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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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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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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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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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You need to start this the day before but it’s surprisingly easy and the results are amazing. A great barbecue dish to serve a crowd and most of the work is done beforehand. Ours was too big to fit in the oven so we sliced it into two which made it much more manageable.

Wine Suggestion: Quite often we’d suggest a wine with good acidity to cut through the richness of this dish, and we wouldn’t be wrong, with a number od Chardonnays coming to mind. However, instead of cutting through the richness we tried accentuating it and playing with the phenolics (white wine tannins) and drank Jean-Michel Gerin’s La Champine Viognier from the Northern Rhône valley. Grown on vineyards above Condrieu this is accessible and yet still heady, slightly oily and rich with stone fruit flavours and character. It always pays to think outside the box every now and again.

Fennel and ‘Nduja Spiced Porchetta – serves 6 to 8

  • 3kg belly of pork, boned and skin scored and butterflied, your butcher will do this for you

FOR THE SEASONING:

  • 3 tsp salt
  • 50g fennel seeds
  • 25g cracked black pepper
  • 10 sage leaves

FOR THE STUFFING:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • ½ fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 100g pine nuts, toasted
  • 100g pitted green olives, sliced
  • 175g ‘nduja

Make the sfuffing first as you need to leave it to cool. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions and fennel for about 10 minutes or until softened and golden brown, add the garlic after about 5 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts, olives and ‘nduja and warm through briefly. Spoon onto a tray and leave to cool.

Lay the pork skin side down on a board and open up flat.

To make the seasoning, mix the the salt, fennel seeds and cracked pepper together in a bowl. Sprinkle the rub evenly over the pork and scatter the sage leaves on top. Fold the belly over to enclose the seasoning, then cover and chill for an hour in the fridge.

Lay the pork belly back onto the board and open up to expose the seasoning. Spread the stuffing evenly over the surface, leaving a border at the edges.

Roll the meat up tightly and tie with kitchen string at 4cm intervals, starting in the middle. You need to tie it firmly but careful not to squeeze out the stuffing. Put onto a tray and leave overnight in the fridge. If your pork is too big you can carefully slice through the middle to give two pieces.

The next day, take the pork out the fridge at least 1 hour before you want to start cooking.

Preheat the oven to 160C/Fan 140C/Gas 3.

Put the pork onto a baking tray and cook in the oven for 3½ hours.

Near the end of the cooking time, get your barbecue on and get it ready to cook on. Transfer the pork to the barbecue and cook for another hour. Roll it over onto the fat side at the end to crisp up the crackling. Transfer to a platter and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes, then carve into thick slices.

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

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Don’t pack the barbecue away yet, you really should make this first. The smoky potato salad is good even if the fish is not your thing.

Wine Suggestion: a new find from Portugal: the Companhia de Vinhos Invencival “Natural Mystic”. An Alvarinho, Arinto, Loureiro blend from the far north, this is light and fresh and yet rounded and full flavoured standing up to the barbecued fish flavours and adding it’s own extra bit of pizzazz for a great combo.

BBQ Bream with Smoked Potato Salad – serves 2 (with salad leftover)

  • 2 whole bream, gutted and fins and other sharp bits removed
  • 1 lemon, halved

SPICE RUB FOR THE FISH:

  • 3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp flaky sea salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, lightly ground
  • 1 ½ tsp garlic powder

FOR THE SMOKED POTATO SALAD:

  • 800g cooked new potatoes
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 6 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 50g cornichons, sliced
  • 2 tbsp dill, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

You will need to get a charcoal barbecue nice and hot to cook on.

Prep the fish first by placing on a board and slashing through the skin a few times on both sides.

Put all of the spice rub ingredients into a shallow dish, big enough to hold the fish, and mix together. Put the fish on top and rub the spice rub all over the fish and and into the cuts you made.

Lay the fish onto a hot barbecue and leave for 5-6 minutes to allow the skin to crisp up. Turn carefully and repeat on the other side.

