I recently attended an event hosted by Waitrose, showcasing the best things to come this summer.  The highlight was a gloriously premature (in chilly grey April) barbecue featuring Heston Blumenthal's slow cooked BBQ meats and delicious sausages along with summer salads, houmous, sauces and dressings

We sampled all of the different dishes on offer, which are smoked, marinated and cooked in their own juices until tender and succulent, from slow cooked pork shoulder joints inspired by the barbecuing traditions of the southern states of America to sharing plates of Moroccan mezze.  The British pork rubbed with paprika and drizzled with mustard, spicy lamb kebabs served with apricots, lamb and chickpea koftas with creamy homous and merquez sausages with yoghurt and mint dip are all recommended.

The cocktails centred around Bombay Sapphire's new drink, Bombay Sapphire East, which features the ten spices and flavours in the usual gin but with added lemongrass, black peppercorns and liquorice and a 2% higher ABV for a more powerful, citrus taste which went perfectly with the grilled porks and meats. The spirit was served with fresh fruit juices poured from ready made pitchers (handy here's-one-I-made-earlier style when hosting) on ice, topped with tonic water. 

The cakes and desserts on display were plentiful - giant old school, childhood favourites (shortbread party rings, big Bourbon biscuits, huge jammy dodgers and jaffa cakes) sat next to cupcakes flavoured like ice creams and served in retro, seaside tubs and a gorgeous raspberry and pistachio creation which I'll be serving at my first BBQ of the year on my terrace, when the weather turns...