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Unleash Your Inner BBQ Master

May 30, 2021
Valley Mill BBQ Tips

In our last blog we wrote about the ‘Rise of the British BBQ’.  This is absolutely true.  Us Brits are banging out some amazing food and recipes in our BBQ get togethers. We are becoming Kings and Queens of the BBQ and we are here to help you unleash your inner BBQ master.

We are all thinking outside of the box when it comes to our recipes ideas. Let your creative side out. Why not host a vegetarian BBQ feast? Think of all the skewers you can create, from colourful vegetables to seasonal fruits. The options are endless.

Become the BBQ Queen or King of your home with some incredible recipes served on Valley Mill's fantastic Denby range
Fig Skewers with a honey & balsamic glaze topped with crushed roast pistachios served on one of our a Denby Studio Blue Chalk Ridged Bowl.

Planning for Success

We’ve teamed up with Oliver Woolnough and the team from Nothing But BBQ to guide you through the summer and show you how to upgrade your outdoor experience. We’ve got recipe ideas and creative ways to style up your ‘al fresco’ dining area.

BBQ Tips with Valley Mill and Olly Woolnough
Oliver Woolnough from Meat Matters Ltd & Nothing But BBQ serves up us his best BBQ and outdoor dining tips

Skewered

One of our favourite BBQ cookery books which was released recently is Skewered by Marcus Bawdon.  Marcus is a bit of a hero of ours as he really knows his stuff.  Marcus not only runs Country Wood Smoke BBQ School from his home in Devon but also is the editor of UK BBQ Magazine and has a series of cookery books available.

Fundamentals of Cooking Outdoors

When cooking outdoors you need to know the fundamentals of cooking on a BBQ.  From the best fuel to use, smoking woods and how to set up your barbeque, Marcus explains all of this and also why a lid on your BBQ can really help.

Tanzanian Chicken Mishkaki

Oliver Woolnough shows us how to cook one of Marcus’ recipes from Skewered. This recipe is inspired by the flavours of India, The Middle East and Africa.

Ingredients:

1 green & 1 red bell pepper

2 skinless chicken breasts

For the Marinade:

4 tbsp plain/natural yogurt

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 finely chopped cloves of garlic

1 tsp runny honey

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Pinch of salt & pepper

2 tsp freshly chopped coriander

Chop your herbs with one of our hand forged stainless steel herb choppers.

Method

Cut the peppers and chicken breasts into 3 x 3cm squares. Mix the marinade ingredients together and stir in the cubes of chicken. Leave to marinate for approximately 1 hour.

Set up your grill with medium to hot coals for close proximity cooking.

Thread 2 cubes of chicken onto each skewer. Now add a few squares of bell pepper. Continue until your skewers are loaded.

Place your skewers onto the grill and cook for a few minutes before turning. Make sure they are cooked thoroughly before serving. This should take approximately 8-10 minutes in total.

Sprinkle with extra coriander to serve.

Now you’ve unleashed your inner BBQ master.

Monkfish Skewers

Check out this video of how to create the BBQ Coconut Curry Monkfish recipe from Skewered.  This is a mix of coconut milk, curry powder and lime, finished with coriander and freshly chopped chillies.

Don’t Forget The Extras

Your BBQ party doesn’t just have to revolve around the food cooked on the grill. Give your guests a treat with some of their favourite cheeses. We have a wide range of Welsh Slate cheeseboards.

Make It Personal

If it’s a personal touch you’re looking for then look no further than our amazing personalised products. You may be celebrating a ‘BIG’ birthday or having a corporate event, why not serve up some treats on our Welsh slate trays which can be personalised to your design.

You Didn’t Miss It

Don’t worry! You didn’t miss the recipe for this Grilled Sweet Potato Salad from Genevieve Taylor.

Set The Mood

Set the mood for the evening for a catch up with friends and family with Valley Mill’s ranges of candles and candle holders. Not only do they look fantastic but our huge variety of scents will really set the mood too.

Valley Mill’s Welsh slate tealight holder with our range of tealights make a sophisticated impression

A Gift For Your Garden

Welcome your guests with a Valley Mill Welsh slate hanging sign. We have ready made designs or you can personalise them with your very own design.

Father’s Day is COMING SOON!

Here at Valley Mill we have a whole load of products for your Dad/Step-Dad/Grandad etc lined up just for you.

Check back soon at valleymill.co.uk for the latest.

Current Events Events and Days Out Home Recipes Slate products Valley Mill

Rise of the British BBQ

May 23, 2021
BBQ Tips with Valley Mill and Olly Woolnough

Forget the era of burning your bangers or cremating your chicken wings because the rise of the British BBQ is here.  Valley Mill and ‘Nothing But BBQ’ have teamed up to make your back-yard shindig the absolute best with our top BBQ tips. 

Are you ready for the great outdoors with your family and friends? We’ve teamed up with Oliver Woolnough and the team from Nothing But BBQ to guide you through the summer and show you how to upgrade your outdoor experience.

