THERE’S more to barbecue food than burnt sausages. One of the tricks to successfully cooking food on the barbecue is concentration.

Turn your back for a moment, and the fat from the meat will cause flames to leap up and scorch the food.  It’s all too easy to produce food that is burnt to a cinder on the exterior but still raw on the inside.  Key tips are:

Make sure the coals are reduced to a hot glow before you put any food on the BBQ  

Allow plenty of time for cooking everything – it can often take longer than you think for meat to cook through properly. Chicken drumsticks being a prime example

Keep a water sprayer at hand to douse unwanted flames

Make sure you have some nibbles to keep people going until the main event arrives.  You don’t want to feel pressurised into serving too soon because your hungry family members are looking over your shoulder

Another key to a successful barbecue is to have a delicious range of side dishes on offer, such as this light and refreshing watermelon and feta salad. A barbecue consisting of just meat and bread rolls lacks sparkle.

Salads can be prepared slightly earlier (though not too early, if they are to keep their vibrant flavours).

It’s also very easy to cook peppers and courgette on the barbecue.  A kebab stick studded with colourful vegetables is the ideal option for family members who don’t eat meat, and to add colour to the plate.

You could always round things off by wrapping bananas in foil and cooking them on the embers.  They are delicious with some fresh cream or ice cream. 

Watermelon, feta and black olive salad 


2- 4 juicy limes

1.5kg sweet, ripe watermelon

250g feta cheese

bunch fresh mint chopped

3-4 tablespoons extra virgin oil

100g pitted black olives

black pepper

Remove the rind and pips from watermelon, and cut into approximately 4cm triangular chunks.

Cut the feta in to chunks and place both in into large wide shallow bowl.

Add the pitted black olives.

Finely chop up mint.

Mix olive oil, mint, black pepper and lime juice in a shaker and give good shake.

Pour dressing over watermelon, feta and olives coating well.

Decorate with sprig of mint.