Yesterday we did char-grilled courgettes to go with our stir-fryed lamb. This was a new recipe and we duly heated our grill pan until the oil just reached smoking point then proceeded to lay out the wafer thin courgette slices on the pan. Within a minute, and despite a decent-sized extractor hood working hard the kitchen was filling up with smoke. We were expecting the alarm to go off any minute, so the grill pan was duly taken outside by my wife.

Last summer we bought a Camping Gaz burner rated at 3 kW which is higher than most of the rings in our kitchen. She switched the char grilling to the camping burner. No fire alams...and happy char grilling in the open air.

                             char-grilled courgette

In Britain we seem to rarely cook outdoors - other than Summer barbeques - though (wind permitting) it can save smoke and clearing up spatters of fat from a work surface. In the US it is quite common for somebody to barbeque meat then bring it in to be served with the remainder of the meal perpared in the kitchen. In the Netherlands I have noticed that many people use their deep fat fryer on their terrace or just inside their garage door to avoid the oily aftersmell.