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Archive for the ‘Barbecue’ Category

A delicious steak recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage. Ixta fries the steak in a pan over a high heat, we used a barbecue – fabulous flavours either way. You will need to grind about 3 black limes to get enough for the marinade and the butter.

Wine Suggestion: Thanks to our friends Tim & Mick, who’ve been travelling recently, we had an excellent Öküzgözü from Turkey which was regal, refined, and a delightful surprise. We wish we could remember the name of the winery as we forgot to take a picture and the bottle recycling was done the next day before we remembered! Full of black cherry, raspberry, and dark mulberry flavours; this was complex and had layers of dark chocolate, licorice, leather, tobacco, cloves, and something slightly herbal and minty, but we couldn’t put our finger on what.

Bavette steak with black lime & maple butter – serves 4

  • 500g bavette steak, cut into 3 equal pieces
  • 300g ripe tomatoes
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Urfa chili flakes (we used a mixture of smoked paprika and aleppo pepper)
  • 1½ tsp ground black lime
  • about 50 twists of black pepper

FOR THE SOY AND MAPLE BUTTER:

  • 40g ghee or unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 2½ tsp maple syrup
  • ½ a small clove of garlic, finely grated
  • ¾ tsp ground black lime
  • ¾ tsp Urfa chilli flakes (see above)

Pat the steak dry and put into a large bowl. Add all the marinade ingredients and rub into the steaks. Leave aside for 10 minutes or up to 1 hour (you can do this further ahead and leave in the fridge but make sure you bring them back to room temperature before cooking).

Get your barbecue very hot, then sear the steaks for 2 minutes on each side, you want them dark brown on the outside but rare in the middle. Transfer to a warm plate and rest for 8 minutes, turning over halfway.

While the steaks are resting, slice the tomatoes and onions and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with ½ tsp flaked salt.

Melt the ghee in a small saucepan over a medium heat. When it is melted and hot, remove from the heat and stir in the soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, black lime and chilli flakes.

Slice the bavette against the grain and arrange over the onions and tomatoes. Sprinkle with some sea salt, then spoon over the soy and maple butter and serve with the lemon wedges on the side.

(Original recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2022.)

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This is fun to cook outside over fire but you can of course cook it on the hob too if you’re feeling less adventurous. Weather dependent though … we had a gap in the rain in Ireland and seized the day.

Wine Suggestion: Inspired by Jono’s trip to visit producers in California we opened a Cline Vineyards Pinot Noir from the Petaluma gap in Sonoma. Inexpensive for a Pinot, and yet so well balanced from the cooling fogs pouring in from the pacific, this is food friendly, open and joyful. At no point does this feel too heavy for the food and has the right amount of juicy fruit to complement the barbecue-smokey flavours.

FOR THE SPICE MIX:

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ cinnamon stick, broken up
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 black cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves

FOR THE KEEMA:

  • 3 tbsp veg oil or ghee
  • 500g venison mince
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 200ml water
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 long green chillies, finely sliced
  • 100g peas
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped mint
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander

FOR THE CORIANDER AND GARLIC YOGHURT

  • 150m natural yoghurt
  • 2 small cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tsp finely chopped coriander stalks

TO SERVE:

  • nann breads
  • mango chutney or lime pickle (optional)

Put all of the spice mix ingredients into a dry frying pan with the bay leaves and toast over a medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then crush to a fine powder.

Put a large fire-proof pan over the hot embers of your fire and add the oil or ghee. If you’re cooking inside use a large deep frying pan or shallow casserole. When hot, add the venison mince and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring, until well browned and almost crispy.

Add the onion and cook for another few minutes until softened, then stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. Stir in 3 tbsp of the spice mix and continue cooking for another minute.

Pour in the water and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the yoghurt together in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Add the chopped tomatoes chillies and peas and warm through. Season with salt and pepper and stir through the herbs.

Serve with warm naan breads and Indian chutneys or pickles.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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This is a totally different barbecue recipe from Geniveive Taylor’s fantastic new barbecue book – Seared. The buttermilk makes the chicken super tender, so it’s worth marinating it the day before if you can.

