Category Archives: bbq

Sticky Asian ‘beer can’ chicken (Serves: 4/6 – Preparation: 1hr)

At home my barbecue is starting to come into its own as it is now being used regularly at the weekends rather than gathering leaves in the corner of the garden.  ‘Beer can chicken’ is something that I cook fairly regularly on the barbecue as it is very easy and keeps the meat moist and succulent.  The only difficulty with this recipe is getting the chicken on and off the barbecue – I would strongly recommend that you have a couple of decent pairs of tongs to hand when you do this…

You can make this recipe in the oven if you don’t have a barbecue, however you won’t get the delicious smoky flavour.  If you are going to use the oven instead then cook at 180°C for 1hr 20 minutes or until the juices run clear.  Don’t forget to stand the chicken on a roasting tray if you do cook it this way otherwise you will have one messy oven to deal with afterwards.

This recipe is definitely worth a go if you are having friends over this weekend, just serve with some barbecued veggies or a couple of big salads. Enjoy!

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Lamb burgers served with hummus (Serves : 6 – Preparation time: 20 minutes)

I visited Jordan a few months ago and have been hugely influenced by the food that I ate whilst I was out there.  The style of eating is typically mezze with lots of little plates not dissimilar to tapas, which are often served with delicious salads that are dressed with pomegranate molasses and olive oil which both tantalises the palate and is refreshing all at once.  I would highly recommend trying to get your hands on some pomegranate molasses if you can to give it a try, the flavour is both sharp and sweet – which really enhances any salad, especially if you also add a few pomegranate seeds, chopped coriander and crumble over some feta.

The lamb burger recipe below is the perfect accompaniment to this type of salad.  The burger has quite a delicate flavour with just a hint of mint.  The recipe below can easily stretch to 6 burgers or will make 4 large burgers.  They are a great option for a barbecue, or if the weather isn’t playing ball work just as well in a griddle pan and on the plus side they are very quick to make.

I would recommend serving these burgers with hummus (see below for a quick and easy recipe that takes no more than a couple of minutes to prepare), a few toasted pittas and a salad.  Enjoy!

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Asian salmon salad (serves: 2 – cooking time: 15 mins)

I think it is fair to say that summer is on its way and about time too!  I am pleased to report that I am writing this blog from the comfort of my garden table with my new puppy ‘Oscar’ dozing at my feet…  Bliss!

Last weekend, with the weather being so glorious, there was a definite need for fresh and healthy food.  I really enjoy Asian style salads as they are fragrant and crunchy.   I often vary how I serve the salmon when I cook it in this way, for example if I am looking to eat something more substantial then I replace the salad with egg noodles and serve with pak choi  or  I add it to a stir fry using the juices of from the fish to form the sauce.

This recipe is good irrespective of whether you serve it hot or cold and takes very little time to prepare.  If you are looking for a recipe that can be made in advance to be served at a summer lunch party then this is a great little option.  Or if you are having a barbecue and are looking to cater for the non meat-eaters – again this recipe comes into its own as the salmon is cooked in tin foil and can be cooked alongside the meat (just remember that the cooking time will vary depending on the heat of your barbecue).  Enjoy.

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Prawns and steamed samphire

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I am back in France at the moment at my parent’s house and it is bliss, not only has the weather been magnificent but a lot of fruit and vegetables are in season at the moment which means every meal has been a delight!  I think lunchtime is my favourite meal as it always starts off with a little melon served with some of our home reared cured ham, followed by a huge salad a cheese board that is to be envied and to finish apricots picked straight from the tree. Food does not get much better than that!

As it is the perfect weather for a BBQ yesterday morning I headed to the market to see what I could find to cook for supper.  I ended up coming back with various bits and bobs but the two things that I was most pleased about were the prawns and samphire which I was going to use to make a very simple starter. For those of you who have not come across samphire before it is a sea vegetable that grows abundantly on shorelines.  It has a crisp texture and a delicate salty yet slightly buttery flavour which means it works beautifully with seafood.

The idea of this starter is to let the prawns and the samphire do all the talking and to keep it very simple.  Provided your BBQ is hot and ready to cook on this starter takes roughly 10 minutes to make and there is really nothing to it all you need is a few skewers and a little tin foil.

BBQ prawns with steamed samphire (serves 3)

Ingredients:

350g raw prawns
150g samphire
a knob of butter
3 wedges of lemon (to serve)

Steps:

(1) Wash the samphire and then place on a sheet of tin foil with the butter, create a parcel out of the tin foil and set to one side until you are ready to place it on the BBQ.

(2) Wash your prawns then place them on to a wooden skewer (2-3 prawns on each skewer).  Note: always soak wooden skewers in water for about an hour to stop them burning when you place them on the BBQ.

(3) Once your BBQ is hot enough to cook on, place your tin foil parcel on the BBQ and let it cook for 5 minutes before you place the prawn skewers on the BBQ, cook on each side for about 3 minutes or until the prawns have turned pink.

(4)  As soon as your prawns are cooked, serve the prawns and samphire with a wedge of lemon.  Enjoy!

