As soon as the sun comes out, you’re out preparing the garden or patio so as to invite everyone round for an hour or two of fun, relaxation and – needless to say – food ! It’s time to get out the pre-dinner snacks, rustle up some kebabs and get creative with the plancha ! To make sure it all goes without a hitch, here’s some advice.

Outdoor Cooking

Plancha, grill, barbecue: it’s hotting up !

It’s getting hot, and you’re determined to make the most of it by inviting all your friends and family round for a meal. You’ve already prepared several litres of iced tea, and have laid a large table with eco-friendly, biodegradable plates and dishes, little handmade labels for each dish and salad, coloured candles for when it starts to get dark and, of course, some background music to get everyone in the right mood.

Prepare your barbecue meat and vegetables beforehand, and don’t forget that marinated meat is even more tender ! Plancha, electric barbecue, grill – it’s up to you ! And if some of your guests want to help with the cooking, keep them happy by giving them this vital task ! Prepare some little pots of sauce, such as homemade mayonnaise, mustard and garlic mayonnaise, so that everyone can season their red or white meat exactly how they want. And for dessert, go for something colourful and fun – fruit salad, fruit kebabs, ice cream or cupcakes.

Cooking tip: Always have a large mixed salad ready for those who don’t like meat, plus some mini-kebabs for the kids !


Give carbs the green light !

How ? Simply by varying them, and by limiting the portions. Wholemeal bread and rice, spelt pasta, quinoa – there are so many healthy and delicious recipes around that you’ll never get bored. The golden rule is to consume them in moderate quantities but every day. Golden rules n°6 - healthy

Get creative and experiment !

Get creative at mealtimes by experimenting with different cereals and grains. While it’s obviously not a good idea to eat a plateful of macaroni cheese just before bedtime, there’s no need to deny yourself a small portion of tasty carbs with your lunch or dinner. Invent your very own vegetable risottos, pep up your rice with different herbs and spices, and explore the possibilities of other grains such as couscous, millet, red quinoa and (gluten-free !) cornflour pastry. These days, the variety is almost endless.

And if you fancy some carbs for breakfast, why not treat yourself to some delicious granary bread, to a bowl of muesli with fruit and oat milk, or to a dish of rice pudding ?

Cooking tip : Don’t forget that the lower a food’s glycemic index (GI), the better it is for your health. Make toast part of your daily diet, and eat your pasta al dente !


After soya milk, the best-known and most popular plant milk is almost undoubtedly oat milk. Never tried it? And yet oat milk has so much going for it, and is as delicious at breakfast time as it is in your favourite dishes.

Oat milk

Tasty and perfect for cooking

If you don’t like cow’s milk or favour a plant-based diet, then oat milk is for you ! At breakfast time, it’s perfect for your muesli, porridge and even your café latte.  With its creamy texture and slightly sweet flavour, children simply love it ! And if you want to get your day off to a really good start, why not simply drink a glass of well-chilled oat milk ?

What’s more, oat milk can be used to make just about anything ! Its texture makes it suitable for both sweet recipes e.g. pancakes, waffles and doughnuts, and savoury dishes.

Tasty cooking tip : use oat milk to make a white sauce or a delicious asparagus quiche that’s sure to wow the entire family !

And with different types of oat milk now available – such as chocolate-flavoured and calcium-enriched – there’s absolutely no excuse for not trying it out !


While there are now lots of plant-based milks on the market, some are better-known and more popular than others – not least, soya milk. Highly palatable, easy to digest and perfect for cooking, soya milk has now secured a firm place on our supermarket shelves.

Soya milk

A definite head start !

Far from a passing fad, soya milk has become something of a regular in our kitchens. While other plant milks, such as oat milk (link to oat milk), have started to edge their way in to our daily cooking, soya milk has a definite head start! It’s consumed hot or cold, from breakfast to supper, and in a whole range of dishes. Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, lactose-intolerant, or simply keen to try out something new, soya milk is for you! Use it on your breakfast cereal, in your coffee, for your children’s snacks, and in all your sweet and savoury recipes – quiches, pancakes, waffles, and of course your inimitable homemade yoghurt that all the kids love !

As well as being great for cooking, soya milk is full of goodness – protein, vitamins and minerals. And as if that weren’t enough, it also has zero cholesterol ! Opt for organic soya milk if you can, and experiment with the different varieties available – chocolate, vanilla, or in mini-cartons that you can slip into your bag. It’s up to you !


Have you ever wondered about the ideal cooking time for a rare or medium steak? If you want perfect barbecues, chops and kebabs, then you need to know just how long to cook each type of meat !


Rare, medium or well-done – how do you like your steak ?

Needless to say, the more you like your steak rare, the less you need to cook it. An extra-rare steak, for example, should be cooked in a flash so that it’s still almost cold on the inside. Steak cooked this quickly takes on a slightly blueish tinge, which is why it’s also known as ‘blue steak’.

Cooking tip : It’s much easier to cook meat properly when you have the right equipment. The OptiGrill, for example, adjusts to the thickness of each portion so that everyone gets their meat just how they like it.

For maximum flavour and texture, follow the prescribed cooking times for each type of meat. Meat that’s too well-done will be tasteless and tough as leather, while some of your guests may feel a bit queasy if their meat turns out too rare! Here’s a list of cooking times to help you out :

Dinner tip: basic cooking times to remember

Beefsteak, sirloin, bavette, fillet, skirt :

Extra-rare/blue: 30 seconds to a minute per side.

Medium: 2¼ minutes per side

Well-done: Three to four minutes per side.

Roast beef:

15 minutes per pound of meat.

Pork chops:

7 to 8 minutes per side.

Veal escalope:

5 minutes per side.


From thick broths to light consommés, soup is most definitely in, with soup bars springing up all over the world ! What could be better than a homemade hot or cold beverage for getting your five a day without even thinking about it ?

Soup forever

Soup – you’ll never tire of it !

Dinner tip of the day : open your refrigerator (link to refrigerator article) and have a look in the crisper drawer. What could you possibly make from a few leeks and potatoes, a bit of flat parsley and some spring onions ? A delicious soup, of course ! While traditional soup recipes vary quite a lot from one country to another, there’s nothing to stop you from doing your own thing ! Summer or winter, practically any vegetable can be made into soup – mushrooms, broccoli, butternut squash, split peas, sweetcorn –  how could you ever get bored ?!

If you’re sick of leek and potato soup, why not try something totally different ? Add some tofu and rice noodles to your consommé, try out a recipe for peanut soup straight from Peru, or explore the almost endless possibilities of coconut milk. And for those who hate wasting time in the kitchen, Soup & co is the solution! Extremely practical, this clever little machine cooks and blends all-in-one ! What better way to ensure that you and your family get all the health benefits of soup ?

Cooking tip : Always have some herbs and vegetables in the freezer, for those busy days and last-minute dinners !


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