Part One of Oliver’s Top Tips

British BBQ food served on Valley Mill Welsh Slate tray
BBQ food served on one of Valley Mill’s Welsh slate trays.

Outdoor Cooking

Think of your BBQ as outdoor cooking and not just a sausage chucked on a grill.  When you realise that, almost any dish you can create in the kitchen can be recreated on a BBQ, then your family outdoor fun will become delicious too. Now really is the time of the British BBQ.

Top BBQ Tip – BBQ Choice

You need to get the right BBQ for YOU.  If you love a more traditional feel then a charcoal barbeque is the one for you.  Not got as much time on your hands? A gas BBQ heats up quicker which means you can get creating dishes sooner for your friends and family.   Either choice is good and it can also help if your BBQ has a lid.  This can assist you in keeping the temperature constant. It can even help make the food more moist and delicious.

Valley Mill Creative Marketing Manager Siâny uses a Weber charcoal kettle BBQ and she swears by it.  “I can cook beautiful dishes for the family and some real showstoppers too.  I learnt that the right BBQ makes all the difference.  It’s a top BBQ tip to keep everyone happy and coming back for more.”

Top BBQ tips from Nothing but BBQ personalised Welsh Slate tray
You can personalise your own Welsh Slate trays and table runners

Fuel

It’s so easy to grab a bag of charcoal or briquettes from your local garage but you can find that the chemicals in them can affect the taste of your food.  Just be mindful in which fuel you choose. We recommend you go for a choice which is natural so it doesn’t taint your food.

Top BBQ Tip – How to light your coals

One BBQ accessory we would recommend is a chimney starter.  Oliver said “The next amazing invention after the wheel is the charcoal chimney starter”. OK, he’s sort of kidding but it REALLY is an amazing piece of equipment because it’s one of the easiest and quickest ways to light your fuel.  Check out this YouTube video which shows you how to light your coals.

Top BBQ Tip – How to put your coals in the BBQ

One of the easiest ways to control the temperature of your BBQ is by placing your coals on to one side of the bottom of the BBQ.  Why you ask?  When you cook in the oven you don’t have flames going across the entire bottom, so why would you do it on a BBQ?  It’s all about indirect and direct heat.

One of Oliver’s favourite BBQ sayings is “If you’re looking then you ain’t cooking”.

One of the best top BBQ tips that was shared with us when we were learning how to barbeque like a pro was make sure you have the right tools before you start.  Meat thermometer, extreme heat resistant gloves & tongs are all top of our list when organising a BBQ.  Do NOT panic though as you don’t need to spend a fortune on these and can pick up a thermometer from as little as £8.

BBQ Welsh Slate hanging sign personalised
Why not gift a BBQ lover in your life this wonderful Grillin’ & Chillin’ hanging Welsh Slate BBQ sign. You can also personalise your own.

The first recipe we want to share with you is actually a vegetarian recipe, as be honest, we all turn in to carnivores when it comes to a BBQ. 

Herby Sweet Potato Wedges with a Lemon Tahini Dressing

Live fire and British BBQ expert Genevieve Taylor is the author of ten cookery books including the bestselling Charred, a complete guide to vegetarian BBQ.  A proud omnivore, Genevieve is on a mission to prove that great BBQ isn’t just about Man vs. Meat. 

Valley Mill lifestyle photo shoot with Denby Potter Studio Blue medium ridged bowl.  Serving Genevieve Taylor Charred recipe
Add a touch of class by serving up your dish on one of our Denby Pottery bowls

You’ll need:

1kg sweet potatoes, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp smoked paprika, salt & pepper, 2 bags of 100g watercress.

For the lemon tahini dressing – 50g tahini, zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 crushed clove of garlic.

Oliver shows us to how to recreate this amazing recipe.

Oliver Olly Woolnough from Meat Matters and Nothing But BBQ shows us how to cook like a pro in your garden
Olly Woolnough owner of Meat Matters Ltd & Nothing But BBQ

First up, make sure you scrub your sweet potatoes well with clean water.  Now chop them into wedges around 2cm thick.  Tip them into a bowl with the olive oil, oregano, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and give them a good mix so they are all coated.

Once your BBQ grill is hot, place a cast iron griddle or plancha on top of your grill.  You could even use one of our bake stones.  You need to be cooking on direct heat for this recipe.  Remember, direct heat means directly above the coals.

Place your seasoned potatoes on top of your griddle in a single layer.   Cook for around 30 minutes, flipping them occasionally.  Make sure they are cooked evenly. 

Whilst cooking you can make the lemon tahini dressing.  Mix together the ingredients with around 50ml of water (more if it’s too thick). 

To serve, place the watercress in a serving dish (check out Valley Mills choice of Denby Pottery).  Place the cooked sweet potatoes on top and drizzle over the dressing. 

Sweet Potato with watercress and lemon tahini dressing from Charred Genevieve Taylor

Genevieve’s Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger

Fancy something meaty and a British BBQ classic?  Then try this version of a classic from Genevieve Taylor. 