Carefully remove the fish from the barbecue and leave to rest for a few minutes. Squeeze over the lemon halves.

Put the potatoes directly onto the cooling embers. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the potato salad ingredients together in a a large bowl and season. Add the smoked potatoes and toss to coat.

Serve the fish with the warm potato salad.

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

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We’ve been cooking from a new book, Camper Van Cooking by Claire Thompson and Matt Williamson. Every summer we’re usually off camping in a tent in France but not this year unfortunately. Still, we’ve had some amazing Irish sunshine so we’re making a big effort to cook and eat outside as much as possible. These chops were lovely with some flatbreads warmed on the barbecue alongside a herby couscous, and a tomato and cucumber salad.

Wine Suggestion: A barbecue Cotes du Rhone red comes to the rescue here; medium weight with gentle, warming spices. Jean-Paul Daumen’s version in the glass tonight and we can almost picture us sipping this in France.

Lamb Chops with Cumin and Sumac with Tahini Sauce – serves 4

  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp chill flakes/aleppo chilli flakes/urfa chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 lamb cutlets
  • ½ lemon

FOR THE TAHINI SAUCE:

  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a little salt
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • juice of ½ lemon

Mix the garlic, cumin, chilli flakes and half the sumac with the oil in a bowl. Season the chops with salt and pepper, then rub them all over with the spicy oil and put them in the fridge. You need to leave them for at least half an hour or longer if you can. Bring them back to room temperature before cooking.

To make the sauce, put the garlic and tahini in a bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and a splash of cold water, you want a smooth sauce with the consistency of double cream. Season to taste.

Heat a barbecue until very hot and cook the chops for a few minutes on each side or until nicely charred on the outside and however you like them in the middle. Grill the lemon half at the same time. Allow the chops to rest off the heat for a few minutes, then serve drizzled with the tahini and sprinkled with the rest of the sumac and a good squeeze of the barbecued lemon.

(Original crecipe from Camper Van Cooking by Claire Thompson & Matt Williamson,

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These ribs are cooked in the oven before going on the barbecue so they are meltingly tender. They go great with some coleslaw and a jacket potato.

Drink suggestion: As this dish has a sweetness to it we looked to a lager with a bit of bitterness instead. Taking the recommendation by Justin from our local store (Sweeneys D3) of the Samuel Adams Boston Lager, this was deeply smooth and complex, with a well-balanced hoppy bitterness and clean, lingering finish. The hints of malt added a hint of sweetness which helped accentuate the pork flavours, so well suggested. A beer we’d overlooked for no apparent reason, but one we’ll revisit again.

Barbecued pork ribs – serves 4

  • 2 racks of baby back pork ribs, trimmed and sinew removed
  • 330ml can of beer

FOR THE SPICE RUB:

  • 2 tsp table salt
  • 2 tbsp smoked paparika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

FOR THE BARBECUE SAUCE:

  • 100ml American mustard
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar

Mix the spice rub ingredients together in a bowl, then lay the ribs in a large roasting dish and massage all over with the rub.

Pour the can of beer into the roasing tin and cover with foil. Leave to marinate for an hour or so but make sure they’re back to room temperature before you start cooking.

Preheat your oven to 150C/130C fan, then put the roasting tin with the ribs in to bake for 2 hours. Leave to cool slightly.

Make the sauce by putting the mustard, honey, bourbon, cider vinegar and brown sugar into a saucepan over a medium heat and stir to melt the sugar. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat.

When you’re ready to eat, put the ribs onto a hot barbecue and allow to colour for a couple of minutes on each side. Use a pastry brush to glaze the ribs with the barbecue sauce and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. When the sugar starts to caramelise, brush them again and barbecue for another couple of minutes until thoroughly glazed.

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

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This is a nice simple marinade for chicken thighs, perfect for sunny evenings.

