With a lovely weekend of weather approaching and an extra day off, what better way to enjoy your bank holiday weekend with a BBQ!?
We have provided a splash of colour, spice and flavour to your typical BBQ with these inspirational barbecue recipes.
1 large aubergine
1 bulb fennel, leafy tops reserved
1 bunch asparagus, roughly 350g
2 red peppers
2 yellow peppers
1 packet patty pans, optional
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch fresh basil, leaves picked
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
This recipe is about celebrating seasonal veg; cooking them simply on a barbecue or griddle pan then dressing them with a few clever ingredients to really bring out the natural flavours and compliment that smokiness from the cooking process. You can vary the veg if you want to – just cut it all up so that it’ll be a pleasure to eat. This is ideal for a light lunch served with grilled fish or meat, or treated as a warm salad in part of a bigger spread.
Let your barbecue die down ready to cook or put a griddle pan on a high heat to get nice and hot. Slice the aubergine then slice the courgettes lengthways in about the same thickness as the fennel. Snap the woody ends off of the asparagus. Leave the peppers and patty pans, if using, whole.
Pile everything onto a large tray ready to cook. In batches, add the veg to your barbecue or hot griddle to cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until charred, soft and delicious. Remember that each vegetable will cook in a different amount of time so keep checking and turning everything and as soon as it is looking good, transfer it to a large bowl (keeping the cooked peppers and patty pans to one side) and get the next lot of veg on.
Carefully remove the black skin on the peppers, open them up and scrape away the seeds. Don’t worry about getting all of the skin off but do the best you can. This is a messy job but totally worth it! Tear the peppers up into strands and add to the bowl. Halve the patty pans and add those too, along with the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Gently toss it all together and have a taste to check the seasoning, then fold through the basil leaves, reserved fennel tops and garlic.
Halloumi Kebabs with Thyme and Lemon Baste
For the kebabs: 2 medium courgettes
1 large red onion
250g low fat halloumi cheese, cut into 16 chunks (we used Cypressa Halloumi Lite)
16 cherry tomatoes
For the lemon baste: 1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (preferably lemon thyme)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
pitta bread, to serve
Halve the courgettes lengthways, then thickly slice. Cut the onion into wedges and separate into pieces. Stack the halloumi, cherry tomatoes, courgettes and onion onto eight skewers. Cover and chill the kebabs until you are ready to cook (You can do this up to half a day ahead.)
To make the baste, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, mustard and seasoning. (This can be made ahead and chilled too.)
Preheat the barbecue or grill and arrange the kebabs on the rack. Brush with the baste, stirring it first to make sure the ingredients are blended. Cook for 4-5 minutes, turning often, until the cheese begins to turn golden and the vegetables are just tender. Serve while still hot with warm pitta bread.
Spiced Roast Chicken
4 chicken legs (with thighs)
1tbsp olive oil
2tsp dried chilli flakes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2tsp rosemary, finely chopped
2tsp sea salt
2 lemons, quartered
200°C (gas mark 6). Dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the chicken, skin-side down for 3-5mins, or until golden, then transfer, skin-side up, to a roasting tin.
Combine the chilli, garlic, rosemary and salt and sprinkle over the chicken. Squeeze the juice of two of the lemon quarters over the chicken and tuck all the lemon wedges in the roasting tin. Roast in the oven for 40-45 mins, or until cooked through.
Burgers with fresh toppings
For the burger: 1½ kg minced beef, not lean
2 red onions, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed
large handful of parsley, chopped
75ml tomato ketchup
50ml oyster sauce
2 egg yolks
To serve: 6 smoked back bacon rashers
6 slices fresh pineapple
6 slices good melting cheese, such as cheddar
6 burger baps, split in half
2 tbsp mayonnaise
12 slices pickled beetroot
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1 Cos lettuce, separated into leaves
To make the burgers, mix together all the ingredients and knead well so everything is thoroughly mixed. Separate the mix into 6, roll each into a large ball, then shape into burgers (see photos, right). Put them in the fridge and, if possible, leave to chill for at least 1 hr. They can be made up to 2 days ahead.
To cook the burgers, get the barbecue good and hot with the coals glowing. You don’t need to add any oil to the burgers. Put them on the barbecue and leave for a few mins until the edges start to colour, then slide a fish slice under the burgers and turn over. Repeat the process, then turn again. Remove to the cooler side of the barbecue and leave to cook for a good 15 mins if you like them well cooked.
While the burgers are cooking, BBQ the bacon and pineapple. Top the burgers with the bacon, then add the cheese and put back on the barbecue to melt. Warm the baps over the barbecue, too, if you like.
Divide the mayo between the bap bases and top with the burgers. Add the pineapple, beetroot, tomato and lettuce, then put the lids on top.
6 long woody sprigs of fresh rosemary
600 g strawberries (roughly 20 fruits)
120 g caster sugar, plus 1 teaspoon extra
100 g mascarpone
25 ml limoncello
1 lemon, zest of
It’s a bit retro, but everyone loves a toffee apple from time to time. There’s something strangely exciting about getting all sticky and messy as you eat it. These kebabs are like the strawberry equivalent of a toffee apple. Look for lovely big fruits if you can as they’ll work better. They are messy to eat, but are great fun for a party, and I’ve given you an easy sweet dip recipe to enjoy on the side. Don’t let the kids help you with this one as the caramel gets super hot.
If you can’t get long woody sprigs of rosemary, you can use wooden skewers instead. Strip most of the leaves off of the rosemary sprigs, leaving a 1cm nice tip at the end of each one. Finely chop the leaves from half a sprig, keep the rest for a different recipe. Divide the strawberries between the skewers, lay them on a serving board or platter and put to one side.
Place a pan on a medium heat. Add the sugar and 200ml of water and bring to the boil. Remember that sugar gets really hot and can burn easily so don’t be tempted to touch it. Let the sugar dissolve then leave it to bubble away for 12 to 15 minutes, or until you have a fairly thick syrup. Jiggle the pan occasionally but don’t stir it.
Meanwhile, mix the mascarpone with the remaining teaspoon of caster sugar. Beat it for a few minutes with a wooden spoon, or until it goes really shiny and smooth. Add the limoncello, chopped rosemary and lemon zest, then mix again until well combined and transfer into a little serving bowl for dipping.
Once the caramel is lovely and golden, carefully pour it over the strawberry kebabs, trying to make sure they’re all evenly coated. Again, don’t be tempted to touch as the caramel will still be really hot. Leave the caramel to set then serve the kebabs with the tweaked mascarpone on the side for dipping.
These recipes are a great selection for a lovely day where you can invite friends over and enjoy good food whilst the kids play on your Selwood Climbing Frame!
If you have a go at these recipes we would love to see them, please share your pictures on our Facebook page!