With the long Summer Holidays ahead, and hopefully good weather it's Barbie Time. The only period of the year when men turn from hunter/gatherers to guardians of the sacred flame, when aprons are donned without a hint of "prissy pinny" attitude, and meats are either totally carbonised or heated unevenly into the ideal breeding grounds for e-coli, staphylococcus and botulism.
But, done well a barbecue is a great way of cooking and is virtually the method of choice across whole swathes of the USA.
Here are a couple of tried and tested recipes which will look and taste good and hopefully renew your faith in charcoal briquettes, provided they are under the grill not on it!
Tan y Ddraig (Dragon Fire) Burgers
This burger has a distinctly Welsh feel from the leeks and a kick from the Chilli that gives it the Dragon Fire Name. Ideally use Welsh Black Beef or Longhorn. Lamb would add an extra Welshness or even Pork using Tamworth Pig for the great fat: meat ratio. We have great local suppliers of all of these meats.
450g/16oz lean beef mince (I actually put diced steak into a food processor as the texture is better and it sticks together better and reduces the fat content)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 red chilli, finely chopped – taste for heat you may need to reduce this
1/2 small leek, finely diced
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
2 spring onions, sliced
Handful coriander leaves, chopped – about 2 tablespoons full
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and shape into 4 or 8 patties (depends how big you like them) cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for ½ hour to firm up.
Grill on a barbecue when the coals have turned grey but are still giving plenty of heat.
4-8 Burger Buns, halved and toasted on the grill– insides only
Top with Cheese or smoky bacon or both, serve with sides of barbecue sauce, slaw and salad or the new potato kebabs below and the Cucumber Relish from an earlier recipe.
Chargrilled New Potato Skewers
900g (2lb) small new potatoes
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, approximately
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
Metal skewer or pre-soaked bamboo skewers
Scrub the potatoes and cook in boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes. Cool. (the potatoes may be cooked ahead). Cut in half, toss in olive oil and sprinkle with finely chopped rosemary and sea salt.
Thread the potato halves onto the skewers. Cook potato halves over a barbecue until crisp and slightly charred on both sides.
(Alternatively, roast in a hot oven 230C/450F/gas mark 8 for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked and nicely brown — you may need to turn half way through. )
Roast Red Pepper, Olive and Basil Salsa
1 red pepper, roasted, peeled, deseeded and cut into/¼-inch dice
1 ripe, firm tomato, peeled, deseeded and inch dice
2 tbsp of coarsely chopped black olives
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
10 basil leaves, chopped or torn
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Mix all of the ingredients together. Taste and correct seasoning.
Hot Sweet and Sticky Chicken Drumsticks
5fl oz Ketchup
21/2 fl oz Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
4 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
4 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
3 teaspoons Tabasco
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
2 teaspoons Paprika
2 teaspoons Chilli Powder
16 Chicken Drumsticks
Mix the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
Wash the drumsticks, pat dry with kitchen towels and then add to the marinade making sure all are covered. Cover and refridgerate for 6-8 hours turning occasionally.
Preheat oven to 180c gas 4.
Remove drumsticks, brush with olive oil and place in oven for 20 minutes.
Baste with the marinade ( discard the rest) and barbecue on high heat until marked, about 6 minutes, turning halfway.
Then move to the sides, (cooler) and cook until done.
Barbecued bananas with butterscotch sauce
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
4-6 ripe bananas
1tbsp. Soft brown sugar
Vanilla ice cream, to serve
For the butterscotch sauce:
50g/2 oz Butter
150g/5 oz Soft brown sugar
1tbsp. Golden syrup
For the bananas, cut them in their skins in half lengthways and loosen the skin slightly.
Sprinkle with a little brown sugar, rum and a dot of butter.
Place skin side down on a medium heat barbecue.
Cook for 5-10 minutes.
To make the sauce, melt together the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a small pan over a low heat.
Once the mixture has melted, pour in the cream and stir well.
Remove from the heat and serve at once (or cool, this sauce will keep in the fridge for 1 week).
Serve with the barbecued bananas and ice cream- Yum!!