I was like a magpie in the book shop: hypnotised by it’s florescent orange cover. The Pitt Cue Co Cookbook isn’t shy with it’s appearance or it’s recipes. This isn’t a book of little delicate recipes, or plates dressed with jus and tiny wild flowers, this is a book about MEAT. Big hunks of barbecued meat, smoked pulled pork shoulders and instructions on how to build epic skyscraper burgers.
I wasn’t familiar with the Pitt Cue Co. before this book, but it turns out that they have a very popular restaurant in Soho in London. It’s not hard to see why. When you read this book, you very quickly feel the passion that these guys have for barbequing, and the attention to detail is unreal.
The recipes are quite complex. Not difficult as in skill (although I don’t deny the skill that these guys must have compared to ‘normal’ cooks like me) but it’s more about the time you need to invest in each dish. For example, a recipe for a burger: rather than finding a simple list of ingredients, you’re actually confronted with a list of further recipes for each component, and even then you find that there are further recipes within recipes.
I’ve been saving this book for the summer, obviously, but also for when I have some holiday from work. And that week has finally arrived! And BOY did I choose a good week! 29°c right now. I’m sitting here typing with a fan on the highest setting possible, about four inches from my face. And I’m still hot.
With all this talk of meat, you might be surprised by the fact I’ve chosen a dessert to kick off with. But the tennis has started this week, and tennis equals Pimm’s right?!
Smoked Peaches & Pimm’s Sorbet sounds like heaven on a plate in this summer heat, and it was. HEAVEN.
The sorbet is made by slowly heating lemonade in a pan and infusing with a few fresh mint leaves before adding sugar.
Once dissolved, fresh orange juice, lemon juice, cucumber juice and a few cut strawberries are stirred in, and the mixture is left to cool. Have you ever tried to juice a piece of cucumber? I tried to just squeeze it, which worked a little, but then it would just squeeze right out from between my fingers and fly across the kitchen, hitting the window before falling to the floor. In hindsight, maybe I should have just crushed it in a pestle and mortar or something.
Once fridge cold, you remove the strawberries and mint leaves, and churn in an ice cream machine, adding the Pimm’s after a few minutes.
I know sorbets and ice creams do struggle to freeze because of the alcohol content, and my sorbet didn’t get much past the slush puppy stage. I boxed it up, and popped it in the freezer.
We have a gas BBQ at home. I know, I know: I think charcoal gives the best flavour too, but I’ve only got a little garden, and any traditional BBQ only sends huge plumes of smoke into next door’s garden, so there we go. Don’t hate me.
To try and achieve a more authentic smoky flavour, I bought some Jim Bean Bourbon Wood Chips that you can add to a gas BBQ, and well, add some smoke. Pretty simple to use as well actually. You just soak the wood chips for half an hour, bundle them up in a little tin foil parcel, stab it a few times on top with a knife, and sit it on the grill.
The peaches don’t need any preparation. They sit on a buttered piece of greaseproof paper on the grill for twenty minutes: the lid down to create an oven.
They came out looking glorious! I had tried to buy yellow fleshed peaches, but could only find white ones that were ripe. I’m glad though, because once the charred skins were slipped off, they revealed a gorgeous white peach with shades of blushing pink. Beautiful.
Sprinkled with a little sea salt, the peaches were served with the sorbet.
My sorbet was a bit more ‘crumbly’ than I’d expected, and a lot darker than the sorbet in the photo, but oh my. It tasted great! Just like a glass of Pimm’s, but sweeter and you could taste all of the individual fruits that had infused and flavoured the sorbet mixture. Lovely, lovely stuff. A new summer staple.
The peaches were intensely sweet, and soft and warm and delicious. Coming across a little salt crystal here and there was a little savoury treat. The contrast between the warm peaches and the ice cold sorbet was a delight. And SO easy to do! Grilled peaches all summer long for me now!
What a great first little recipe. I can’t WAIT to get stuck into the meat recipes!
Next Week: Pulled Pork Bun