After what has seemed like the longest of winters and the rainiest of springs, the darling buds of may bring with them some much needed sunshine, longer evenings and the opportunity to dine al fresco. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of closing my laptop, pouring a chilled glass of rosé and sitting in the garden enjoying the smell of freshly cut grass and soaking up the evening sun. Add in the waft of a nearby BBQ and as soon as I smell those delicious smoky tones, I cannot resist firing up the coals and enjoying a laid-back supper. This month I’m sharing a few simple recipes that you can prepare ahead of time, allowing you to rustle up a quick al fresco feast or a lazy weekend lunch whenever the weather allows.


Great British Life: Loaded Hummus Loaded Hummus (Image: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove)

Loaded Hummus recipe

I am a massive fan of hummus and make so many different variations of this recipe depending on my mood. I love to top with chopped tomatoes and chorizo for a fabulous weekend brunch and it’s an entire meal in itself when topped with crispy fried lamb mince, tomatoes and pine nuts. You can of course buy the hummus and add the toppings if you prefer, but I do find it rather therapeutic to make my own.


(serves 4-6)

For the hummus

240g tin of chickpeas, drained

2 tsp baking powder

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic, crushed

75g tahini

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt flakes

For the topping

1 tomato, diced

¼ small cucumber, diced

½ small red onion, diced

1 tbsp pomegranate seeds

Extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp paprika

1 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Handful of freshly chopped mint


Put the chickpeas into a clean pan and cover with 2 inches of water. Add the baking powder and bring to the boil over a high heat. Skim off the foam. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, skimming off any scum as you go, and cook for 20 minutes. Drain over a bowl, reserving the cooking liquor, and allow to cool completely.

Set aside 1 tbsp of chickpeas for the topping and put the rest in a blender. Add the lemon, garlic, tahini, olive oil, 50ml chickpea water and a really good pinch of salt. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, loosen with a little more chickpea water.

Mix together the tomato, cucumber, red onion and pomegranate seeds. Spread the hummus onto a serving plate, top one half with the tomato mixture and the other half with the reserved chickpeas and pine nuts. Drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle with paprika and fresh mint. Serve with warm flatbreads.


Great British Life: Griddled Halloumi with Mint SalsaGriddled Halloumi with Mint Salsa (Image: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove)

Griddled Halloumi with Mint Salsa recipe

This dish is great as a starter or light lunch, but you could also cut the halloumi into cubes and thread onto a skewer to serve as a vegetarian main. This dish is best eaten while the cheese is still hot so make sure the salsa is ready to drizzle over as soon as it comes off the grill.


(serves 2-4)

500g halloumi, sliced

Handful of freshly chopped mint to serve

For the salsa

½ red onion, finely diced

1 red chilli, diced

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp red pepper flakes

¼ small cucumber, diced

1 tbsp dried mint

Pinch sea salt flakes


Mix together all the salsa ingredients and set aside. Grill the halloumi for 1-2 minutes each side until charred and melting slightly. Arrange the cheese on a serving plate, top with the salsa, sprinkle with chopped mint and serve immediately.


Great British Life: Mediterranean Style Lamb Chops Mediterranean Style Lamb Chops (Image: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove)

Mediterranean Style Lamb Chops recipe

The smell of this delicious tender lamb cooking over hot coals will transport you to a beach side taverna overlooking the deep blue mediterranean sea. Serve with a garlicy yogurt dip and lots of salad.


(serves 4-6)

12 lamb cutlets

For the marinade

100ml milk

1 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp pepper flakes

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried mint

1 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp dried cumin

Sea salt flakes

Freshly ground black pepper


In a large bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients, add the lamb, ensure it is all coated in the marinade and leave in the fridge for 2 hours.

Remove the lamb from the fridge and pre-heat your BBQ to med/high if using gas or until your coals are white. Cook the lamb for 3-5 minutes each side depending on how you like it cooked. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.


Great British Life: Watermelon and Feta SaladWatermelon and Feta Salad (Image: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove)

Watermelon and Feta Salad recipe

I love to use fruit in salads, and this is the perfect combination to go with the rich charred lamb. You can add any other ingredients you fancy; I often add toasted walnuts and some crunchy radishes are also a perfect addition when in season.


(serves 6)

1 medium watermelon, skin removed and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 large or 12 cherry tomatoes, chopped

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt flakes

1 block feta

1 tbsp fresh picked dill

1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely sliced

1 tsp dried oregano


Mix together the watermelon, tomatoes and onion with 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Crumble over the feta, sprinkle with the herbs and drizzle over some more olive oil.