Wine Suggestion: A round, fresh white was in order here with a bit of body to stand up to the barbecued flavours, so we chose an oaked Rioja for something a bit different. A bargain in any language, the Urbina Blanco Crianza 2014, yes that is correct … 8 years old, is released when ready and despite its age is fresh and vibrant, with layers of tertiary development, butter, toast and nuttiness alongside the melon, cirtus and jasmine flavours. It reminded us of a complex white Burgundy.

Barbecued buttermilk chicken, charred broccoli, mozzarella, tomato, basil & pine nuts – serves 4-6

  • 800g chicken thigh fillets
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 250g cherry vine tomatoes
  • a big bunch of basil, roughly chopped
  • 50g grated Parmesan
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 250g mozzarella, torn

Slash the chicken thighs with a sharp knife taking care not to cut the whole way through. Place in a shallow dish in a single layer.

Mix the buttermilk, garlic, mustard and sugar together with plenty of salt and black pepper. Pour over the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Light your barbecue for direct and indirect cooking (half with coals and half without).

While the barbecue is getting hot, blanch the broccoli in lots of boiling salty water for a couple of minutes. Drain well and toss with the olive oil and some seasoning. Set aside.

Cook the chicken thighs over indirect heat for about 30 minutes or until they reach 60-65C inside, turning regularly. Move them a little closer to the fire and keep cooking until they reach 74C.

When the chicken is almost cooked, grill the tomatoes and the broccoli for about 10 minutes over the fire, turning until nicely charred on all sides.

Transfer the chicken, broccoli and tomatoes to a heavy roasting tin. Add the basil and gently toss to mix. Sprinkle over the Parmesan, breadcrumbs and pine nuts. Top with mozzarella adn drizzle over a little olive oil and some salt and pepper. Set the tin directly over the fire for 15 minutes to melt the cheese.

Serve with crusty bread or some baby roasted potatoes.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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Fresh corn is in the shops and it’s delicious cooked in the husks over a charcoal barbecue.

BBQ Corn on the Cob with Chilli Butter – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 corn cobs in the husks
  • 40g salted butter
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • ½ tbsp urfa chilli flakes (we didn’t have urfa so used Aleppo pepper but you could also use smoked or regular paprika)

Put the whole corn cobs in their husks over a medium hot barbecue. Rotate them every 3-4 minutes until really charred – about 15 minutes in total.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small frying pan until starts to foam. Remove from the heat, add the honey and urfa chilli and mix well.

Take the corn cobs off the heat and leave aside for 10 minutes, then pull back the burnt husk and return to a high heat for a minute or two the char some of the flesh.

Return the pan with the butter to the heat to foam the butter again, then serve the corn cobs with the butter drizzled over.

(Original recipe from Chasing Smoked: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2021.)

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This is a great barbecue dish and you can prep the meat well in advance ready to cook when you need. You will probably need to order the bavette steak from your butcher and ask them to butterfly it so you end up with a large rectangle. The recipe comes from the best barbecue book we know which is Seared – the ultimate guide to barbecuing meat – by Genevieve Taylor.

Wine Suggestion: a big, bold, juicy red like a Rhône, Argentinian Malbec, or as tonight’s choice, Kilikanoon’s superlative Killermans Run GSM from the Clare Valley. Exhuberant fruit alongside refined, fresh tannins; a real class act.

Stuffed bavette steak – serves 4 to 6

  • 1kg bavette steak, butterflied (see above)
  • 80g prosciutto
  • 60g ‘nduja
  • 60g Parmesan, grated
  • 30g basil leaves, torn
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

FOR THE TOMATO SALAD

  • 750g mixed tomatoes
  • a bunch of basil leaves, torn
  • 3-4 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Lay the bavette out flat on a board. Turn the steak so that the grain runs horizontally – this is important as you want to be cutting across the grain when serving.

Lay the slices of prosicutto over the steak, then dot with the ‘nduja. Sprinkle over the Parmesan, basil and capers and season generously with black pepper.

Start with the side closest to you and roll the steak up tightly to form a cylinder. Tie it in a good few places with lengths of string to keep it tight. Season the outside of the steak with salt, then place on a rack over a tray and refrigerate until ready to cook. Do this at least 2 hours and no longer than 24 hours in advance.

When you’re ready to cook, get the barbecue going with two strips of fire down either side and the vents fully open. The barbecue needs to be hot, about 220-240C, with a section for indirect heat down the middle.

