May outdoor eating be with you.
With Easter at our backs and spring in our faces, we shall be turning our attention to outdoor eating and the optimism that the month of May brings to the table.
This summer you can expect Citreus Catering to serve some of the finest cuisines at some of the most impressive outdoor locations in the region.
The garden centres have started to elevate the price of furniture for outdoor eating, and recent weeks have definitely been filled with the feeling of spring.
The blossom is on the trees, there has been a buzz outside cafes and eateries on warm afternoons, and we are finally shedding the layers of clothing that have kept us warm throughout the long, drawn-out winter.
Catering for all seasons.
Think of summers from the past, and the way people respond to eating outdoors, with love and happiness drifting in on the floral breeze. As catering professionals, we appreciate nothing more than the smell of homecooked food on a balmy summer’s evening.
We have a history of adapting to the seasons as we anticipate an increase in weddings and outdoor events over the coming months – our busiest time of the year.
As the UK begins to introduce more of its homegrown produce, we will naturally take advantage of this fresh, locally sourced summer food and complement our menus with the best of what this country has to offer.
When the sun shines, outdoor eating does too.
Everyone knows the weather can make all the difference to a wedding or outdoor catering event. Our vast experience allows us to cater for all venues, regardless of the weather, but our summer catering really does shine through when the sun is out.
As the juices flow through our succulent barbecue meats so does our creativity, bringing taste and ambience to a host of occasions.
This is what to expect from outdoor eating with Citreus Catering this summer:
May 2nd is World Tuna Day and we couldn’t do a blog about outdoor eating and disregard this sparsely distributed, streamline steak.
Sadly, it hasn’t missed our attention that numbers of tuna are now severely depleted – especially Bluefin – as they have been illegally overfished to the point of near-extinction, especially by Japanese fishermen who are supplying a demand for high-end sushi. However, the versatility of grilled tuna still means that it’s a popular choice on a summer menu.
Tuna can be grilled or lightly steamed on the barbecue in foil, with garlic, oils and herbs. The protein-rich, sleek meat of the tuna ranges in colour from pink to bright red – as opposed to the bright white we experience when cooking with most fish – which is derived from myoglobin, an oxygen binding molecule.
Tuna goes great with flavoured rice and salad, especially with cream and lemon sauces. Here is some more inspiration: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/garlic-herbed-grilled-tuna-steaks/ .
Outdoor eating with fish.
We like to experiment with a variety of species on our barbecue, including trout, red snapper, sea bass, and more robust species such as salmon, mackerel and halibut.
Often overlooked in favour of burgers and chicken, cooking with fish on a barbecue can be so rewarding. Fish tastes sublime when cooked properly and accompanied by mouthwatering sauces and sides. Not only that, in an economy of rising prices, fish is still affordable and rarely requires much preparation.
Always cook fish on high heat, and smear with oil before cooking to protect the skin. Also, as previously touched upon, lightly steam the more delicate fish in lemon, butter and herbs for a tasty, succulent texture https://www.thespruceeats.com/tuna-chops-lemon-cream-sauce-recipe-1807430
And here are some more useful tips for outdoor eating with fish – https://www.greatbritishchefs.com/how-to-cook/how-to-barbecue-fish
The Equally Impressive Hog Roast.
If you think that a whole salmon firing away on the coals looks medieval, nothing looks more impressively primitive than a hog roast; a spectacular sight that tastes so good.
It’s not as simple as it looks either. Even early man was getting it all wrong for several hundred years until he realised that the pig tastes much better when elevated above the flames and not placed on them.
You will need a good butcher, the proper equipment, plenty of time to prepare – we are talking the whole beast here over a firepit, not just a few chops on the BBQ – and an experienced catering team to ensure that the night goes according to plan.
Here is a taste of hog roast history: https://www.alleventshogroast.co.uk/the-history-of-the-hog-roast/
And if you are serious about sauces to place with your pork, feast your eyes on these ideas: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/home-hog-roast-chilli-pig-sauce
If you are still struggling with ideas of what to cook with pork, a chilli sauce can be a serious contender –
Thursday, 5th May is Cinco De Mayo in the UK.
