Onward! We’re rather running out of time now – half a month to go, and seven barbecues to do. “Mid-September”… that’s a range of dates, right? 😉
Ominously cloudy! Luckily the rain mostly stayed off (a few spats, but hey) and the barbecue was a success (isn’t it always?).
It’s new recipe time! As usual, we went with the standard things – burgers and sausages. These sausages were Gem’s “I’ll only eat these ones” type: pancetta and parmesan. I must say, they’re great.
Anyway, the main event was stuffed chicken breast – in this case, Bacon-Wrapped Roquefort Chicken. I’m a big fan of blue cheese, but if you’re not, manchego, cheddar, or mozzarella would work equally well. With a little care to prevent cheese leakage, the chicken was awesome.
I promised a while ago that I’d follow up on a recipe inspiration I had for minced lamb kebabs. They’re a little more traditional, and if you’re a fan of meat (you might have guessed that I am), you’re in for a good time.
One 500g pack of minced lamb
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2tsp each of fresh thyme and oregano, finely chopped
2tbsp fresh garden mint, finely chopped
2tsp rock salt, 1tsp black pepper
Combine all of the ingredients, at first with a fork and then using your hands (go on, get in there). Now, grab some skewers. This is the difficult part. It’s probably a good idea to soak your skewers for an hour before cooking (otherwise they’ll burn on the grill). You’ll probably get five kebabs out of the meat you’ve got, so divide the mixture. With each fifth, shape around the skewer into a sausage shape. Don’t make them too thick, and try to keep the thickness even throughout the kebab:
(The sticks are at the top of the picture). Go get those babies on the grill! They need to be turned at least twice so that each side is browned. Seriously delicious, and great with tzatziki.
It’s quite hard to find a good combination of ingredients for an authentic Chinese flavour. I’ve been messing with this one for a while and I’m quite happy with it, but if you’ve got any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
One pack of free-range chicken thighs and legs
3tbsp light soy sauce
2tbsp dark soy sauce or tamari soy sauce
1tbsp Chinese rice wine or cooking wine
Two star anise, crumbled
2tsp five spice powder
2tbsp oyster sauce
Ground black pepper, to taste
If the quantities above seem a lot, don’t fret – it’s a marinade. Combine everything except the chicken. Put the chicken in a bowl (the meat will be more flavoursome if you take the skin off), and score the meat so that the marinade can get right in there. Pour the marinade over, and put it all in the fridge for a few hours.
As usual with chicken joints, I recommend you parcook them in the oven first. About 20 minutes at 180 Celsius will be fine, then another ten minutes or so on the barbecue, turning every couple of minutes. Yum!
Everyone’s done chicken breasts. So, this is a pretty simple recipe, with a couple of twists. Like chicken? Like bacon? Like cheese? You’re gonna love it.
Two free-range chicken breasts
Four slices of smoked streaky bacon
Two sprigs rosemary, and a few leaves of basil
About 50g roquefort cheese, or your preferred cheese (mozzarella works, too)
Quite simple, this one. The hardest part is the first bit – cut a hole in the chicken breast! Use a sharp knife, and cut through the long side, but not all the way through – make a pocket. Stuff your cheese in there, and the basil.
The idea is that the bacon seals the cheese in. So, place the rosemary sprig on, and then wrap two slices of bacon around each breast, ensuring you’ve covered the cheese. You know the rule – if cheese can leak out, it will.
Now it’s up to you how you cook the chicken on the barbecue. I tried on top of some foil, but didn’t get enough colour on the bacon. In the end I put the meat directly on the grill. Yes, you lose some cheese that way, but you get colour and flavour.
Give this one a try; whether on the barbecue or not, we’ve been doing it for a few years, and it goes really well with a simple salad.
Woo-hoo, I’m up to date! Barbecue 23 was just last night. Another impromptu one, since the weather turned out nice after all, and there’s a target to reach, folks! I should add that we were spurred on by the smells of our neighbours’ barbecue action.
Cloudy but warm, which is always nice, but a little worrying. Good job I have rain contingency plans, eh?
We had already planned Milano Chicken (which is chicken with a basil pesto marinade, in this case), and it turns out that it tastes even better when cooked on the barbecue. Other than that, burgers! I saw some rather tasty looking venison burgers in our supermarket of choice, and we had some frozen beef burgers (Gemma isn’t a fan of game).
Don’t worry, health-crazed folk. We didn’t eat everything you see in the picture – cold barbecued food for lunch the next day = awesome.
Anyway, onward and upward with less than a month to go!
Barbecues 22 and 23 were very spur-of-the-moment (when you’re going for 30 barbecues by October, it’s hard to plan these things, given the British weather). After a rainy week, we cracked out the Weber on two consecutive evenings.
See the image on the right, which I’m rather pleased with. A bit of HDR gives the tree a rather ethereal look. Anyway, it was warm and sunny. Perfect!
Before the whole impromptu hey-let’s-have-a-barbecue thing, we were just having grilled salmon with a bit of salad. But you wouldn’t think much of that, would you? We grabbed a couple of lamb, spinach and sundried tomato burgers from the supermarket (they were awesome. I think I’ll nick that one), and I went for an Asian-style spicy salmon coating. For me, a light sprinkle of olive oil, followed by half a teaspoon each of cayenne pepper, cumin, ground coriander, and garlic granules; a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Gem isn’t a big fan of spice, so I omitted the cayenne and cumin for her.
