Valentine Warner’s exciting BBQ recipes

The sun is out so it’s officially time for Dad to light the BBQ and cook a feast for the whole family.

Valentine Warner lets us in on two exciting recipes from his new book ‘What to Eat Next’ which are great served up at your next BBQ.


Mackerel with passion fruit salsa

Valentine Warners Mackerel Salsa

My friend Joe came across this after filming in Brazil. He told me the story of a man in a battered hat behind his stall on a coastal road, leaning over a tiny barbecue as he knocked up this salsa in seconds to then pour it over a charred and sizzling piece of fish. I went home and cooked it immediately, knowing it would be delicious – and it was! I can imagine that the sauce would also work well with thin slices of raw fish, marinated like a ceviche.

If you cook the fish over charcoal, make sure it is wiped totally dry first and heavily scattered with some good flaked sea salt, as this should prevent it sticking. Ideally a barbecue would be better than a grill, as charcoal smoke is a magic ingredient.


Serves 2

›              2 medium mackerel, gutted and wiped as dry as possible

›              flaked sea salt (approx. ½ teaspoon for each fish)

›              lime wedges, to serve

For the passion fruit salsa

›              ½ hot green chilli, such as jalapeño or serrano, seeds scooped out, very finely diced

›              3 fat and full passion fruit, flesh and seeds scooped out

›              1 tablespoon olive oil

›              juice of ½ small juicy lime

›              2 tablespoons very finely chopped fresh coriander, stalks and all

›              2 tablespoons very finely diced red onion

›              flaked sea salt


1.   Preheat the grill to high.

2.   Slash the mackerel three times down each side, and season well with a good amount of sea salt, probably more than you would normally be inclined to use.

3.   Lay the fish on the grill and place them not too far from the element. Cook for approximately 4 minutes on each side, or until the skin is blistered and browned, taking care not to rip the delicious skin when turning them over. The mackerel should be cooked, but ever so reluctant to pull from the bone without a bit of prompting. If the flesh is just cooked but with a red blood line running along the spine, you have done it perfectly.

4.   While the fish blister, make the passion fruit salsa. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and season well with sea salt, tasting a few times.

5.   Remove the fish to 2 plates and spoon over the salsa.

6.   Serve with lime wedges and eat accompanied by cold beer drunk from the bottle, not a glass.


Grilled squid with chermoula

Valentine Warners Grilled squid with chermoula

Heavenly green sauce, charred tentacles, tender and giving flesh hissing and sizzling on the grill. When I am reminded of squid this way, I want it served up immediately. Remember that the squid should cook and colour very quickly so as to remain succulent. Make sure that the charcoals are properly hot – a hand held close to the grill should not be able to remain more than a second at most. You can also cook this indoors, on a cast-iron griddle pan. Get your fishmonger to prepare the squid if you’d rather not.


Serves 4

›              4 medium squid with tentacles, opened and cleaned

›              2 teaspoons coriander seeds

›              2 teaspoons cumin seeds

›              100g fresh coriander, stalks retained but roots cut off

›              25g fresh mint, leaves picked

›              3 large cloves of garlic

›              1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

›              juice of 1 lemon

›              8 tablespoons olive oil

›              1½ teaspoons flaked sea salt

›              ½ small red onion, coarsely grated

›              lemon wedges, for squeezing


1.   Lay the opened squid tubes on a board, inside facing up (to tell, you will notice that the outside looks a little shinier as opposed to the matt inside). Holding a sharp knife at a 45-degree angle, score the squid diagonally in parallel lines 5mm apart. Repeat in the opposite direction. Take special care not to cut all the way through the squid. Leave the tentacles and fins whole.

2.   Toast the seeds in a dry frying pan. Tip them into a pestle and mortar and crush them lightly.

3.   In a food processor or blender, blitz the fresh coriander and mint with the garlic, crushed spices, chilli flakes, lemon juice, oil and sea salt until well puréed. Transfer to a non-metallic bowl and then add the onion (blitzing it does strange things to its taste).

