• This smoky vegetable bruschetta with chilli dish is an absolutely brilliant way to kick off a barbecue. Just make sure you arrange your coals so that there’s a high, hot side and a cooler, flatter side. 

    Smoky vegetable bruschetta with chilli


    • 1 large aubergine
    • 4 baby marrows
    • extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
    • zest and juice of 2 lemons
    • a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
    • 1 fresh red chilli
    • 2 garlic cloves, 1 clove peeled and
    • finely chopped, 1 clove halved
    • a small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 ciabatta loaf, sliced at an angle



    Halve the aubergine and baby marrows lengthways and score the flat side of each half. Place the pieces flatside down on the barbecue and cook until golden brown.


    Wrap the aubergines and baby marrows separately in double layers of foil with a good drizzle of olive oil, half of the lemon juice, all of the zest and a good sprinkling of parsley – make parcels that look like Christmas crackers.


    Place them both on the cooler coals and, using long tongs, cover them completely with hot coals. Cook until soft and slightly blackened, about 20 minutes. (Alternatively, preheat the oven to 200°C. Brown the vegetables on a hot, dry griddle, then cook the parcels in the oven until soft, about 20 minutes.)


    Meanwhile, prick the chilli all over with a knife so it doesn’t explode. Blacken it on all sides over the barbecue (or directly over a gas hob), then wrap in plastic wrap and leave to cool. Peel, deseed and chop.


    Unwrap the foil parcels and place the vegetables on a board. Remove the stalk and skin from the aubergine, top and tail the baby marrows, then chop the vegetables and add to a bowl. Dress with a glug of oil and the remaining lemon juice. Add the peeled and chopped garlic to the bowl, along with most of the chilli and mint. Toss and season.


    Lightly toast the ciabatta slices, then rub them with the cut sides of the remaining garlic clove. Drizzle with oil. Spoon over some of the lovely, smoky vegetables and sprinkle with the remaining chilli and mint.


    To drink: Paul Cluver Estate’s Gewürztraminer is a great example of how a well-made gewürztraminer can tone down spicy flavours.