Put the steak, seam side down, in the centre of the barbecue and cover with the lid. Cook over indirect heat (i.e. over the bit with no coals underneath) for about 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 40C in the centre. Now move the bavettte direclty over the coals and sear over a high heat, turning every few minutes for about 15 minutes. The steak will be medium when about 56C in the centre.

Slice the tomatoes and spread over a large serving platter, then sprinkle over the torn basil. Drizzle with balsamic and olive oil and sesaon with salt and pepper. Carve the bavette into slices and lay down the centre of the dish.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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Finally we have some nice weather and so we are barbecuing everything, including broccoli which is a new one for us. This is the chargrilled broccoli with chilli and garlic from the original Ottolenghi book and it works equally well on a barbecue. Cook the broccoli first and it will sit happily in the dressing until whatever else you are cooking is ready.

Chargrilled broccoli with chilli and garlic – serves 4

  • 2 heads of regular broccoli (about 500g)
  • 115ml olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 mild red chillies, finely sliced
  • thin slices of lemon, to garnish

Cut the broccoli into florets. Fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Blanch the florets in a large pan of boiling water for 2 minutes only, then scoop out and into the bowl of iced water.

Drain the broccoli and make sure it’s really well dried. Toss in a bowl with 45ml of the olive oil and some salt and pepper.

Barbecue the broccoli until charred on all sides. Meanwhile, put the rest of the olive oil into a small pan with the garlic and chillies. Cook over a medium heat until the garlic turns golden, take it off the heat at this point to prevent the garlic burning.

Put the barbecued broccoli into a large bowl and immediately pour over the garlic and chilli oil. Toss gently to coat then set aside until ready to serve. Garnish with the lemon slices.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi The Cookbook, Ebury Press, 2008.)

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If you are looking for something different for the barbecue, then this is the dish for you. Absolutely delicious recipe from Gill Meller’s lovely new book, Outdoors.

Wine suggestion: We think this dish suits Syrah and Grenache based wines really well, and because we couldn’t choose between them tonight went with a blend from near Carcassone in southern France that also adds a touch of Mourvèdre and Carignan, Domaine Gayda’s Freestyle Rouge. Juicy and medium bodied the added benefit is that the terroir combined with the grapes add a delightful herbal character to sing alongside the herb sauce; win win.

Barbecued lamb & cauliflower with herb sauce – serves 4

  • 2 lamb neck fillets
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 cauliflower, broken into bite-size florets

FOR THE HERB SAUCE:

  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
  • a small handful of basil, leaves picked
  • a small handful of mint, leaves picked
  • 6 anchovies in oil, drained
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 small clove of garlic, grated
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • about 100ml extra virgin olive oil

Make the sauce first. Put the herbs, anchovies and capers on a large chopping board and finely chop together. Transfer to a bowl, then mix in the garlic, mustard, sugar, vinegar and oil, and season with black pepper.

Get your barbecue going.

Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil over the lamb and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the chilli flakes over the meat, then cook on the barbecue for 8-10 minutes, turning often. The outside of the meat should develop a good dark crust and the internal temperature should be 55-60C. Set the lamb to the side of fire to rest while you cook the cauliflower.

Trickle the cauliflower with 1 tbsp of olive oil and season well. Cook on the barbecue until blistered and charred in places. It will be a little crunchy which is what you are looking for. Arrange the cauliflower on a platter, put thick slices of lamb over the top and spoon over the herb sauce. Give it all another season with salt and pepper and add another drizzle of good olive oil.

(Original recipe from Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2022.)

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Apricots are good value now and will only be around for a short time but you could also use a tin of apricots for this when they’re no longer available. You will need to brine the pork the day before you want to cook but it’s a very simple process so don’t let that put you off and the result is worth the effort.

Wine Suggestion: It’s very humid and warm in Dublin, though with very little sunshine this summer, so we’re drinking more whites and Rosé. Tonight was no different with a Grenache Blanc – Grenache Gris blend from 100 year old vines; the Domaine of the Bee Field of the Bee. Capturing the southern French sunshine this feels like stepping back in time with hints of garrigue and wild herbs, while keeping a view on the future with a vibrant freshness and purity.

Barbecued pork with apricots – serves 4

  • 50g sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp treacle
  • 4 large pork chops
  • 6 ripe apricots, halved

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • a big handful of coriander, leaves and stalks finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1-2 tsp honey

Make the brine by pouring 250ml of boiling water into a jug, then adding the salt, sugar and treacle and stirring until dissolved. Top up with cold water to get 500ml, then leave to cool completely.

