“More recipes!”, I hear you cry? Why, sure. This is something that I’ve been doing for a long time, which works just as well in an oven. I actually poached a similar recipe from Jez some nine or so years ago, and made it my own (thanks Jez).
The idea is that you put some cherry tomatoes (or mushrooms) in a tight little foil bag, and steam the whole thing on the barbecue with some garlic. It’s bloody good, I’ll tell you.
For Garlic Tomatoes
For Garlic Mushrooms
A pack/punnet of cherry tomatoes. Grape tomatoes, etc. would work too.
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp black pepper
5-6 basil leaves, fresh and chopped
A good glug of virgin olive oil
Five to six medium-sized white mushrooms. These are just the common sort you can find in supermarkets, farm shops, etc. Use whatever mushrooms you prefer, but slice them to about 1/2cm thick.
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp black pepper
Half a red onion chopped finely
A good glug of virgin olive oil
This couldn’t really be much simpler. But first, you need to make a foil bag. You’ll need about a metre of aluminium kitchen foil. Fold it in half (vertically) and then in half again. Now, with the open edges, fold in about a centimetre each side, twice. You should end up with an open bag/pouch that is 2-ply.
Okay, so that was hard to describe. Put your ingredients of choice in – all of them, then seal the open end of the bag in the same way as the sides. Shake gently. Put on a warm part of the barbecue (best not the searing hot part) and leave for 20 minutes or so. The tomatoes (/mushrooms) will have taken on a lovely flavour, and should have released a lot of juice, with broken skin, if they’re done.
P.S.: you can equally do this in a conventional oven – just make the bag in the same way, and cook at 180 celsius for about 20 minutes. The tomatoes go really well with chicken, fish and pork. Yum.
It’s time for The Bearded Barbecuer’s first ever guest post (hopefully not the last), from my good chum Jez who runs a blog over at eRambler.co.uk. Go read! After reading this recipe, of course. Over to Jez!
Inspired by Matt’s MattBurgers™ of a few days ago, I had a bash at creating my own version, with some tomato puree and celery leaves, and a pinch of cayenne to liven it up.
By the way, Matt asked me to provide a photo for this post but, erm, we ate the burgers too quickly. But I have got a photo of the empty plate for you. Was it a good recipe? Draw your own conclusions… Note from Matt: fail! Imagine for yourselves!
450g beef mince (yes, I mean 1lb)
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp celery leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
Generous shake of cayenne pepper (or more or less, if you like)
Generous splash of Henderson’s Relish (or Worcester Sauce if you’re a namby-pamby southerner) (Note from Matt: He says this, but he lives near to Bath)
Mix everything except the mince to a rough paste on a chopping board or in a bowl. Mix it all into the mince. Make into 4 generous burgers or 6-8 stingy burgers, and cook until done (hmm, I didn’t time them, but I grilled them on high until nicely browned on each side, turning once).
I preferred mine with some nice mature cheddar melted on top. You might say that the saltiness of the cheese worked well with the sweetness of the tomato puree. Or maybe I just like cheese.
So there you have it: JezBurgers. Try creating your own and naming them after yourself: eponymous food is fun!
So there you go! First guest post done. Like the burgers? Let us know in the comments. Got your own recipe you’d like to contribute? Let me know and I’ll put it up!
Ooh, it’s barbecue seven. April 24, on a sunny but slightly cloudy evening. We’re getting better at this “spur of the moment” thing.
It had been a rather glorious day, but was starting to cloud over.
Otherwise no complaints – lit with no issue although we really are craving one of those Charcoal Chimneys – instant charcoal is getting pricey and hard to find (donations are welcome).
We’d already made a rather good salad the night before, and I’d made up some of my extremely tasty (if I do say so) Guacamole. There were some fairly run-of-the-mill lamb and mint burgers in the fridge (really should have made some), and what barbecue is complete without chicken legs?
