The toddler must have been extra hungry on Sunday as he asked (repeatedly) if we could have a barbecue. At half past nine in the morning.  Just as I thought I might not be able to come up with any more ways of saying “not right now, darling, at dinner time” he began suggesting we have a pub lunch.  Cue withering looks all round as it was only ten to ten.  This continued at intervals throughout the day before we finally lit the barbecue (of the charcoal variety) at half past three.

There was much excitement.  The boys had been in the paddling pool for much of the afternoon so they sat gazing at the fire and smoke in just their ‘loin cloths’.  I half expected to see a woolly mammoth ambling past.  “Ug”.

This barbecue was a nod to the season – barbecued guinea fowl with a warm beetroot salad and rosemary potato wedges.  We also had some peas that were acting as understudy to the green beans that I mislaid on the way home from the shops on Saturday.

I have been exalting the virtues of the gas barbecue of late but there are times when only the real thing will do and we have our (cute) blue Weber Smokey Joe for such times.  We only use it a few times a year but it is fantastic for cooking chicken and fish, under cover, to smoky perfection.  This particular model is Weber in miniature so any birds that go on it either have to be spatchcocked or on the small side.

Guinea Fowl are ideal for cooking in this way since they carry a little more fat than chickens (but not nearly as much as duck).  Ours weighed in at 1.2Kg so we managed to squeeze it under the barbecue cover and it was cooked in around an hour over indirect heat.  It served all four of us generously (aside from a few scuffles over the ultra-crispy skin) with a little left over and a lovely smoky carcass for stock.

The beetroot salad matched the earthiness of the guinea fowl splendidly but the added lemon zest helped cut through the fattiness of the meat.

We had grapes from our garden to follow.  We have a lot of grapes on our single vine this year and I had intended to make some grape jelly or some such concoction but it looks much more likely that we are just going to eat a few every time we walk past or just stand in the garden scoffing them unashamedly (the toddler has found himself a little archway under the vine which he now calls “my house”).  Over the weekend we pruned the vine and have done the same with our tomatoes to help encourage complete ripening, thanks to some great advice from our dear friends in New Zealand (who I am excited to mention recently bought themselves a vineyard and now have their own wine label) and, on the tomato front, my lovely brother.

It might have been our last barbecue of the season so I’m really glad we made it a good one!