Cut a few slashes through the fat on each pork chop. Place them into a freezer bag and pour over the cold brine. Tie the bag tightly and leave in the fridge for 24 hours.

Make the sauce by putting the oil, lime zest and juice, coriander and garlic to a bowl and whisk together well. Season and add the honey to taste. Set aside.

Get the barbecue hot.

Drizzle a little oil over the cut sides of the apricots. Drain the pork and discard the brine, then pat dry with paper towels. Drizzle a little oil over these too.

Grill the pork and apricots on the barbecue, turning often. Serve the pork with the apricots alongside and the sauce drizzled over.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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It hasn’t been the best of summers in Ireland so far but we’re barbecuing at every opportunity nonetheless. This marinated chicken is very tasty. We’ve given instructions for cooking on a charcoal barbecue but it will of course work just as well on a gas barbecue too.

Wine Suggestion: Choose a Mediterranean inspired, fruity, medium bodied red or white to pair with this. For a red something like a youthful Montepulciano would be great, but for tonight we chose the Edetana via Edetaria Grenacha Blanca from Terra Alta in Spain. A spot truly blessed with an amazing terroir for Grenache of both colours, and this version is bursting with flowers and fruit aromas and a core of citrus on the palate. It really complimented the char from the barbecue and the subtle spicing on the marinade.

Chicken kebabs – serves 6

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • ½ cinnamon steak
  • 4 cloves
  • 35g cashews
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 800g chicken thigh fillets, diced
  • 150g Greek yoghurt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g butter
  • a small handful of mint leaves, chopped, to serve

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • a small handful of coriander, chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon

Warm a small frying pan over a medium heat, then add the cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom, crumbled cinnamon stick and cloves. Toast for a minute until fragrant, then tip them into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a powder.

Tip the cashews into the frying pan and roast for a couple of minutes, then add these to the freshly ground spices along with the turmeric and the nutmeg. Grind again, then transfer to a large bowl.

Add the chicken, yoghurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, chillies and salt to the bowl and mix well. Cover and put in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

When you’re ready to cook get your charcoal barbecue going with charcoal on one side only.

Thread the chicken, not too tightly, onto metal skewers.

Put the skewers onto the barbecue, on the opposite side to the coals so the heat isn’t too high. Cook with the lid on, turning regularly, until the temperature inside reaches 74C or for about 20 minutes.

Put the butter into a small frying pan on the hob to melt. When the chicken is almost cooked, move them over the heat to crisp them up and start brushing all over with the melted butter. Keep an eye on them as they’ll start to flare up a bit.

Toss the salad ingredients together and serve the kebabs with the salad on the side.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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Pork ribeyes are a bit of revelation for us but they’re excellent on the barbecue and also good value. You cook them low and slow first, then a fast sear at the end. This will give you tender meat with a good browned crust on the outside. You will need a meat thermometer – they’re not expensive and an essential piece of equipment for cooking outside. You also want to start this the day ahead so you can season the meat the whole way through.

Wine Suggestion: We were treated to a gem from the cellar of our friends David & Joyce. The Domaine Tempier Bandol 2006 was at it’s absolute peak. Fresh as a daisy with velvety layers of plums and sloes and a deep, earthy bass note with touches of leather, tobacco and gentle spices. The forceful tannins from the Mourvèdre tamed by time into a silky texture allowing the fruit to emerge.

Barbecued pork ribeye steaks with mushrooms & tarragon sauce – serves 4 generously

  • 4 pork ribeye steaks, about 300g each
  • 1 tbsp flaked sea salt
  • 10g dried mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 300g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 175ml white wine
  • 300ml double cream
  • 20g fresh tarragon leaves, picked and chopped

Sprinkle the pork steaks all over with the salt and place on a rack over a tray. Leave uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours (or for as long as you’ve got).

When ready to cook you need to set up the barbecue for both direct and indirect heating. This means piling up the charcoal on just one side. You can then put the meat on the opposite side (without charcoal underneath) and cover with the lid to cook indirect – this will cook the meat slowly. When you want to finish over a high heat, you transfer the meat to the other side.

Put the dried mushrooms into a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to just cover. Leave to soak until soft, then finely chop the mushrooms and return to the soaking liquid. Set aside.

