Dare I Say Summer?

I know it's only April, and trust me, I know better than to be optimistic about British weather. But how can I help feeling summery when I'm currently writing this seated outside in the actually-hot sun? And I mean hot, not just Britain-hot. Try not to laugh when I say that I'm starting to burn. It seems crazy that just a few weeks ago, I was still dreaming of soups, stews and other warming food when now it feels like I'm on holiday and should eat all the food that comes with holidays (in my head): fruity breakfasts, salad upon salad, roasted tomatoes and parma ham, etc. But what really happens when Britain gets warm, other than pink skin as far as the eye can see? BARBECUE.

Don't worry, I know that cooking on a barbecue that's still flaming is a sure sign of an amateur at work. I just had to get a picture (well, many) of the pretty fire.

It wasn't an overly ambitious barbecue, with just three things being cooked. We had a spatchcocked chicken, a trout and, of course, the requisite sausages.

The chicken was spatchcocked then marinated with marjoram, rosemary, olive oil, lemons, red onions and garlic. Oh, and turmeric.

I know taking such loving shots of a chicken splayed open and laid flat is definite weirdo-behaviour, but I actually think it looks quite pretty like that. I would even go as far as to say it looks inviting, but maybe that's taking it one step too far.

There was definitely some trial and error in cooking the chicken, in terms of how far away to cook it from the coals, so it wouldn't become the dreaded barbecue cliché of burnt on the outside, raw on the inside. Eventually, though, it cooked just right.

I swear the fire did not look that big when we were cooking it, but you know how it is when oil meets flames.

Two days ago, we went to the possibly-famous (I don't really know) Rutland Water, which is basically a big reservoir which is scenic and stuff. So apart from some nice country walking - ha! that does not sound like me at all - I took my film camera along and took some photos. But the idiot in me completely forgot how to wind up a film and remove it, and so probably exposed the whole film to the sun by accident, ruining it. I am seriously upset about this, not least because we won't be going back there anytime soon.

However, I was somewhat compensated by the purchase of a really cheap (two pounds!) Rutland Water trout. We stuffed the fish with lemon and tomato slices, as well as some coriander and tarragon. This is just what we had to hand, so use whatever you have, but I imagine parsley or dill would be nice, and if you have any fennel, that would be incredible.

The fish was wrapped up in foil - I want to say like a baby but I realise how that sounds, so let's just use the less creative and kind of redundant phrase 'like a fish parcel'.

We chucked the fish-baby-parcel directly on the coals and tried to balance a few coals on top of it. After about ten to fifteen minutes and a large amount of guesswork, we decided it was done and unwrapped it.

So, so good. I wish I had taken a more revealing picture of its flesh, because it was damn perfect, coral and juicy and all. But it was getting dark and hungry stomachs were calling. The next time I'm at Rutland Water I am going to load up on trout. If there's anything I like almost as much as food, it is a bargain.

I can only hope that this weather goes on forever, and then I can eat what I'm always dreaming of and it'll feel right: everything cooked with a little bit more garlic and the whiff of mediterranean food, tomato-ey broths in the evenings and berries with mint and sugar for anytime. Fiery-hot bastardised Thai/Vietnamese salads, noodles and spring rolls, I could go on and on. Come on sun, don't be a tease, just this once.