I always find that chicken (thick chicken, anyway) is a pain on the barbecue. It cooks on the outside before being fully cooked on the inside, unless you cook it slowly, or do what I do, and pre-parcook it. We had two chicken leg/thigh joints, which I brushed with some terrifyingly good tandoori sauce and cooked at 180c for about 20 minutes. This means they’re nearly done, and need another ten minutes or so on the barbecue, turning once. Really rather good with guacamole and perhaps some sour cream or yoghurt.
The burgers were uneventful. Along with those, we’re getting rather fond of those pork rib steaks – juicy and tender. Yum.
I’ve seen a lot of guacamole recipes. I’ve bought a lot of guacamole, and the shop stuff pretty much universally sucks. Too much like wallpaper paste, not enough lime, unripe avocado… I don’t know. But for whatever reason, if you don’t like guacamole, you should try this and be converted. Whenever I make this for other people, they love it.
more expensive (but supermarkets tend to reduce them at the time when they’re perfectly ripe – sneaky… heh heh) than the paler green avocados in some shops now (see right). They’re just the best for guacamole – they ripen well, and they have good flavour. The avocados should have give in them if you press the outside. Hard avocados do not make good guacamole.
The flesh of One medium-sized tomato. Take the skin off if you want; I don’t bother.
Half a red onion, finely chopped
One or two cloves of garlic, crushed using 1tsp rock salt. Alter to taste.
The juice of one lime
A good handful of coriander (cilantro), chopped roughly
Actually making this stuff is child’s play. Take your ripe avocados, cut them vertically in half, around the stone. Carefully use your knife to take out the stone in the middle. Use a soup spoon/desert spoon to scoop out the flesh. If the avocado is ripe enough, this will be easy to do in one go, by getting the spoon in between the flesh and the tough skin.
Put all of the avocado into a shallow bowl, and, using a fork, mash it quite roughly. Squeeze about half of the lime juice over, and mix (it prevents the avocado discolouring).
Now, add your chopped tomato, onion, crushed garlic, cumin and coriander. Mix well, and taste. Add salt or pepper to your taste, and more lime juice if necessary. Garnish with a sprig of coriander, and you’re done! Almost too easy to be a recipe, eh?
We’re big fans of barbecued fish. Trout, salmon, sea bass… they’re all good. Salmon is a fish that can stand up to a lot of flavour, and can really benefit from it.
Two salmon fillet steaks, about 120g each
Some kitchen foil, greased with oil
1/2tsp salt, 1/4tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2tsp each of ground cumin, mustard seeds, coriander, medium curry powder and nigella (black onion) seeds. You could use any curry spice you like here – chilli powder for a little extra heat, a good garam masala would work well.
Not much to this one – sprinkle the spices over each salmon fillet, with the salt and pepper. Chill for a couple of hours, to let the flavours combine.
On the barbecue, either use a dedicated fish holder, or put the salmon on top of greased foil. This is to stop the fish sticking to your barbecue, and won’t affect the flavour at all. Cooking takes around 7 minutes. And if you don’t like the spices (as Gem doesn’t), just leave them out and cook the same way! Try it – delicious.
Anyway, our sixth barbecue was well underway. This one was just Gem and I (and of course, Rosie). As with many of our barbecues, it was somewhat impromptu.
Sunny, for a change! Cool evening.
One of our favourite things to cook on the barbecue is rump steak. In this case we went for sirloin, but I’d recommend rump – much juicier, and tender if not overcooked (note that the picture on the right does not represent cooked meat. Don’t try that at home).
Apart from a couple of sausages, we went for some salmon, which we keep having, because it’s so good on the barbecue. Gem isn’t a fan of spicy food, but I am, so I gave mine a rather nice curry-spice seasoning.
Served with a dressed salad, and some houmous. If there’s demand, I’ll post a houmous recipe which is really good. Comment if you wish!
Our fifth barbecue was the first with our friends, James, Alison, Ad (pictured, looking suave), Jay and Ross. I’m sure you’re
thinking “who cares? Move onto the food!”. Okay then.
Sunny. I’m almost getting bored of saying ‘sunny’. Soon it will be ‘thunderstorm’, I’m sure. Anyway, it was evening, and still quite warm.
