Feel free to use a couple of tins of beans if it's more convenient. Tinned beans aren't bad these days – they have got much better for some reason. But if you're using dried, which still taste better, soak them overnight in water. They'll double in size. You then just need to drain them and put them into a pan with fresh water to cover. Bring to the boil, then simmer them for around 40 minutes or until tender – sometimes I put a squashed tomato and a potato in the water with them, as it helps to soften the skins. When done, drain them, discarding the tomato and potato, and put them into a large bowl with 8 tablespoons of peppery olive oil, the red onion, anchovies and chillies. Season with salt and pepper and the lemon juice – for a bit of a twang.
Preheat your griddle pan until really hot. Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper, sprinkle over the lemon zest and pat a little olive oil on both sides. Sear the steaks for a minute on each side. While the fish is searing, get your guests round the table. Throw the herbs into the dressed beans, mix up and divide between the plates. Take the tuna off the heat, tear it up and place on top of the warm beans. Nice with some cold white wine.
at 10:14 PM
First of all, get your barbeque good and hot. If you’re using wooden skewers, soak four of them in some cold water for 10 minutes, so they don't burn when you put them on the barbie later. Thread 5 prawns on to each skewer, make sure you poke through the fat and the thin part of each prawn. Slice the courgettes into ribbons with a speed peeler or a mandolin cutter.
To make the bay salt, crumble the bay leaves into a pestle and mortar and add the salt. Bash up the bay leaves until you have a vibrant green salt and all the bay leaves have broken down and released all their natural oils.
Sprinkle each of the prawn kebabs with a good pinch of the bay salt. Drizzle them with a little olive oil and pat and rub everything in. Place the skewers on the hot barbeque for a couple of minutes on each side. Fill the rest of the barbeque with the courgette slices – as they are so thin, they'll only need cooking on one side. After 2 minutes, turn over the skewers and cook for a further 2 minutes while you start taking off the courgettes.
Pour 3 tablespoons of good olive oil into a large bowl. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the peas, broad beans and grilled courgettes. Tear over the mint leaves and the chive flowers, if using. Season with a little salt and pepper and gently mix everything together.
Serve the vegetables in a big bowl in the middle of the table with the skewers on a wooden board next to it. Perfect light, healthy summer eating.
at 10:11 PM
First get your barbeque going, with the coals piled up high on one side so it's super hot and low on the other side for a more gentle heat to give you some control.
With a sharp knife, score each of your fish all over on both sides, about 1cm deep. This helps the flavours to get into the fish and will allow the heat right in so the fish gets cooked evenly right down to the bone.
Get a big chopping board ready. Roughly chop the oregano leaves then scatter them over the board. Sprinkle over a generous amount of salt and pepper. Roll the fish over board, pushing them down and rubbing the flavourings into the slashes.
Place fish on to the hot side of the barbie to give them a bit of colour. You’ll be making your salsa on the cooler side (or on your hob). Just heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, add the chopped olives and warm them through for a minute or so. Add the garlic, chilli and rosemary sprigs, give it a good toss and gently fry while you finish cooking your fish.
After about 4 minutes turn the fish over by easing them off the grill with a fish slice – be patient otherwise they will stick – and cook for another 4 minutes until cooked and moist on the inside, with a crispy skin on the outside.
Remove and discard the sprigs of rosemary from the frying pan; they will have released lots of flavour so they've done their job. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan and toss. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the parsley leaves. Give the salsa a taste. Olives are usually quite salty so you probably don’t need any more salt but that's your call. I might add a little pepper though. Once everything is warmed through, take the pan off the heat.
Remove the fish to a plate. To make sure they are cooked, pull a bit of the meat away from the bone. If it comes away easily, you're in business.
Serve the fish simply with some salsa spooned over the top.
at 10:09 PM
Feed the runner beans through a bean cutter. If you don’t have one, just run your speed peeler down each side of the bean to get rid of the stringy bits and then cut them into 1cm pieces at an angle.
Your runner bean stew can be cooked in advance or started just before you cook the fish. Heat a large saucepan, big enough to hold all the ingredients, and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus the oil from the jar of anchovies. Chop 4 of the garlic cloves and fry them gently with the anchovies and dried chilli until it all goes soft and the anchovies break down into a mush. Pour in the crushed tomatoes or passata and add the beans and the rosemary sprigs. Season and bring to the boil. Place a lid on the pan and simmer gently for 12 to 15 minutes or until the beans are nicely cooked. If the sauce gets a little dry, add a splash of water and give the beans a stir.
Lay the monkfish pieces on a chopping board and slice them horizontally almost in half, so they open out like a book. Try to get them so you have an even thickness on both sides. Score the fish lightly and put to one side.
To make the gremolata, finely chop the remaining clove of garlic with a pinch of salt. Next, finely chop the parsley and finely grate the lemon zest. Mix these with the garlic, give it all one last chop and put aside to sprinkle over at the end.
Heat a very large griddle pan or frying pan (or use two smaller ones). Season the fish well with salt and pepper and rub lightly with olive oil. Cook the fish for 2 minutes each side or until just cooked through (don’t be tempted to overcook it).
Take the beans off the heat, taste and season them once again if necessary. Remove the rosemary sprigs and squeeze in the juice from the lemon. Place a pile of beans on each plate and top with a piece of fish. Sprinkle over the basil leaves and gremolata. Or you could serve the whole lot on a big platter in the middle of the table – family service style!
at 10:05 PM