Barbecue 20: At long last!

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!

Weather

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.

Food

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.

Lamb kebabs (big recipe inspiration there), half a burger and a mushroom.
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.

Mmm, steak...

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 :)

Steak Fajitas

Fajitas are, strictly speaking, a Tex-Mex recipe. But that’s nearly Mexican, right? Anyway, these were for our Mexican barbecue, and were rather popular. The idea is that the meat bit is cooked on the barbecue and then cut up by you, with the rest of the work being done by your guests. Good eh?

Ingredients

    For the steak
  • 4-5 thin frying steaks, trimmed. These are the cheapish sort which need to be cooked well to be tender. Since we’re cutting them up, it doesn’t matter.
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1tsp mild chilli powder
  • 1tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • A handful of roughly chopped coriander
  • 1tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • The juice and zest of one lime
  • 1tbsp mild olive oil
  • One or two large red chillies or jalapeño chillies, finely chopped
  • 1tsp rock salt
  • 1tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • For everything to go with the steak
  • 12 tortilla wraps (corn tortillas are best, but more expensive)
  • A large white onion and a red bell pepper, chopped into slices
  • A pot of sour cream, and some of my guacamole
  • 1tsp each of ginger, crushed garlic, chilli powder, and cayenne pepper

Recipe

That’s quite a list of ingredients! Luckily putting it all together isn’t so hard.

Combine everything in the “for the steak” ingredients section. Cover with cling film, and leave in the fridge for at least six hours, but preferably overnight. This makes a massive difference to how tender and flavourful the meat is.

Fajita onions and peppers
In the meantime, go make some of my guacamole. You can add some finely chopped chives to the sour cream if you want, but that’s not strictly Mexican. The other thing to do is sorting out the onions and peppers that typically go with fajitas. I like to do these in the same way as I do my garlic tomatoes – chop the pepper and onion into decent-sized slices, and put them in a foil bag. Add the ginger, crushed garlic, chilli powder, and cayenne to the bag, with a little olive oil, seal and shake around. This works really well, but you might just want to fry on your normal hob instead.

Unwrapped. Clearly you should wrap it first.
Anyway, on with the meat. Remove from the marinade and barbecue for 2-3 minutes per side. Take the steaks off the grill, then slice them into 1-2cm strips. Leave the rest to your guests – the idea is that they take a tortilla, smother some sour cream and guacamole on it, add some steak, and top with the onions and peppers. You might even want to add some hot sauce (thanks Jen) Wrap up and enjoy!

Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce

I tried this one out with Barbecue Nine to go with steak. It’s an Argentine recipe, which (I think) gives a good combination of spice and sharpness to cut through the richness of steak, and oilier fish.

There are literally loads of recipes on the Internet for this. My ingredients list is simply what I thought would be nice, so as usual, feel free to change bits of it to your own taste.

Ingredients

  • One large red chilli, deseeded, and very finely chopped
  • Lots of garlic! I put around four big cloves in mine – minced or crushed into a paste
  • 2tbsp cold water
  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2tbsp either white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar or lemon juice. I used red wine vinegar, which Gemma really liked, but I’m not a big fan of wine vinegars, so I’ll probably use lemon juice next time. Personal preference, ya see?
  • About 2tsp each of oregano and basil, fresh, chopped fine, and 1tsp of fresh thyme
  • A large handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1tsp salt, 1/2tsp freshly ground pepper

Recipe

The recipe is, as usual, quite simple. Combine all the ingredients into a bowl (as pictured at the top). The important part is that you need to leave the sauce covered and well alone in a fridge for as long as you can before using it – at least 3 hours, preferably a whole day. The flavours will combine, and it’ll be lovely. Try the sauce after that time – if it’s too oily, add lemon juice or vinegar (whichever you used).

To Serve

This sauce goes really well served over any rich meat. It’s traditionally served with steak, which is crackin’, but it goes great with salmon, mackerel, and so on. Whatever you combine it with, the sauce has a strong flavour – make sure you don’t kill the flavour of the meat. If you’re vegetarian, the only thing rich enough to take this sauce is probably avocado  – though if you’ve got some avocados, consider my Guacamole instead 😉

Chimichurri with rump steak
With steak...
Chimichurri with Salmon
...or salmon!

Barbecue the 6th: April 21

Do try this at home
A word to the wise: This is not a good stage to start cooking at

Do you want to look this happy? Get barbecuing!

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.

Weather

Sunny, for a change! Cool evening.

Food

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).

Steak and Salmon.
Surf and Turf or what?
Steak. Mmm.
The hashtag is #omnomnom, I believe

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!

So, this was superb. Try it!