We had some of the usual standard fare… rather nice chilli sausages (see right) plus tasty MattBurgers. They always go down well, they’re really cheap to prepare, and they’re full of much better stuff than some burgers you can buy.
On top of all of that, pork rib steaks (seasoned with rosemary, salt and pepper), garlic mushrooms on the barbecue (recipe soon…), and some really, really good sea bass. Done in the same way as the trout mentioned in Barbecues 1-4, it had a lovely, mild, trout-like flavour. Well recommended. (Sorry there are no pictures of that; I guess my mind was on something else).
Due to the lack of existence of this blog during barbecues 1-4, here’s a synopsis of the first four barbecues. You’ll just have to take my word for it that they happened. For each of the posts on the way to 30 barbecues, I’ll give a short description of what we had, the weather, and such. If you’d like to see something else, let me know. Recipes will appear in the Recipes section, and I’ll link to them from here. So here ya go:
Barbecue the 1st: April 8
The first barbecue of the year! We’d not long got back from Michigan, so were still a little jetlagged.
Sunny! Evening, no rain, it’s all good. Oh and a little windy. Sometimes an issue, but not today.
See the image! We cooked a couple of Kebabs (though these were with turkey – similar recipe, similar time to cook), a beefburger (not a MattBurger yet, sorry) and two rump steaks, simply prepared with a brush of oil, and some salt and pepper. For medium rare, these take 4 minutes or so per side.
With barbecue one complete, we resolved our target: thirty by the end of September. It’s on.
Barbecue the 2nd: April 10
Only two days after, we were at the grill again, this time with Gemma’s mum and sister.
Scorchingly hot, dry, low wind. Good barbecuing conditions. Evening time, so it was starting to cool.
This time we did a little of the regular fare – some shop-bought, organic sausages and some burgers. My general feeling on sausages is that they should be at least 70% meat or more. You need some fat in there, because it helps the barbecue to continue cooking, and adds a lovely smokiness to the overall flavour (if you’ve had any good sausage experiences [ahem], drop me a comment).
The burgers were standard supermarket good quarter pounders. I’d usually go with MattBurgers, but it wasn’t worth the impromptu effort.
The other meat was Rainbow Trout – if you haven’t tried this on a barbecue, I recommend you do. Put it on some oiled foil to prevent it sticking to the bars, and season it. Takes about 5 minutes.
I also quite like to do vegetables on the barbecue. My favourite is garlic tomatoes (recipe coming soon), but we had garlic mushrooms too. Yum. First family barbecue of the year = a success.
Barbecue the 3rd: April 11
Hot off the trail of the second barbecue, we were onto our third. It was a Sunday
There’s a separate recipe for it so I won’t go into much detail here, but we only cooked the chicken, and had it with a simple salad, dressed with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. If you haven’t tried barbecue-roasted chicken, do it now!
Barbecue the 4th: April 16
Ah, the last of this post. Here we experimented with a couple of meats: pork rib steaks and salmon.
Sunny, cool evening.
The salmon was done in the same way as the trout – on top of some oiled foil, and seasoned. Because it’s thicker it takes a little longer – 7-8 minutes.
We also tried pork rib steaks. These don’t look that appetising when you buy them – they’re not expensive, and have fat running through them. But that makes them ridiculously juicy and tender when cooked. I seasoned the steaks on both sides with salt, pepper and chopped rosemary, and a brush of oil. Seriously, seriously good.
That’s all for now, but as I write this (while sitting in the garden in the sun, tempted to barbecue again), we’ve actually already done barbecues 5 and 6. They’ll be posted soon.
If you get yourself a good barbecue, you can cook a lot more than burgers. In fact, you can even roast a chicken. Ya see, normally with a barbecue, you have your coals directly under where you cook. With an open barbecue, this is pretty much your only option – the heat comes from below, and you turn the food.
