Sunday 19 July 2015

Quick recipes for a mid-week barbecue

Now that we’ve got a gas barbecue it’s really easy to come home midweek and grill something for dinner outside. And since we spent quite a lot on a very good Weber barbecue I want to make sure we get enough use out of it!
When it’s 7pm before you even walk in the door from work, you don’t want to spend too long fussing around with recipes. And marinating something the day before requires too much forward planning – the beauty of a gas barbecue is you can decide on the spur of the moment to fire it up if the weather is nice. Even if you have a traditional coal barbecue and are grilling at the weekend, you don’t always want to spend all day preparing a selection of dishes. So here are some easy, speedy ideas for a quick barbecue.
The meat
Stating the obvious but for me there’s nothing like a sausage on the Barbie. They are quick to cook – Richmond’s work really well, just make sure you don’t buy the skinless variety as they don’t barbecue so well. You can keep a selection of condiments in the fridge (ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, Nando’s sauce) and even buy pre-cooked crispy onions from the supermarket.
Lamb: these minted lamb chops from Asda were gorgeous on the barbecue
Chicken: I find chicken skewers, with small pieces of poultry, dry out quite quickly and are easy to overcook. Chicken mini-fillets are a bit too small and fiddly; we tried these garlic and herb chicken steaks from Asda recently which cooked to perfection. The easiest cut to cook is something large and flat.

A whole fish looks gorgeous on the barbecue, only takes a few minutes and tastes delicious, like this one I made earlier:

Prawns are very quick on the barbecue - simply thread onto a skewer. You could brush them with sweet chilli sauce or just leave them plain.

Tuna steaks barbecue really well as it’s a robust, solid fish, and you don’t need to marinade them the day before to get a nice flavour.

I made this recipe from the Weber website for tuna with a salmoriglio sauce which was delicious.
I like having some form of potato with my barbecue, whether that's potato salad or a jacket potato but that takes too long to cook midweek. So instead these microwave jacket potatoes from McCain work really well - they take 2 mins in the microwave and then you can wrap them in foil and finish them off on the BBQ. Add some cheese, sour cream or butter and they are perfect.

There are plenty of vegetarian burgers and sausages available, some - but not all - of which are vegan. I recently bought some Linda McCartney mushroom and spinach burgers for a vegan friend which she said were lovely and made a nice change from meat-style veggie burgers.

It's also pretty quick to make some veggie kebabs by simply chopping veg and threading onto skewers. A couple of things to note: if you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water first to prevent burning. Also, if you marinade the vegetables they taste much nicer and if you use an oil-based marinade they won't stick to the grill. I mixed some cayenne pepper into olive oil and tossed my veg pieces in that before threading them onto the skewer which worked well. They don't take long to cook on the barbecue though you will have to turn them a couple of times.

I’d never really thought about barbecuing bread before until I came across this recipe from the Weber website.
Looking for quick and easy recipes meant I wasn’t about to start making my own bread, so bought a loaf of sourdough from the supermarket and was going to make the blue cheese walnut spread, but couldn’t find any walnuts in my larder – so used what I did have. I thought the slightly waxy texture of pine nuts would go well with the cheese. It’s really quick to make – I used Gorgonzola, which is a soft blue cheese, so I just creamed it together with the butter and used garlic puree again for speed. Add the lemon juice, pepper, parsley and pine nuts, and you have a delicious spread.

I sliced the loaf and placed a few slices on the barbecue as the heat was dying down and grilled it for a few minutes. The result was a lightly toasted piece of bread that was still lovely and soft inside; the warmth meant the spread melted every so slightly but not too much. It was delicious and is a side dish I will definitely be making again.

It's also a good idea to have a few nibbles on hand for hungry people while the food is cooking - even if the food is pretty quick! These new snacks from Ritz are like crisps but made from baked crackers. They are called Ritz Crisp & Thin and come in four delicious flavours: cream cheese & onion, sea salt & vinegar, sea salt & black pepper and sweet red chilli. The sharing bags are particularly good for barbecues.

 Thanks to Mondelez International for the Ritz snacks

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