Right folks, the sun’s out, the thermometer is rising and it’s right on time for BBQ season! Woohoo!
I’ve selected some fabulous recipes to make your barbecue a memorable one: yummy tahini chicken skewers, fingerlicking Southern US BBQ ribs, refreshing cucumber fennel salad with mint and feta and a nicely filling pesto pasta salad.
So, no need to linger here and read my blah-di-blah, go on, get out and throw the grill on!
Just one note on throwing on the said grill: if you’re like me and have never ever been left to your own devices when it came to grilling, here are some handy tips (which I tested myself, nice, right?!).
Make sure you have enough charcoal and firestarters before you start grilling.
You need to throw on the grill around one hour before actually grilling. So leave plenty of time (in case the coals don’t catch fire immediately) and get some nice apéritifs in case your guests will have to wait.
Right, now to starting your grill. Cover the base with charcoals. Light a firestarter, put it on top of the charcoal and cover with more charcoal, creating a little tower, so that the entire firestarter is covered. Repeat with a second firestarter next to the first mount (and maybe repeat one more time if you have a big barbecue).
As soon as you’ve built your mounts, cover the grill and leave the firestarters work their magic for 25 minutes. In theory they should burn out, and meanwhile have light the charcoal, which will start glowing. Well, this doesn’t always happen (in my case I needed 5 attempts!), but I realized that if you leave the cover on the barbecue for at least 20 minutes after building your mount (peaking in a couple of times to make sure it’s actually catching fire), it does work. Really! It eventually will! Don’t be tempted to run out and get a man to help! We can do this girls! We can be the grillmasters of this universe! Powerrrrr!
Sesame Chicken Skewers
800g chicken thighs, deboned
2 garlic cloves
5cm piece of ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp tahini (or if you can’t get that, peanut butter)
2 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp sesame seeds
Cut the chicken thighs into cubes.
Prepare the marinade: peel the garlic cloves and crush them (or finely chop them). Peel the ginger and finely grate. Put both into a bowl and add the lime juice and soy sauce.
Pour a quarter of the marinade into a smaller bowl and set aside.
Use the remaining marinade and cover the chicken cubes with it. Cover and leave to marinade for at least 4 hours in the fridge (best is overnight).
Once the chicken has marinated, stick the chicken cubes onto 4 chicken skewers and put on the hot barbecue. Grill for 10 minutes while regularly turning. Meanwhile add the tahini and runny honey to the marinade you’ve set aside earlier.
Once the chicken has cooked through, brush the chicken skewers with the tahini marinade, sprinkle some sesame seeds over them and keep grilling for a few more minutes while brushing more marinade onto them so that you get a sticky glaze. Enjoy.
US BBQ Ribs
1.2 kg pork ribs
6 garlic cloves
4 tbsp herbes de provençe
2 tbsp tomato paste
120ml white wine
8 tbsp ketchup
4 tbsp HP BBQ sauce (preferably woodsmoke flavour)
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp maggi seasoning sauce
Cook the ribs for 40 minutes in simmering water. Remove from the water and let the ribs cool down.
Prepare the marinade: peel and finely chop the onions and put into a bowl. Peel and crush the garlic cloves and add them to the onions. Add all the other ingredients to the marinade, mix well. Set one quarter of the marinade aside, and add the rest to the ribs. Cover the ribs in clingfilm and refridgerate for at least 12 hours or overnight.
Grill the ribs on a hot BBQ until they acquire a caramel colour. Before serving, brush with the remaining marinade.
Cucumber Fennel Salad with Mint and Feta
Serves 4 as a side
1 fennel bulb
4 handful broad beans
3 spring onions
1 bunch fresh mint
100ml olive oil
salt and pepper
Peel the cucumber. Cut open lengthwise and remove the watery pips in the middle. Cut the halved cucumber into thin slices.
Wash the fennel, cut in half and cut into thin slices.
Cook the broad beans, let them cool down (you can shell them if you don’t like the shells).
Wash the spring onions and cut into thin slices.
Arrange all the vegetables on a large plate. Crumble feta over it.
Chop the mint and scatter over the salad, then pour lemon juice and olive oil over the salad and season with salt and pepper.
Pesto Pasta Salad
Serves 4 as a side
600g orzo pasta (or any other small-shaped pasta shells)
1 tub of high quality pesto
20 cherry tomatoes
20 green olives
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain and add a glug of olive oil to the pasta so that it doesn’t stick. Let the pasta cool down.
Once cooles, add the pesto to the pasta. Wash the cherry tomatoes, halve them and add to the pasta. Halve the olives, dry-roast the pine nuts and add to the pasta salad. So darn simple, but still so good!