If you buy a good closable barbecue, you can cook indirectly – i.e., your food isn’t in direct contact with the searing heat from the coals. The way to do this (summarised here) is to get the coals ready (the normal light -> wait half an hour thing) then move them to either side of the barbecue, leaving a gap in the middle. Put a tray in the middle to catch the drips, then put whatever you’re cooking on top, and leave the lid on. The barbecue then works like a conventional oven (mine was up to 230c), which is great for roasting meat.
Anyway, on with the show.
One good barbecue, prepared as above
A medium free-range chicken
A can of lager (go with me on this), or
Half a lemon, cut into wedges, A few cloves of garlic, and a bunch of thyme
1tsp salt, 1/2tsp freshly ground pepper
1tbsp non-virgin olive oil
See the “can of lager” thing above? Ah, well that’s for beer can chicken . The idea is that you pour away half the can, cut the can to about half height, stuff it into the (upright) chicken, and then just put the
chicken on the grill. This gives a lovely moist, malty-tasting chicken (it doesn’t taste of beer). However, it didn’t fit in the grill for me. Oh well. An alternative is to season the bird using oil, salt and pepper, then pour the beer into the tray underneath – it evaporates and flavours the chicken. Trust me, it’s really nice.
For the example in the picture, though, I used the second method. Quite simply, put the sliced lemon into the cavity of the bird, with the thyme and the garlic (crush the cloves lightly, but don’t peel or chop them). Rub the oil over the outside, then sprinkle the salt and pepper over.
You’re ready to cook. Put the chicken above the drip-tray on the barbecue, put the lid on (vents open), and leave it to do its thing. This took about 1 1/2 hours for me with a chicken just over 1kg. But always check if your chicken is cooked – the juices should run clear if you stick a skewer in the thickest part (between thigh and breast).
Before you eat, rest your meat! Put it on a warm plate, cover with foil and leave for 20 minutes or so. This makes it juicier. Enjoy.
What you do to change this recipe is really up to you. I find it works really well with the ingredients I use, but if you don’t like one of them, swap it for something else.
Makes four large kebabs
1x250g pack lamb neck fillet. I find this cut works really well, and it’s also cheaper than buying lamb cubes. But if you’re feeling flushed, then get the expensive stuff!
3tbsp olive oil
1tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1tsp fresh rosemary, chopped. You could also use mint (probably more authentic) – mine just isn’t growing yet.
Half a mild red chilli, finely chopped
Zest of a whole lemon, and juice of half of it
One clove of garlic, crushed
1/2tsp salt, 1/4tsp freshly ground black pepper
Kebab veg of your choice. In this case I’ve gone for cherry tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, onion and mushrooms. Peppers work very well, courgette does too. If you want to spend more, go for Greek Halloumi – it’s a Cypriot cheese that doesn’t melt on the grill. Really, really good on the barbecue. Otherwise, swap ingredients with whatever you prefer.
First, prepare the lamb. It needs to marinade, preferably for 5-6 hours at least. Neck fillet can be a little tough, and the lemon juice in the marinade actually helps to tenderise the meat a little. So, combine the oil with the lemon zest and juice, all of the herbs, cumin, garlic, chilli, salt and pepper. Mix well, then cut your lamb up. Aim to get about twelve pieces – see the picture for a rough guide to size.
Mix the lamb well with the marinade, then cover it with cling film and put it in the fridge. Go to work, or whatever.
Back from work and hungry? Great. The next bit is simple – take your lamb out of the fridge about half an hour before you want to cook it, to let it acclimatise. While it’s doing that, soak four bamboo kebab skewers in cold water (this stops them burning on the grill).
Chop your veg. Everything should be roughly equal size – about an inch cubed. Veg that requires more cooking should be cut smaller, for obvious reasons. You’re finally ready to thread everything onto the skewers – thread the lamb and veg on, in whatever order you prefer. Go for three pieces of lamb per skewer.
When you’re done, use a pastry brush to brush the left over marinade over the veg and lamb. Now go cook on the barbecue! These guys don’t need very long – probably 6-7 minutes, turning once or twice. Serve with a nice cous-cous salad, like the one in the picture. Enjoy.