The day celebrates Mexico’s victory over a Napoleon-led French Empire in 1862 and is now more widely celebrated in the US than in Mexico.
If you want an excuse to party on May 5th, try Mexico’s true national dish with your alcoholic beverages: mole.
No, not a small subterranean mammal but a sauce/marinade that generally accompanies beef to make a stew. Mole consists of fruit, nuts, chilli peppers, cumin, cinnamon and black pepper.
It’s a complex dish that is certainly worth the time if you get it right on the night. Here is the history behind the dish: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/09/colonial-history-mole-mexicos-national-dish/597880/
May, 13th – International Houmus Day.
Houmus, or Hummus, is a word that didn’t appear in the English language until the middle of the last century which, as it is a fairly recent word, maybe the reason why nobody can agree on its spelling. I’ve gone with ‘Houmus’ on this occasion which is apparently the most commonly used variant in British supermarkets… but I’m not promising to stick with it forever.
However, this vegetarian chickpea-based dip has taken the world by storm with its versatility and variations to suit virtually any palate. Traditionally eaten with pita or flatbread in Egypt, where it is said to have evolved from a hot sauce made as a stew, houmus can be eaten at any time of the day and constitutes a main meal or a snack.
Humous is ideal for outdoor eating as an appetiser, it can be combined with a multitude of interesting foods, and it comes with the added bonus of being notably nutritious and protein-packed.
If you are wondering what to do with your chickpea and oil spread, here are 16 things to try with Houmus/Houmous/Hummus/Humus (however you want to spell it) – https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/recipes-with-hummus/
Also, if you find your Houmus a tad bland, the alcohol companies will certainly advocate that you wash it down with a toxic but tasty mix to celebrate World Cocktail Day, on the same day. The global celebration marks the first definition of a cocktail on 13th May, 1806 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Cocktail_Day
…and we’ll drink to that.
This month’s food calendar conveniently has a few dates in place which can be combined with another, and Houmus is certainly one which could be part of National Vegetarian Week, starting 16th May.
As we have started this blog by advertising our delight at throwing something’s flesh on an open flame, it would be rather awkward if we went into the vegetarian aspect of the month in much detail.
However, you can always give your pancreas a well-earned rest by signing up for a veggie week here https://www.nationalvegetarianweek.org/
In fact, if you decide that only brief periods of meat-free eating are enough, you can always look forward to National BBQ Week – a week later, beginning May 30th and running into the late spring month of June – and, just prior, National Hamburger Day, on May 28th.
Having mentioned that, if the weather permits, you could actually celebrate barbecue week, two days earlier, by going into an extended run with burgers.
While the barbecues and meaty activities are firing away, we have a slice of British Sandwich Week to breeze us into June. Starting on May 22nd, a day after International Tea Day (May 21st), nothing sounds more delightfully British than afternoon tea on the lawn with sandwiches.
All we need is a bowl of strawberries at a tennis tournament and we are almost reminded of our shameful colonial past.
The British sandwich has been celebrated since 1990, and it’s a date dedicated to all the industries involved in the food industry. Check out the website for some fresh sarnie ideas –https://www.britishsandwichweek.com/
Dip your biscuit
We’ve had the day for tea and now the biscuit joins us in celebration just before the country fires up its barbecues. May 29th is a day to celebrate the humble biscuit. It’s not a recent thing – as some might believe – the biscuit has a long and interesting history.
Not quite as old as Chinese tea, the biscuit has been a favourite of ancient Egyptian sailors who needed sustenance before a voyage and Roman soldiers who required an energy boost before going into brutal battle.
The biscuit has been around long before us and it will certainly outlive us… and probably be found by an alien race who discover an old pack of Bourbons from the 1970s, in a pensioner’s tin at the back of a pantry.
So, if you want to join us this summer, you can dip your biscuit in celebration at one of our many catering events, later this year. We’d love to see you there.