Tuesday, 14 March 2017


So, we *all* have a pile of old bricks, a few lengths of metal piping from the local junkyard and precisely four strong garden canes lying around at home, don't we? And, of course, simply no idea what to do with them. You know the kind of thing, a local famous ancient monument was being demolished to widen the road, and you nipped along and 'bought' a selection of Eighteenth century rose-coloured bricks just on the off-chance they'd be useful further down the line. It's always happening to me. Well, luck is in, Fanny has a solution. Build your own spit barbecue.

Fanny Cradock BBQ

Fanny is under no illusion that Britain may not be best placed for barbecue lovers, after all the climate can turn 'at the drop of a sun-hat' from 'set fair' to 'downpour'. Fanny recommends that we shouldn't cry about it. Her mantra is 'barbecue-without-tears' and indeed, without exhaustion. And while we are at it, without smoke in our eyes to spoil the enjoyment. Choosing the location for your barbecue is, therefore, key. You must have a windbreak. You do not want the fire to become so fierce a strength for cooking or so intense that it can do 'scorch damage' to a nearby fence or hedge. Let alone the cooks hands or face. How do you think Fanny got those signature eyebrows?

Fanny Cradock BBQ

Fanny assumes that everyone will want a barbecue. Naturally. For those who do not wish to invest in a professional one, used by professionals in the professional way, a homemade one can be made in just a few moments. She draws a diagram to make it even quicker. Pay particular attention to the holes. A draught is required. And please, Fanny begs, do not use any cement. If your bricks have not been reclaimed honestly from a beyond-help historic home, if they are old and faffy with knobbly leftovers of cement adhering to them, do chip these off first or the bricks will simply not stand level. Safety first, remember. Eyebrows. That's all I'm saying.

Fanny Cradock BBQ

The next most important thing for a successful barbecue is the position of a table near to it. Where on earth will you put the essential accoutrements for grilling without one? Fanny lists these as bread, butter, salt, pepper, a cheese selection and a massive basket of fruit. And before you ask, the butter must be protected in a suitable tub which is then set into another larger tub with ice cubes packed around it. The only other essential is paper towels, there must be a generous supply of those for guests to wipe their greasy hands on. Fanny insists that plastic plates are used for COLD items only. The beastly plastic, ammonia flavour which they impart to hot food is unfortunate for all. We *may* fall back upon cardboard plates if absolutely unavoidable, but we will need the addition of a basket under the table for *immediate* discarding. No-one must see a used cardboard plate. The shame!

Fanny Cradock BBQ

Now that we have the set-up clarified, we can consider the food. Sally is shown brushing oil onto her kebabs with obvious joy, at the 'spit bar' as Fanny calls it. She has Spit Roast Duck, Spare Ribs, Mackerel, Hamburgers and Jacket Potatoes too. Fanny knows that some people eat hot dogs. She does not claim to be an expert on them, as she has been unable to find anyone who will indeed eat them. She simply knows that they exist, and are sometimes sold in tins. She is an expert on Gammon Steaks however. Thankfully. They must be scissor-snipped at intervals around the rind so that the flesh does not 'hump up' during cooking. They inevitably will if you don't. Be warned. No humping at the barbecue.

Fanny Cradock BBQ

So, we are all set to do our first spit-roast just when Fanny throws an almighty spanner straight into the hot coals... She has a flaming alternative if, after all this, you really would rather do things the professional way. Not as much room for the cardboard plates under this one though.

Fanny Cradock Barbecue


  1. How fancy! I love Fanny's bespoke BBQ. And so glad to find out what happened to those eyebrows *lol*!

    1. She used the big paint brushes for her make-up after the kebabs too*

      *more than likely