Wine Suggestion: A good match with a nice, dry Provençal rosé. Tonight, one Jono’s work has commissioned from Chateau Vignelaure, the “Ode to Joy Rosé”. The name is inspired by Beethoven’s famous symphony which was written to celebrate the end of war and desperation, but with the current pandemic dragging on and effecting all our lives also celebrating hope and better times ahead from this as well. We’ll happily celebrate this with this wine as it’s delicious and tastes of a joyful summer.

Herby lemon chicken thighs – serves 6

  • 12 boneless chicken thighs with the skin on
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 3 tbsp oregano leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Put the chicken thighs into a shallow dish, then add the olive oil, preserved lemon, garlic, herbs and lots of salt and pepper. Mix with your hands to coat then cover and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Take out of the fridge for 15 minutes before cooking.

Cook on a hot barbecue for 15-20 minutes or until cooked. Serve with the lemon wedges.

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

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We’re a bit nervous cooking chicken from raw on the barbecue but it’s fine so long as you take your time. You also need to cook the wings before you brush on the glaze. This is so they don’t burn on the outside before cooking all the way through.

Start a day ahead with the brine and you’ll have the perfect party dish for the barbecue. Oh, and you’ll need napkins.

Wine Suggestion: With such big, burly flavours on the glaze and in the spirit of a fun, messy dish we’d suggest a similar style of red wine to match. Zinfandel, Grenache or similar. Tonight Pikes Los Compañeros, a juicy, Shiraz-Tempranillo blend from the Clare Valley. Brambles and plums with a cool kick of spice on the finish. A new barbecue favourite.

BBQ Chicken Wings with Korean Glaze – serves 4-6

  • 20 large chicken wings, jointed in 2 (get your butcher to prep these for you)
  • 200g table salt
  • 2 litres of water
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • 80ml rice vinegar
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 50ml Sriracha hot sauce
  • 50ml tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp gochujang chilli paste
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 20g butter

FOR GARNISH:

  • 2-3 scallions (green parts only), shredded
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

To make the brine, put the salt into a large bowl, then add the water and whisk until the salt disolves. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns and chicken wings. Cover the bowl and leave overnight in the fridge.

When you’re ready to cook, remove the wings from the brine and pat dry with kitchen paper.

Make the glaze by putting all of the ingredients into a small pan and bringing to a simmer. Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes, then set aside until needed.

Put the chicken wings onto a hot barbecue and cook for 10-12 minutes or until browing on both sides. Now coat the chicken wings with the glaze using a pastry brush. Cook for another few minutes, turning, until slightly charred.

Put the chickin wings onto a large warm platter, then brush generously with extra glaze and rest for a minute before serving. Scatter over the shredded scallions and toasted sesame seeds and eat with your hands.

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

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Barbecued watermelon is a revelation for us as it really intensifies the flavour. This combination with prawns, feta and chilli is total winner! Serve as a starter at your next barbecue. Another fab idea from Chasing Smoke.

Wine Suggestion: This dish has a real affinity with a juicy, youthful Grenache, be it a Rosé or a lightly chilled red like tonight’s Rubus by Jesus Romero. Made at 1000m above sea-level in the rural, far south of Aragon, Spain this is all cherry, blackberry and spice; seriously gluggable.

Grilled watermelon and prawns with feta & chilli – serves 4

  • 12 whole prawns in the shells (buy 16 if they’re small)
  • 2 thick slices from a large watermelon
  • 1 red chilli, sliced into rings (if you cut of the stalk and rub the chilli between your hands the seeds will fall out)
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 250g feta
  • a small bunch of mint, leave half the leaves whole and chop the rest
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit extra for brushing
  • 1 tsp roughly crushed black pepper

Take a small pointy knife and cut and cut down the back of each prawn, when you see the digestive string gently pull it out with the tip of the knife. Leave the prawns in a bowl in the fridge until ready to cook.

Cut the watermelon into 8 large wedges, leaving the skin on.

Mix the chilli slices with the vinegar and salt and set aside.

Light your barbecue and get it up to a high heat.

Brush the watermelon with some olive oil, then put on the hottest part of the barbecue for 1-2 minutes on each side or until charred. Remove to a platter, then grill the prawns for a 2-3 minutes on each side, depending how big they are.

