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Time to light up

Sun, 23 June, 2024

Barbecue season always fills me with trepidation. I’m not a fan: whatever you cook on the barbecue can be cooked much better indoors, in the comfort of the kitchen.

It’s all very well if you’re Australian. You’ll have a permanently stoked up grill in your backyard or on the beach, you’ll know what you’re doing and how to control the heat on your barbie. So I envy you, Aussies, your perfectly grilled prawns, corn on the cob and rare steaks. Here at home it’s a slightly different setup.

Things that come off the British barbecue are either raw or burnt because the chef went off to fetch more beer. The smoke gets into your back bedrooms because you forgot to close the windows. The convivial food making means waiting for about two hours getting more and more tipsy on Pimms, because the fire is always lit too late. And everyone might actually end up going hungry, since what starts in blissful sunshine often turns into a dash for cover, and soggy burgers under umbrellas.

But I do do barbecues as my friends and family love them, even though I find it more time- and work-consuming than cooking in the kitchen. Being somewhat obsessive, I like to organise it well both in terms of labour and nutrition instead of slapping supermarket sausages on the grill with ketchup for a side.

For meats, I now have a template which I happily share: my barbecue ideas. If you must have burgers, why not make them yourself: beef, chicken, salmon or halloumi. Spicy chicken wings are always welcome, as are lamb koftas.

For vegetarian options, I love halloumi skewers. If you think fish, I’d suggest wrapping it in foil. The salmon with blue cheese parcel recipe is for oven but it will work beautifully on a barbecue. And if you insist on whacking the whole fish onto the grill in a manly fashion, here’s grilled balsamic bream.

Sides are arguably more important than meats, so for instance this cabbage salad does the trick fantastically well. For something different, try leek slaw with your burgers: you’ll be impressed, I promise.

You need good bread – what’s better and easier than pita? Shop bought or homemade, it can serve as a housing for burgers or sausages cooked on the barbecue.

Corn on the cob is fine, but make it interesting: corn ribs with dukkah, cooked on the barbecue but in a tray or wrapped in foil.

If it is still in season, a bowl of asparagus and couscous will be a good addition to the table. Otherwise, swap the asparagus for green beans.

I can’t survive a barbecue without potato salad. And guess what – it always disappears within minutes!

And now desserts: I have to say I’m partial to a toasted marshmallow. But a healthier dessert that takes 10 minutes to make is strawberry fool. Happy grilling!

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About me

Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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