Chilli beef burgers

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A few years ago I dropped in on Jones and her parents in Shropshire and I was treated to Papa Jones’ chilli beef burgers and they were pretty special.  Last week I thought I would see if I could recreate them, given that we had an abundance of burger buns in the freezer.

Making burgers is incredibly straight forward and can be made and cooked within 15 minutes, so a perfect option if you are looking for a simple supper.  You can ‘jazz up’ your burger by adding Stilton and tomato relish which is my preference, or you could go for a combination of, cheese slices, fresh tomato, bacon, mustard, lettuce, etc. The options are endless…

With BBQ season coming up quick and fast these burgers are a great option and can be made up well in advance and will keep in the fridge if covered in cling film for a couple of days.   This is definitely a recipe to try.  Enjoy!

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Chili Beef Burgers (makes 6)

Ingredients :

  • 400g minced beef
  • ½ red onion (diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (diced)
  • 1 birds eye chilli (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 egg
  • seasoning

Steps :

  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together well (it is much better done with your hands).
  2. Shape the mixture into 6 equal sized balls.
  3. Heat a little oil in a heavy based frying pan.  Place the meat balls in the pan, using either your hand or a spatula to flatten out your burgers, till they are roughly ¾ of an inch thick.
  4. Cook your burgers for roughly 3-5 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve, in a burger bun with a side salad.

Tip:  If you are going to serve your burger with cheese, just before removing the burger from the pan place the cheese on top of your burgers so that it melts slightly.

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BBQ marinades and recipes

It is so hot outside – the heat-wave is well and truly here!  Right now I think it is about 41C outside, subsequently, having a BBQ for lunch was really the only option.   All the family are here this week, which means big quantities of food are needed.  Having raided the deep-freeze last night for various types of meat, this morning all I had to do was make some marinades.  Deciding what marinade for the chicken would be was a no-brainer – honey and mustard is a classic marinade we have used on chicken legs for years, because the honey caramelises so nicely on a BBQ.  The more important question was what to marinade the spare ribs in?  I woke up this morning thinking some sort of Chinese plum sauce might be nice, but unfortunately we didn’t have any already made up, so I decided to try and make it.  The result was a sticky plum sauce that worked really nicely.   To balance out the vast quantity of meat I decided that vegetable skewers might not be a bad idea.  Aside from the plum sauce that took about an hour to make (but now that’s done I have 7 big jars of the stuff ready for use later in the year) the rest of the preparation for the BBQ took no time at all.

I am pleased to say that there was hardly any scraps left over from the BBQ other than a few bits of salad, so all in all a job well done by all members of the family.

ImageChinese Plum Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3kg of plums – stoned and halved (I used Prune d’Agen)
  • 4 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 900g white sugar
  • 300ml cider vinegar
  • 200ml soya sauce
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp pepper
  • 2” fresh ginger – peeled and grated
  • ½tsp cloves – crushed into a powder
  • 2 small dried chillies – chopped finely

Steps:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a large sauce pan and mix well together, place on a medium heat and bring up to the boil.
  2. Leave on a rolling boil for roughly 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the fruit catching on the bottom of the pan.
  3. After boiling for 40 minutes – remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before blending the mixture with either a handheld blender or a liquidizer.
  4. Place back in the pan and bring back up to the boil.
  5. Leave the sauce to boil for roughly 5 minutes before placing in sterilized jars.

ImageSpare Ribs in Chinese Plum Sauce (fed 8 people very well / if a little too well)

Ingredients:

  • 2kg Spare ribs
  • 400ml Chinese plum sauce

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C fan.
  2. Place ribs on an oven tray and pour over half the plum sauce, making sure that each rib has got the sauce on each side.
  3. Cover with tin-foil and place in the oven for 40 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and set to one side until your BBQ is hot.
  5. Once your BBQ is ready, place the ribs meat side down and place some of the remaining sauce on the back of the ribs, let the ribs cook for about 3-4 minutes or until nicely caramelised, then turn over and do the same again.
  6. Just before you are ready to serve turn the ribs one last time and cook for just a minute.

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Chicken in Honey and Mustard

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 Chicken legs
  • 3tbsp runny honey
  • 3tbsp whole grain mustard

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 190C.
  2. Mix together the honey and mustard in a bowl.
  3. Place the chicken on an oven proof dish and pour over the mixture, making sure that all of the legs are coated.
  4. Cover with tin foil and place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Remove the tin foil and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked or the juices run clear.
  6. Once your BBQ is hot place the chicken legs on the BBQ for 4-5 minutes on both sides to give it that nice BBQ flavour.

ImageVegetable Skewers

Ingredients:

  • 1 Aubergine
  • 1 ½ Red Peppers
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 4 Courgettes
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 tsp dried coriander leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper for seasoning

Steps:

  1. Cut all the vegetables into bit sized chunks and place in a large dish.
  2. Squeeze over the juice of the lemon, scatter over the coriander leaves and garlic and finally pour over the olive oil.  Mix everything together well and then make up your skewers ordering the vegetables as you please.
  3. Once your BBQ is hot place on your skewers, turning them regularly so that they don’t burn and cook for roughly 15 minutes.