Style Dining

Make your outdoor dining experience just as good as your indoor by adding touches of style and class to your ‘al fresco’ dining area.

Welsh Slate Wine Racks

Welsh Slate wine rack, handmade in Blaenau Ffestiniog, oiled and finished in our workshop in Llansamlet, Swansea. The wine racks are completely unique and each wine rack is one of a kind.

Welsh Slate & Ceramic Coasters

Serve up a chilled glass of your favourite tipple on one of our Welsh slate or ceramic coasters.

Enamel Mugs

Our 12 Oz enamel mugs, designed and hand printed by our in-house design team exclusively for Valley Mill. Printed on both sides. Dishwasher safe

Find out now what else Valley Mill have to offer for your next BBQ with friends

BBQ TIPS PART 2 COMING SOON – Sunday 20th May 2021 at 10am

Current Events Gifts Home Recipes Valley Mill

Bake Stone Crumpets

May 16, 2021
Crumpets on a bakestone

Do you own a Welsh Bake Stone? Have you ever cooked anything else other than Welsh cakes on it?

Did you know that there are so many recipes you can make on a Welsh Bake Stone? One of our favourites is crumpets.

Happy World Baking Day

World Baking Day is celebrated every May 17th (even though we think we celebrate it every day. Seriously, I need to put down this chocolate muffins whilst I type. Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked bread? So, we wanted to share with you another recipe you can use on your Welsh bake stone.

What is a Welsh Bake Stone?

Bake stones are traditionally associated with Wales and the cooking of Welsh cakes. They are basically a type of griddle and are heated up and used to cook food.

The old fashioned bake stone was made of cast iron. These days the Welsh bake stone has improved. Valley Mill’s Welsh Bake Stone is 10mm thick high quality pickled steel which is harder, stronger and has a better heat retention than the old fashioned wrought iron bake stones, whilst keeping the same rustic look.

Valley Mill Welsh Bake Stone Steel

Paul Hollywood’s Amazing Crumpet Recipe

This recipe comes from the Great British Bake Off legend Paul Hollywood and every time we’ve made his crumpets they’ve turned out perfect.

Ingredients

175g strong white flour

175g plain flour

2 x 7g sachets instant yeast

1 tsp caster sugar

350ml warm milk

150-200ml warm water

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

Sunflower oil for cooking

Method

Weigh the flours in to a bowl.  Add the yeast and stir through the flour.

Dissolve the sugar in the warm milk and pour onto the flour.  Using a wooden spoon beat until you have a smooth batter.  This will take 3-4 minutes and is hard work, but is essential to produce the holes in the crumpets.

Cover and leave for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour.  The batter will rise and then begin to fall. You will see marks on the side of the bowl where the batter was before it dropped.

Mix the bicarbonate of soda and salt with the warm water and beat it into the batter. Add about ¾ of the water and keep adding it until you get a double cream consistency. Cover and rest for 20 minutes.

Heat your Welsh Bake Stone griddle.  Lightly grease the inside of four metal crumpet rings. Lightly grease the bake stone. Sit the rings on the bake stone over a medium heat.

Crumpet mixture in crumpet rings on bakestone

Drop two dessert spoons of mixture into each ring. After 4-5 minutes bubbles should appear and the surface should be set. Carefully turn the crumpets in their rings and cook for a further three minutes.

Crumpets cooling after being cooked on welsh bake stone

Serve immediately or leave to cool and then toast before eating with plenty of butter.

How NOT to Make Crumpets

We had to include this video because it really is the funniest. Paul Hollywood shows us how NOT to make crumpets.

Want to make Welsh Cakes?

Check out our Lockdown Baking article for this fantastic recipe.

Seasoning and caring for a bake stone

We often get people visiting our stores who have inherited a bakestone from a family member but have no idea how to use it. An important step before using one is seasoning it, which means to add a natural non-stick coating. It also protects the surface of your bakestone and prevents rusting.

Seasoning instructions

  • There is a protective oil coating on our bakestones, which needs to be removed before use. To do this, use an abrasive cleaning pad and washing up liquid to clean the cooking surface.
  • Heat up your bakestone. We recommend doing this outside on a portable stove or barbecue. If this isn’t possible, make sure your kitchen is well ventilated as the bakestone will smoke.
  • Protect your hands with an oven glove and carefully rub a mixture of fat or vegetable oil and salt onto the cooking surface, using a thick cotton cloth.
  • Continue to add fat and salt, a tablespoon at a time, allowing it to burn and blacken. After around 20 minutes the bakestone should have gained a smooth black surface.
  • Turn off the heat and allow your bakestone to cool naturally.
  • Wash your bakestone with warm water, removing any remaining loose salt.

Your bakestone is now ready to be used!

Care Instructions

  • After use, wipe your bakestone with warm, soapy water.
  • Dry and store in a dry place.
  • Never use abrasive cleaners.
  • If , after a long storage, rusting appears, simply clean it off and re-season.

If you’ve got any recipes you wish us to include or maybe YOU have a recipe you want to share with us then please drop us an email HERE.