Here at Cosy Home we’re optimistic types, and we’re quietly confident we’re going to get some summery weather soon!
In preparation, we’re stocking up with our favourite barbecue foods, ready to pile up that charcoal as soon as the rain stops. If your family barbecue tends to feature mostly sausages (traditionally blackened on the outside and raw in the middle) and beefburgers, then we’ve put together a guide to easy dishes that are just a little different.
The beauty of kebabs is their versatility, as you can adapt them to pretty much anything you want. Use wooden skewers for ease so they can be thrown into the compost afterwards, or thread ingredients onto sprigs of rosemary, stripped of their leaves, for a subtle Mediterranean flavour.
Vegetables and non-meat – halloumi cheese, tuna fish, onions, peppers, courgettes, sweetcorn (corn on the cob), mushrooms, cherry tomatoes.
This is a tangy, spicy marinade which goes with pretty much anything – this recipe makes a four-person serving. Adjust the chilli to taste.
- 4 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 dried chilli
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
Finely chop the chilli, and combine with all the other ingredients to make a thick paste. Prepare cubes of meat and place them in a shallow dish. Spoon over the marinade and mix to combine, then cover and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour. Do the same with the vegetables in a separate dish.
When you’ve made up the kebabs, reserve any marinade left in the dishes and spoon it over the skewers during the cooking time.
Cooking fish on a barbecue is a bit of a knack, but it’s worth the effort. You can make life easier with a barbecue griddle pan, a flat sheet of metal that essentially converts your barbecue into a frying pan.
You can then cook pretty much anything from salmon steaks to filets of cod. Avoid anything too thin or delicate, though, as the heat will be quite intense.
If you want to cook delicate fish such as sea bass or sea bream, the best way is to cook it whole in a fish basket, a metal cage that holds the fish together and stops it dropping onto the coals. Tuna and whole prawns are robust enough to be cooked directly on the barbecue.
We’ll be honest here, barbecues aren’t the natural environment for puddings! If you’re determined to cook everything you serve on the barbecue, though, you could try fruit kebabs.
Thread cubes of orange, apple, banana, pineapple as well as grapes and strawberries onto a skewer, and drizzle with honey mixed with sunflower oil. These will only take a few minutes to start to caramelise and cook, so whisk them off quickly and serve with chopped fresh mint and chocolate sauce.
Alternatively, peel bananas and slice them down the middle. Fill the slit with chocolate buttons, wrap the whole thing in tin foil and let them bake for five to ten minutes before serving with ice cream.
Finally, you’ll need a few carbs to balance things out! This rice salad is quick and easy to make – and for purists, you can grill the peppers on the barbecue.
You’ll need (serves 6):
- 360g rice, either wild or wholegrain
- 4 large peppers, chargrilled
- around 20 soft dried apricots
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- bunch of spring onions
- 100g pumpkin seeds
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large teaspoon mustard
- 3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
Cook the rice and allow to cool. Mix the mustard, olive oil, vinegar and curry powder together to make a dressing. Peel and finely chop the spring onions, cut the apricots into slices and cut the cooked peppers into small pieces. Mix everything together, and mix thoroughly with the dressing to combine.
This salad is fine made the night before and refrigerated.
Now, just keep your fingers crossed for the weather!
All images: Pixabay