Put the pork steaks on the opposite side to the charcoal and allow them to cook gently for 30-40 minutes. You want the internal temperature to reach 50C.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-based frying pan and add the fresh mushrooms. Fry until soft, then add the garlic and fry for a few minutes. Add the wine and the dried mushrooms along with their soaking liquid. Allow to bubble until the liquid is almost completely reduced, then add the cream, tarragon and seasoning. Allow to heat through, then cover with a lid and set aside.

Remove the steaks to a plate and, if you need to, add a bit more charcoal to the barbecue to get it super hot again. Then sear the steaks over a really high heat, with the lid off, turning them every 30 seconds until really well browned. Keep cooking like this on the internal temperature ahas reached 63C for medium or 71C for well done.

Warm the sauce a little if you need, then serve the steaks with the sauce poured over. Potatoes and green veg are good on the side.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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A great combination and nice to cook something meat-free on the barbecue. Serve with naan breads – we get ours from the local takeaway. You need to get started a few hours ahead.

Wine Suggestion: Nothing complex or too heavy with this so focus on pleasurable fruit and balance. For us tonight Umani Ronchi’s organic Serrano. A Montepulciano – Sangiovese blend from Rosso Conero, in the Marches. Youthful and vibrant which suited us perfectly for a summer barbecued dinner.

Barbecued tikka paneer with fresh mango chutney – serves 4

  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp tikka curry paste, we use Patak’s
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 300g paneer, cut into 18 cubes
  • 1 green pepper, cut into 18 pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 18 pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • vegetable oil, for brushing the grill
  • a small handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • naan breads, to serve

FOR THE FRESH MANGO CHUTNEY:

  • left over red onion from the kebabs (see below)
  • 1 large mango, finely diced
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1-2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of mint, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • juice of half a lemon

Put the yoghurt, curry paste, garlic, and ginger into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix together. Add the paneer and peppers. Peel off the outer 2-3 layers of each onion wedge and add these too (keep the rest for the chutney), then fold everything together gently. Cover and put into the fridge for a few hours, or if short of time leave at room temperature for an hour.

To make the mango chutney, finely chop the leftover onion and put into a bowl with the mango, tomatoes, chillies and mint and stir to mix. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice to taste, then set aside.

Get your barbecue on and hot, then brush the grill with vegetable oil to prevent the kebabs from sticking.

Thread the paneer, peppers and onions onto kebab skewers and cook for 12-15 minutes or until lightly charred.

Sprinkle coriander over the skewers and serve with the mango chutney and naan breads.

(Original recipe from Charred by Genevieve Taylor, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2019.)

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Today was a sunny Sunday so we grilled aubergine slices on the barbecue, made this delicious veggie bake, and ate it outside. Happy days! Serve with garlic or crusty bread and salad.

Wine Suggestion: We think youthful, fruity reds are a joy with this dish and can’t pass up a chance to open a good Beaujolais. For this dish Domaine Rochette’s Régnié, a cru that is often overlooked and unfairly so. Bright and almost crunchy fruit that shouts just as much of sunshine as the Parmigiana.

Melanzane Parmigiana – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing over the aubergines
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 8 large sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp golden caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 6 large aubergines, sliced very thinly, lengthways
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 85g white breadcrumbs
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 x 125g mozzarella balls, torn into small pieces
  • a handful of basil leaves

Get the sauce on first. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or a wide saucepan, then add the garlic, thyme and sage and cook for a few minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, vinegar and sugar, and simmer gently for about 25 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, light your barbecue – a gas barbecue is particularly good for this as it’s easier to control the heat, you don’t want the aubergine to char before it’s softened. If you don’t have a barbecue (or if it’s not barbecuing weather) you can use a griddle pan instead.

Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil, then barbecue in batches until softened and lightly charred.

Mix 25g of the Parmesan with the breadcrumbs and pine nuts, and set aside.

Spread a little of the tomato sauce over the base of a large baking tray or lasagne dish. Top with a layer of aubergine slices, then season well. Spoon over some more sauce, then scatter over some mozzarella, Parmesan and bssil leaves.