4.   Put a quarter of the chermoula into a separate bowl and set aside. Add the squid to the rest of the chermoula and stir well until thoroughly combined. Cover the squid, chill and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

5.   Get your barbecue charcoal seriously hot but with all the flames gone – just whitish grey embers cracked with pulsing orange.

6.   Place the squid bodies on the grill, scored-side down – they should sizzle immediately. Throw on the tentacles and fins.

7.   Don’t fidget the squid, just let the bodies get some good colour. If they do not roll up, just free the edges that may have stuck to the grill. Once they start to go they will roll up like a carpet curled from both ends. The tentacles and fins also want to be properly coloured, so attend to turning them when need be. Remember, charred patches on all the squid is GOOD.

8.   Remove the squid to a plate and spoon over the reserved chermoula.

9.   Serve the squid with lemon wedges for squeezing over.


Piri piri chicken wings

Here is my confession. Frequently I can be found at a dark corner table in Nando’s stripping the meat off their peri peri chicken wings, with burning lips and a greasy face. Sometimes I do the work in a quiet backstreet – eating my way home. My guilt lies in that I should probably be making them myself, given my job, but purism can be terribly tedious. Here is my own recipe for them, very good too but not as instant.

The stumpy red piri piri chillies are not always easy to find, so replace them with the Dutch red variety you will usually find in the supermarket.


Serves 4

›              1½ tablespoons groundnut or sunflower oil

›              10 finger-length hot red chillies, stalks removed

›              75ml red wine vinegar

›              juice of 1 lime

›              2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

›              5 cloves of garlic

›              3 teaspoons flaked sea salt

›              24 plump chicken wings


1.   Put everything apart from the chicken into a blender and blitz the hell out of it.

2.   Score the chicken wings lightly all over with a sharp knife. Pour the marinade over the chicken wings in a non-metallic bowl and leave them to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.

3.   Light the barbecue charcoals about 20 minutes before cooking, and, when they are pulsing white and orange, place the wings on the grill. Cook them for approximately 10–15 minutes, turning every so often and each time brushing them with more of the remaining marinade, until well browned and slightly charred (not burnt).

4.   Eat with French fries, coleslaw, cold beer and music.


WTEN cover

All recipes taken from Valentine’s new book ‘What to eat next’

Bramham International Horse Trials

Bramham 1

The eventing season is now in full speed with top event riders barely having time to let their feet touch the ground. Bramham International Horse Trials is the next stop for these riders and our favourite eventer Mary King will be competing there with MHS King Joules, or Jay as he is know at the yard.


Here’s a round up of things you might like to know about this year’s event….

Bramham International Horse Trials runs from the 5th – 8th June and is set in the beautiful grounds of Bramham Park in Yorkshire.

Bramham 2


Which day to attend…

Thursday is dressage for the 3DE, but in the TopSpec Arena there is Event Horse Breeding and Young Stock classes and Hunters;

Friday is again dressage for the 3DE and in the TopSpec Arena you can watch the Burghley Young Event Horse and the Stallion Parade. This year they are holding a late night shopping event on Friday, where entry is free after 4pm and all of the stands stay open until 8pm Great for the shoppers!

Saturday is the biggest day, with Cross Country going on around the Park, last year around 28,000 spectators flocked to Bramham for the day! If you don’t fancy walking the course there are plenty of other things going on as well, including: British Show Jumping and Pony Club as well as Show Jumping for the British Equestrian Trade Association CIC3* class.

Sunday is the final section for the CCI3* classes with the jumping taking place in the Equi-Trek Arena and more British Show Jumping in the TopSpec Arena.



Bramham 3

Bramham collection

There are over 50 trade stands at Bramham and of course the Joules shows team will be there with the Bramham Collection, you can find them on stand 85.


Fun bits…

Bramham 4

Every year Bramham runs a Photo Competition with the winning entry appearing on the front cover of the next year’s programme so be sure to get involved if you’re a budding photographer. There is a great Activity Area for the children, with all sorts of things to entertain young and old. Finally it’s a great place to take the family dog for the day, with dog shows, agility and even a crèche in case your pooch doesn’t want to traipse the stands with its shopaholic Mum.


For all other information on Bramham Horse Trials from planning your journey to booking tickets, pop over to their website