Add the prawns to the watermelon, crumble over the feta, then scatter with the mint leaves.

Stir the olive oil, black pepper and chopped mint into the marinating chilli and drizzle over the platter.

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

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This is pretty much a meal in a brioche bun, don’t skip anything as it all comes together perfectly.

Wine Suggestion: Given the weather and the dish we cracked open a Domaine of the Bee, Bee Pink Rosé from Roussillon. A blend of Grenache and Syrah this had the obligatory red fruit flavours we expected but the thing that made it work so well with the food was the wonderful texture and hints of thyme. An accidental but fortuitous match.

Barbecued Chicken with Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato & Avocado – serves 4

  • 8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

FOR THE MAYONNAISE:

  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes of hot sauce
  • 2 tsp mild American mustard
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper

TO SERVE:

  • 4 large brioche buns
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 little gem lettuces, leaves separated

Bash the chicken thighs between sheets of baking paper or cling film until about 1cm thick.

Put the chicken into a shallow dish with the garlic, rosemary and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss the chicken until coated in the herbs and oil.

Mix all of the mayonnaise ingredients together and sesason to taste.

Cook the chicken on a hot barbecue for a few minutes on each side. Add the bacon to the barbecue and cook until crispy, it will only take a couple of minutes. Once cooked, leave the chicken and bacon aside to rest.

Add the brioche buns to the barbecue and char briefly.

Peel and slice the avocados (don’t do this in advance or they will discolour).

Spread some mayo on the bottom half of each brioche bun and top with 2 chicken thighs. Add layers of tomato, bacon, avocado and lettuce, then spread the top half of the buns with the rest of the mayonnaise, sandwich together and serve.

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

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These are super tasty, especially with the quick pickled onions and some naan breads from the takeaway.

Wine Suggestion: Cline Cellar’s Sonoma Coast Viognier; a wonderfully fresh, stonefruit flavoured wine with a soft acidity. Rich and flavoursome to match the flavour depth of salmon and spices. This is dry with low residual sugar levels, however it has juicy, fruit flavours carrying the chilli and paprika well and complementing the ginger and lime.

Tandoori Fish Skewers – serves 8 (easily halved)

  • 8 salmon fillets, skin removed (about 125g each)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 2.5 cm piece of ginger, grated
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • veg oil for brushing

FOR THE QUICK PICKLED RED ONIONS:

  • 2 small red onions
  • 125ml water
  • 125ml white white vinegar
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar

TO SERVE:

  • warm naan breads
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 long green chilli, finely sliced
  • lime halves
  • sweet chilli sauce

You can start the pickled onions about an hour ahead. Slice them finely and put into a bowl.

Put the water, wine vinegar, fennel and cumin seeds, salt and sugar into a small pan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour this hot liquid over the onions and leave to cool, then cover the bowl and leave in the firdge.

Cut the salmon fillets into large chunks. Put into a bowl with the garlic, ginger and lime juice and mix well.

Put the yoghurt into a bowl, then mix in the spices and some seasoning. Add the spiced yoghurt to the salmon and mix gently, then leave to marinate in a cool place for about 20 minutes.

Thread the salmon onto skewers, brush the barbecue witha little veg oil, then cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly charred.

Serve the skewers on warm naan breads with pickled red onions, coriander and green chilli sprinkled over. Serve with some lime for squeezing over and sweet chilli sauce (we served with our hot pepper jam).

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

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This recipe is from Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich. They have memories of cooking potatoes in bonfires as children and how delicious they tasted. They really are delicious and if you’ve made the effort to light your barbecue you may as well throw a few potatoes in the embers too.

Baked potatoes with charred spring onion sour cream – serves 4

  • 4 baking potatoes, about 250g each

FOR THE SOUR CREAM DRESSING:

  • 8-10 scallions
  • 300g sour cream
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp flaky sea salt
  • black pepper
  • zest and juice of half a lemon

Wrap each potato in tin foil and place in the embers of your barbecue or campfire. Leave there for about 45 minutes or until a metal skewer goes in easily, turn them over a couple of times as they cook.

