Barbecue season has officially arrived

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The weather is being reasonably kind for a Great British summer, and it's likely that you'll have enjoyed a few al fresco meals already this summer. That's right, barbecue season has officially arrived in the UK, and Monday May 28th actually marked the beginning of National Barbecue Week.

There are few pleasures greater during the warmer weather than gathering friends and family in the garden to enjoy the sunshine, catch-ups and tucking into tasty grilled food that you've prepared yourself. 

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The only downsides we can think of are the risk of rain (which, sadly, we can't do anything about), and that distinctive barbecuing smell lingering indoors as people stroll in and out of your house and the smoke wafts in; luckily, that's something we can fix.

Our Chef's Friend Room Spray and Chef's Friend Reed Diffuser are just the ticket for covering up that chargrilled smell with their fresh lemongrass and lime scent and odour neutraliser.

In the same range, we also have our Anti-Tabac fragrance, which is specially designed to mask the smell of cigarettes if you have any smoking guests, thanks to its sweet yet powerful odour-neutralising scent of cedarwood and vanilla.

Once you've got those concerns sorted, the only decision left is what to serve at your summer barbecue besides the usual beef burgers and pork sausages in buns. Here are a few suggestions:

Thai-inspired burgers

Serve up some burgers with a difference by making your own patties to throw on the barbecue, adding in a combination of herbs and spices to give your burgers a unique taste.

Thai-inspired flavours like chilli, lime and spring onion are perfect for the summer, so consider seasoning your burger mix (which could be beef, pork or chicken) with these, and perhaps a little lemongrass and basil too for a fabulously flavoursome burger.

Sweet chilli sauce would work beautifully with these instead of the usual ketchup, in keeping with the Thai theme.

Spiced chickpea and coriander burgers

Veggie burgers need to be fairly robust to survive on the barbecue, so using beans or pulses that have a close texture when mixed with other ingredients will probably be better than something like tofu if you don't want to use the oven for anything.

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Flavours like chilli, lime and spring onion are perfect for the summer

Kidney beans would be a good option, as would chickpeas, which work excellently when combined with coriander, chopped chilli, diced onion, breadcrumbs, egg and a little lemon juice to lift all of those other flavours.

If you have leftover mixture, roll it into little balls and grill them on skewers to serve up as a fun side at your gathering.

Barbecue sauce-marinated chicken

It's not a proper barbecue without a smoky marinade, which can be served in a dish on your condiments table for guests to add to their burgers themselves, or used to coat chicken before it's cooked on the barbecue.

To make a simple marinade that would be perfect for the occasion, mix mustard, paprika, worcester sauce and ketchup in a bowl, tasting as you go and seasoning until it makes your mouth water. If you want a stickier marinade, add a little honey in there too.

Veggie-friendly pasta salad

Side dishes are just as important as the main-event burgers and sausages at a barbecue, and you can't go wrong with a pasta salad that's made with vegetarians in mind so everyone can enjoy the same dish.

Simply boil pasta and leave it to cool before adding chopped lettuce, fresh tomatoes, diced raw onion for a powerful flavour, diced peppers for extra crunch and sweetcorn, stirring through some pesto, mayonnaise or even more of your barbecue marinade as a sauce.

You could make different batches using the alternative sauces to save yourself extra work, while making sure that all tastes are catered for.

Grilled fruit kebabs

Of course, dessert isn't compulsory at a barbecue, but it can be a lovely added touch for your guests. Bananas work beautifully grilled on the barbie, as do pieces of fresh seasonal fruit threaded onto skewers.

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Place chopped strawberries, chunks of pineapple, whole grapes and slices of banana on to skewers and leave them to grill for a few moments on each side. The barbecuing process will transform their taste, leaving them chargrilled on the outside but delightfully juicy in the middle - and they'll make a lovely, healthy end to your party.

Don't forget to have your Chef's Friend Room Spray to hand throughout the evening - and while you're preparing! - to spritz away any lingering 'overcooked' smells, and your night should go without a hitch.

Our Chef's Friend fragrance is also available as a Candle in a Tin. Explore our full Home Solutions collection here