugar alternative but it is also a lot better for my waistline considering how many Cosmopolitans I can drink in one evening.
I’ve enjoyed many a Raspberry and Cranberry Martini made by shaking together 4 parts (200ml) Ocean Spray Cranberry & Raspberry 3 part (150ml)) Vodka or Gin and 2 parts (100ml) Dry White Vermouth over ice, pouring into a chilled martini glass and garnishing with fresh raspberries and a sprig of Thyme. For a non alcoholic version you could turn to Clean Co whose Clean G Rhubarb Gin Alternative will have you believing it’s the real thing with its authentic, clean tasting finish and best of all it is zero sugar. Healthy, hangover free cocktails in the sun? Sign me up!
Perfect picnic hamper for sunny days
If a barbeque sounds like a bit too much effort and you’d rather treat you and a loved one to something sumptuous and luxurious on a day when the weather will be nice then order yourself a gourmet hamper from Dukes Hill. They have delicious products for any occasion but I personally think that the Berry and Elderflower Cider Hamper is the ultimate summer treat.
Beautifully presented in a 14 inch Honey Wicker Basket (which was perfect for taking on a picnic up at Dovestones reservoir in Saddleworth at the weekend) this selection included Berry & Elderflower Cider, gorgeously indulgent Quiche Lorraines, Brie and crackers, an apple and sultana chutney and some wafer thin Wiltshire ham. To make it that bit more luxurious I also suggest packing a jar of Masago caviar which you can pick up at your local Waitrose for a fraction of the price of traditional caviar whilst keeping that same great taste, perfect on a cracker!
With all of these products available either on the high street or with fast delivery, you can get them in time to enjoy the fabulous sunny weather in the UK this September.