Meanwhile, char half the scallions on the grill for a few minutes on each side or until charred. Remove from the heat and finely chop.

Finely slice the green parts of the remaining scallions and set aside to sprinkle over at the end. Cut the remaining white parts into small pieces and stir into the sour cream along with the charred scalllions and the rest of the ingredients.

Remove the cooked potatoes from the fire and remove the foil. Cut each one down the middle and sprinkle with the flaky sea salt and fill with the sour cream mixture. Spinkle over the green scallions and some black pepper before serving.

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

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For our wedding anniversary this year we barbecued a whole rib of beef on the bone: consider it a super-rib eye steak. With the bone attached this is much harder to do completely on the barbecue (but not impossible). There is also an easier way if you finish the steak in the oven, which helps to to control the doneness while still getting the lovely barbecue char and flavours.

Wine Suggestion: Given the occasion we opened a bottle of Domaine de Chevalier Rouge 2009 from Pessac Leognan. A great vintage with fleshy fruit that at 12 years of age was singing very expressively. Super elegant and refined fruits, perfumed with that slight pencil edge that characterises the appellation and silky tannins that were both powerful and gentle in equal measure. Definitely powerful enough to stand next to the robust steak and then elevate the sum to another level. Well worth cellaring.

Rib of beef with wild mushroom butter – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g mixed wild mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp Madeira
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 1 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ tsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp white truffle oil (optional)
  • 100g butter, diced and softened
  • 1 rib of beef on the bone

First, make the butter. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the mushrooms with the shallots and garlic. Cook gently for 5 minutes or until cooked through but not coloured.

Add the Madeira, cream and herbs to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste and stir in the truffle oil if using. Leave to cool completely.

Put the butter and cooled mushroom mixture into a food processor and purée until smooth. Scrape out onto a piece of non-stick baking paper, then roll into a cylinder, twisting the ends to secure. Chill for at least 2 hours, until hardened.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.

Take your steak out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes to come up to room temperature. Season at this stage too.

Cook over the direct heat on your barbecue for 8-10 minutes, turning to make sure all sides are well browned with a little charring.

Place the barbecued steak onto a preheated ovenproof pan, and put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes and until done to your liking.

We used a meat thermometer to judge doneness and removed the steak at 55C. While we like our steaks on the rare side we find that medium-rare to medium works best when cooking a rib on the bone. This ensures all the juicy fats are rendered properly. If you’d like it a little rarer cook to 52C. Remember that the steak keeps on cooking while resting too.

When your steak is cooked to your liking, remove it from the oven and sit it on a rack set over a tray. Cut the butter into slices and arrange on top of the steak. Set aside to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving the steak from the bone and slicing. Serve with the buttery mushrooms spooned over.

(Original recipe from Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook, Gill Books, 2016.)

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We served this with sticky rice and some quick cucumber kimchi but it would also work perfectly as a starter.  If you want to serve to start a meal, just slice the chicken thighs when they’re cooked and serve in lettuce leaves with some kimchi.

Wine Suggestion: this goes great with lighter red wines with high acidity but lower tannins. A youthful Chianti with lower extraction, like the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo which was our choice tonight. Made for youthful consumption as opposed to some of their more serious Chianti Classico’s this was a delight.

Korean Spice-Rubbed Chicken for the BBQ – serves 4

  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets (if they are tiny just get some extra)
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp gochugaru (Korean chilli powder)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 60ml sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Make the marinade by whisking the ingredients together in a large bowl.

Add the chicken to the marinade and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Combine the brown sugar, gochugaru, salt, pepper and sesame seeds in a bowl. Drain the chicken well and pat dry with paper towels, then rub the dry spice mix evenly over the chicken.

Heat a barbecue and cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. If you don’t want to barbecue you can heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan and cook them on the hob.

Rest in a warm place for 5 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking, Murdoch Books, 2016)

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