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Farewell To Summer Beach BBQ

So next week we officially said goodbye to summer and hello to autumn, as the autumn equinox begins on Thursday. This will mean that on this day the hours of light and the hours of dark are pretty much equal. What better way to mark the end of the season than with a beach BBQ?

I think one of the joys of living on this island, is that we are never too far from the coast. You get to see some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets and I love the thought that when you sit on the beach, the rest of the world is just over that stretch of sea.

Seafront Sunset - Sky Meadow Bakery blog

Along the coast from my home City of Brighton and Hove is the very pretty town of Hastings where I spent many teenage years growing up. Hastings is home to the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in Britain and down in the Old Town, you can find the iconic black wooden fish net huts and shops selling that mornings catch. This was my destination because a summer beach BBQ has to have fresh fish.

Hastings Fishing Net Huts - Sky Meadow Bakery blog

Fishing Boat - Sky Meadow Bakery blog

Rather than going to the fishmongers with a certain fish recipe in mind, I find it is best to get there and see what fish is in season and looks best (look for clear eyes and bright scales).

The sea bass looked incredible, so I chose one large one and asked the fishmonger to fillet and prepare it so that it was BBQ ready. There was also some wonderful fresh samphire which I bought a couple of handfuls of too, if you have not tried it then I urge you to give it a taste. Samphire is a sea vegetable that grows on our shores; when cooked it has the texture of soft broccoli stems but the taste is fresh and salty which makes it the perfect accompaniment to fish.

Fresh Herb Butter - Sky Meadow Bakery blog

Before I headed to the beach, a little bit of pre BBQ prep was involved. I boiled up some new potatoes and tossed them in butter and chopped fresh chives. I also boiled the samphire for a couple of minutes in salted water then strained it; I put both vegetables into Tupperware for transportation. I also whipped up a simple green salad of lettuce leaves and cucumber to take down to the beach too.

I wanted to keep the fish as simple as possible whilst also adding a little bit of flavour, so I made a flavoured butter to put on top. You can use any fresh herbs to do this; I had some fresh parsley and marjoram in the garden, so finely chopped them up with some lemon zest, salt and pepper then mixed it into soft butter and let it set until hard in the fridge.

A good tip if you don’t have a BBQ fish basket (they hold your fish in a metal cage to stop them sticking to your grill) is to use thickly sliced fresh lemon. If you lay the lemon slices on the grill you can then place the fish directly on top, not only does it help stop your fish from sticking to the grill, it also adds the flavour of lemon to the fish.

BBQ fish - Sky Meadow Bakery blog

BBQ Scenes - Sky Meadow Bakery blog

Whilst the fish was cooking I got the side dishes ready to go and laid blankets and cushions out on the beach. I put the cooked samphire and potatoes into small enamel dishes so that as the fish was cooking, I could put the heatproof enamel dishes onto the grill to warm through the vegetables.

Once the fish was cooked I popped everything onto a plate and finished the fish off with a slice of the flavoured butter – it was delicious!

BBQ on the beach - Sky Meadow Bakery blog

With a toast of prossecco I said farewell to summer and thanked it for all the sunny warm days we have had, in my little corner of the UK.


A little responsible moment…

  • If you are planning a BBQ in a public place please check that you are permitted to have it in that location. The beach we were on had BBQ permitted signs, I know that some beaches and parks don’t always allow BBQ’s, so best to check first. Please also check before you leave your BBQ area that you have taken all your rubbish with you, we have to look after our beaches.

  • I am a big believer in eating sustainable fish, you can ask for advise on this at your fishmongers or see the current UK sustainable fish list here. The sea bass we had was caught locally and was listed as sustainable.

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