Repeat the layers and finish with a layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle over the cheesey breadcrumbs. You can bake the dish now or stick it in the fridge for up to 24 hours and bake when you’re ready.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is crispy and golden and the tomato sauce bubbling. Rest for 10 minutes, then serve with salad and bread.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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This recipe comes from Chasing Smoke by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich of Honey & Co. in London. This is hands-down the best hummus we’ve ever made (and we’ve made lots) and the crispy lamb belly (poached then finished over charcoal) is fatty but fabulous. It’s good with a simple salad (we went for cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions & Baby gem dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and sumac) and lots of warm pittas. You need to soak the chickpeas the night before.

Wine Suggestion: Anything with a hint of middle-eastern spices or warm sunshine. A Garnacha, or maybe a Tempranillo. Tonight the classic Massaya le Colombier from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. A lot has happened in this part of the world and we’re glad to support the friends we’ve met still trying to make great wine despite all the challenges. Well done Sami and Ramzi, bravo!

Crispy lamb on creamy hummus – serves 4 (generously)

FOR THE LAMB:

  • 1 lamb breast on the bone, about 1.5kg
  • 1 tbsp table salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 litre of water

FOR THE HUMMUS:

  • 200g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in lots of water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 250g tahini paste
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

TO SERVE:

  • a small handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp biber chilli flakes (or Allepo)
  • pitta breads
  • salad (see suggestion above

Rub the lamb all over with the salt, cumin seeds and peppercorns, then leave in the fridge for a couple of hours. Put the lamb in a large pan with the onions and water. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly for about 1½ hours.

Make the hummus while the lamb is cooking. Drain the soaked chickpeas, then place in large saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil and skim off the foam. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then skim again.

Add the bicarbonate of soda and mix well. Skim it really well this time then simmer for 30-40 minutes, skimming regularly, until the chickpeas are very soft – they should melt in your mouth.

Drain the chickpeas into a colander over a bowl so you can reserve the cooking liquid. You need to finish the hummus now while everything is still hot. Pour 250ml of the cooking liquid over the chickpeas and add the garlic. Now whizz using a stick blender or food processor until really smooth. It will be pretty thick at this stage but not to worry.

Add the salt, tahini, cumin and lemon juice and whizz again until well combined. Give it a taste and add more salt or lemon juice if you like. Cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin forming and set aside. It will be quite liquid but it will thicken as it cools.

Lift the lamb out of the cooking water, keep a few spoonfuls of liquid for serving. The meat should be completely soft and easy to pull from the bones. Carefully (so it doesn’t fall apart altogether) lift it onto a hot charcoal barbecue and cook for about 10 minutes. Turn it over and cook for 10 minutes on the other side. You need to do this over indirect heat or it will burn or catch fire as there is a lot of fat.

To cook over indirect heat pile the charcoal to one side and with the lid on cook the meat on the other side. Despite no direct flames underneath the meat cooks a treat – slower, but no less effectively.

Take the cooked meat off onto a chopping board and shred it with two forks – like crispy duck.

Spread the hummus on a serving platter and top with the lamb and a drizzle of the cooking liquid. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and chilli flakes and serve with lots of pitta and a salad if you like.

(Original recipe from Chasing Smoke: Cooking over fire around the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2021.)

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This is absolutely lovely for lunch and you can make it up a few hours in advance and chill it in the fridge. It’s also easily doubled if your serving a crowd. Like everything it tastes better outside in the sun. Serve with some crusty bread and green salad leaves if you like.

Lemon & herb chicken salad – serves 6

  • 750g cooked skinless chicken, cut into thin strips (we cook our chicken on a barbecue for extra flavour)
  • 150g pitted green olives, halved
  • 290g jar chargrilled red peppers, drained and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 200g feta cheese, broken into small pieces

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl and seasoning with salt and black pepper.

Add the chicken to the dressing and toss well, then addd the olives, half the peppers, the basil, parsley, and two-thirds of the feta. Season again.

Arrange the chicken on a large platter and top with the rest of the peppers and feta. Chill in the fridge for a bit before serving.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry Cooks up a Feast with Lucy Young, Penguin Random House, 2019.)

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We loved these little breakfast tacos so much we made them a few days in a row; and the mini yellow corn tortillas from Picado work perfectly. Jono bravely picked each taco up with a bit of spillage, Jules sensibly used a knife and fork.