What really added the flavour was some loosely chopped coriander leaves on the top of each salmon steak. I cooked them in my usual fashion on oiled foil, and they were <insert superlative here> really quite nice.
My my, it’s been a while. This is the first of three barbecue updates that I’ll be posting today. We’ve got about one month, one week to get to barbecue 30 – 23 was done yesterday. That’s right, barbecue fans: 7 barbecues, 5 weeks. Will we succeed? Stay tuned!
A typical sunny affair. See the picture on the left: I’m afraid I didn’t rotate it. I’m sure you’ll cope. Early evening.
Now for the fun bit!
We bought a couple of chicken legs, which were marinaded in Levi Roots’ Reggae-Reggae sauce, with a few chilli flakes, lime juice, paprika, garlic granules and a touch of soy sauce added (don’t worry, we didn’t eat them all at once).
With that, a couple of thin sausages (more on those later), and my delicious American Stuffed Cheeseburgers (I’ve already been asked if they’re stuffed with Americans. No). Look at them. Don’t you want to try one? Then get that recipe and get on it!
Anyway, this barbecue provided the perfect opportunity to test out the awesome Sausage Holders I received from @redhatman last month. They did me proud:
Ah, I love the smell of the first new recipe in ages, don’t you? Onward, then. I was inspired for this recipe by one of the “diners” on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, on Food Network. (We spend far too much time watching that channel). I wondered – you can put normal cheese in the middle of burgers (as I havedone), how about burger cheese? You know, American cheese, the flat, square stuff you have with most barbecues.
Well, it turns out, yes, you can do it, and yes, they’re delicious. In fact, some diner in America has done it already, so I came up with a recipe to do the same.
One 250g pack minced beef. Not too lean – you need the fat to keep the burgers moist
1tbsp virgin olive oil
1tsp Worcestershire sauce
Two cloves garlic, crushed
Two spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
Two slices of burger cheese (you might know them as singles, American cheese slices, processed cheese, whatever!)
1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp black pepper, freshly ground
This one is fun! Combine the mince, olive oil, worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, breadcrumbs and seasoning. Divide into two, and shape into flat, thin ovals, as shown on the right. Fold each cheese slice into quarters, and place about 1/3 of the way up on each oval.
Next, fold the burger around the cheese, as shown on the right. Make sure you create a good seal around the edges, or the cheese will seep out (to be honest, it’ll do that anyway, but do your best).
Finally, get cooking! They take the normal amount of time on the grill, and when the cheese starts to seep out, you know you’re pretty close. Serve on a bun (or, as we did, a pitta) with salad and the usual ketchup, mustard and pickles. Yum.
This recipe couldn’t be much simpler. We’ve tried it a couple of times in the oven, and it’s really good, so thought we’d give it a shot on the barbecue. Surprise surprise, it’s better. This possibly qualifies for the least ingredients of any recipe I’ll ever write.
Two chicken breasts, preferably free-range. Other joints will be fine, too
2-3 tablespoons good quality basil-based pesto (make your own if possible)
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
Remove any skin from the chicken pieces. Using a sharp knife, cut slits about one third deep into the chicken – this means it will cook more quickly, and be more flavourful. Place the chicken pieces in a small bowl.
Get the chicken thoroughly covered in the pesto, top and bottom. Now, leave the bowl of chicken in the fridge for at least four hours: this makes a huge difference to the end result.
When you’re ready to cook, sprinkle the top of each chicken piece with parmesan. Place on the barbecue, with the non-parmesan-covered side cooking first. Turn after 5-6 minutes and cook for a further 5-6 minutes. The chicken should look like the picture on the right when done.
Deary me, it’s been a long time, hasn’t it readers? The weather in Birmingham has been frankly very un-summer-like for quite a while, and both Gemma and I have been busy enough that having a barbecue just hasn’t been practical.
But at last, we’ve done our 20th barbecue. This one was actually a week or so ago; I just haven’t had time to post it. It wasn’t a particularly fancy one – as usual, a spur-of-the-moment thing, but I was so taken with the mushrooms from the last barbecue that I tried a little twist on them. So anyway, onward!
Not bad! When we left the house it was cold and unpromising – luckily by the time we finished work it was hot and sunny enough to justify at least an attempt at a barbecue. Good times.
Mainly stuff that we bought and stuck on the grill, I’m sorry to say! I amended my Garlic and Chilli Mushroom Burger recipe so that the butter on top of the mushrooms contained coriander, chilli, garlic and a little parsley, finely chopped. This again worked very well, and gave the mushrooms a little eastern twist.
Other than that, we bought some sirloin steak – just simply salted, and 4 minutes per side on the barbecue for medium – and some lamb kebabs. This sort of kebab just had minced lamb and mint moulded over a skewer, which is of course quite traditional. Very delicious, too, so expect a similar recipe soon.
And of course, we had to have a burger. Just one, that we split between us. You know my feelings on barbecues without burgers.
So that’s it for barbecue 20! Now how about you do some thinking for me? I’m always looking for new ideas, new barbecue themes, new recipe suggestions, and so on. Drop me a comment below if you think of anything, or if you tried anything you liked. Watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives last night I had some inspiration for a stuffed burger, so watch this space for that. See y’all soon, grillers