Breakfast tacos with bacon, eggs & avocado – serves 2

  • 4 rashers smoked back bacon
  • 3 tsp butter
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 8 mini corn tortillas (use less if you’re using bigger ones)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • a bunch of coriander, chopped
  • Sriracha sauce, to serve

Grill or barbeuce the bacon until cooked and crispy, then snip with scissors into small pieces.

Melt the butter in a saucepan then softly scramble the eggs, take them off the heat when still slightly liquid so they don’t overcook. Stir in the crispy bacon.

Meanwhile, warm the tortillas in a dry frying pan and lay onto two warm plate.

Spoon the bacon and eggs over the tacos, then top with avocado, coriander and a drizzle of Sriracha sauce.

(Original recipe from The BodyCoach App)

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We recently bought Ammu by Asma Khan, a book full of Indian home-cooking recipes interlaced with lovely stories about Asma’s family life. Today was its first outing and we cooked these kebabs on the barbecue because the sun was shining, and our friend Michael keeps gifting us huge jars of pickled onions that he got for a bargain price in M&S (true). Asma recommends serving with a black-eyed bean salad called Lobia – and we agree.

Wine Suggestion: Find an easy, juicy barbecue red that isn’t too heavy and you’ll be happy here.

Murgh Seekh Kabab – serves 6

  • 900g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 5cm piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 300g well-drained pickled onions or shallots
  • 6 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • juice of 2 lemons
  • ¾ tsp sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp chilli powder

Ideally you should marinade the chicken and leave in the fridge for about 4 hours. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together, then add the chicken and toss to coat, then cover and put into the fridge.

Get your barbecue going, we prefer charcoal but whatever you’ve got will do.

Thread the chicken pieces, thinly sliced ginger and pickled onions onto metal kebab sticks (you can use the wooden ones but you need to soak them in cold water for about 20 minutes first to stop them burning). Grill the kebabs for about 5 minutes on each side, basting with the ghee or vegetable oil.

(Original recipe from Ammu by Asma Khan, Ebury Press, 2022.)

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We’ve been meaning to try veggie burgers on the barbecue for a while now. These sweet potato and black bean ones have lots of spice and cooking the sweet potatoes in the coals gives them a great smoky flavour. These take a while to prepare and you do need a charcoal barbecue. And while they’re a lot softer than a traditional burger the flavours still make it a good choice if you feel like something different or if you don’t like meat.

Sweet potato and black bean burgers – serves 6

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (600g in total)
  • 2 x 400g tins black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 75g panko breadcrumbs
  • 80g roasted cashew nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

FOR THE CHIPOTLE LIME MAYO

  • 140g mayonnaise
  • 30g chipotle chillies in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • juice of ½ a lime

TO SERVE

  • 6 burger buns
  • 6 slices of cheddar or Gruyère cheese
  • 2 avocados
  • pickled jalapeno chillies
  • lettuce

You need a charcoal barbecue for this. Wait until the embers have turned white, then wrap the potatoes in tin foil and nestle them into the coals. Cook for about 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until soft.

Tip the black beans into a large bowl and roughly mash with a fork.

When the potatoes are cooked, unwrap them and leave them to cool slightly. Then scoop out the insides and add to the black beans. Add the breadcrumbs, cashew nuts, spices and some salt and pepper. Mix well, then divide into 6 burgers. Put onto a tray, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to firm them up.

Heat the barbecue up again and mix all of the mayo ingredients together and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large cast-iron frying pan on the barbecue. Add the burgers and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. When you turn them over, toast the burger buns and set aside. Lay the cheese slices on top of the burgers, add a little water to the pan and cover with a lid – the steam helps to melt the cheese.

Spread some mayo on the bottom half of the toasted buns. Add a burger, some avocado and a few jalapaenos. Serve with some lettuce or salad leaves on the side.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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Sometimes we get a notion for steak and chips, so pull out the barbecue and crank up the oven. Béarnaise sauce is the perfect companion, not particularly hard, it just needs a little attention and you must never let it get too hot.

Wine suggestion: Another Greek classic, the Thymiopoulos Naoussa Xinomavro which plays a nice balance of being effortless and ethereal alongside a deep core of powerful, elegant tannins.

Béarnaise Sauce

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp tarragon vinegar
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 3-4 bushy tarragon sprigs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 150g butter, cut into small dice

Heat the vinegar, tarragon, peppercorns and shallot in a small pan. Bring to the boil and reduce until there is about 1 tbsp left, then strain and set aside.

Put a bowl over a pan of just-simmering water and make sure it isn’t touching the water. Add the egg yolks and mustard, then whisk in the reduced vinegar. Slowly add the butter, a cube at a time, whisking each time until smooth. You can turn the heat off about half way through. We like to stir-through a little chopped tarragon at the end but it’s up to yourself. Keep warm over a pan of warm water while you cook your steak.

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This is really two separate recipes but they go so well together that we strongly suggest making both. As this is essentially a dry dish, rice on the side is good but the fresh salad really makes it.

Wine Suggestion: We think this goes really well with a velvety Pinot Noir like Andre Dezat’s Sancerre Rouge, or Cline’s Sonoma Coast Pinot. The juicy fruit and lightness of expression plays wonderfully with the layers of spice, sourness, sweetness and charred flavours these dishes offer without overwhelming them, and without too many dry tannins which could fight the dish.

Char siu pork with a chilli, coriander & mint salad – serves 4

  • 2 pork fillets (tenderloins), trimmed of fat and sinew

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 4 tbsp clear honey
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 4 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 4 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

FOR THE CHILLI, CORIANDER & MINT SALAD:

  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, halved lengthways, sliced, then finely chopped
  • 1 cm piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½-1 tsp palm or caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 cos lettuce, cut into thick strips
  • ¼ cucumber, seeds scooped out and discarded and sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • a large handful of coriander leaves
  • a large handful of mint leaves

First make the marinade for the pork. Put the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over a low heat. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Put the pork fillets into a large container with half the cooled marinade, keep the rest for cooking the pork. Rub the marinade into the pork and leave for at least 2-3 hours, or ideally overnight, in the fridge.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 230C/Gas 8.

Remove the pork from the marinade (don’t throw the marinade away) and place them on a wire rack over a foil-lined roasting tray.

Roast the pork in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 190C/Gas 5. Continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes, turning and basting with the reserved mainade every 5 minutes, until cooked. You can finish the pork on a hot barbecue for the last 5 minutes of cooking to get a nice barbecue flavour or under a hot grill.

Leave the pork to rest for 5 minutes, before slicing.

To make the salad, put 1 tbsp of the lime juice into a small bowl with the soy sauce, sugar and oil. Add the chilli, garlic, lemongrass and ginger and whisk to combine. Taste and add more lime or sugar if needed.

Put the lettuce, cucumber, scallions, coriander and mint in a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately with the sliced pork and some steamed rice.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook by Claire MacDonald & Jenny Stringer, Quadrille Publishing Limited, 2013.)

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We’re trying to get the most out of our barbecue while the evenings are still bright. This is based on Greek gyro chicken kebabs and it tastes great with some salad and flatbreads. We added some tzatziki too but plain yoghurt would also be good. You need to get started with the marinade the day before.

We cooked these on a charcoal barbecue with a lid, using the indirect heat method which we’ve explained below. If that’s not your thing you can cook in a hot oven (200C/180C fan/gas 6) on a wire rack over a roasting tin for 45-55 minutes.

Wine Suggestion: We recommend a white with a bit of phenolic texture and body or a mid-weight red with a fresh crispness. Thymiopoulos’ Xinomavro Jeunes Vignes is a current favourite that falls into the latter camp. From north-eastern Greece we think this grape needs to be better known.

Greek Chicken Kebabs – serves 6

  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • flat breads, salad and yoghurt or tzatziki to serve.

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • a small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl and season. Add the chicken thighs and mix together well, then cover and chill overnight.

Light a lidded barbecue and let the flames die down. When the coals have turned ashen, mound them up on side.

Thread the chicken thighs onto 2 metal skewers – both skewers need to go through every piece of meat. Push the thighs down well to make sure the meat is well compacted.

Put the chicen kebab onto the side of the barbecue without any coals underneath. Cover with the lid and cook for 45-55 minutes, turning regularly, or until cooked through. You can pull apart a few chicken pieces in the centre to check or much easier is to check with a meat probe – a barbecue essential in our opinion.

Remove the chicken from the barbecue, cover with foil and leave to rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

Slice strips of chicken from the kebab and stuff into pittas or flatbreads, that have been warmed on the barbecue, with some salad and yoghurt or tzatziki.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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