Barbecues for the Summer

At last, the hot weather has arrived and it's time to dig out the BBQ and do what the Spanish do best – dining outside. I don't think a steak tastes better than when cooked on a BBQ and we have noticed a lot of wood-fire-cooking restaurants appearing, so it seems others agree.

A tip to make your food taste good is just a bit of marinade rubbed in before it's cooked. Below we have some easy ones for you to try and don't forget, just rubbing olive oil in can stop the meat from drying out. There's a section on vegetables and of course desserts, an important part of any meal but often forgotten when barbequing.
Buen Apetito

Marinades

Chilli – Great with fish and chicken
Mix 1 seeded and diced red chilli, 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried. 1 crushed garlic clove and 150ml olive oil.
Garlic – Especially good with vegetables
Mix 150ml olive oil, 1 crushed garlic and a bunch of fresh herbs.

Citrus – try it with beef or pork
Combine the juice of 1 lime and 1 lemon with 150g pot of natural yoghurt and a small jar of Thai green curry paste.
Mixed herbs – Try on anything for a different taste
Mix 150ml olive oil and add your favourite herbs. Try bay leaves and oregano for a Greek flavour or coriander and mint for an Indian touch.

Barbeque – Traditional sauce which can be sweet or spicy.
Chop tinned tomatoes and add vinegar, finely chopped onions, mustard, Worcester sauce and a hot spice which is optional.

Jacket Potato Toppings

Potatoes baked in their jackets are a popular barbeque treat and just a few simple filling with liven them up to go well with any meat.
Try toppings such as:-
Soft cheese
Garlic and herbs
Mustard butter
Sour cream and chives
Three bean salad
Sweetcorn and blue cheese

Vegetables

One of the things often overlooked when barbeque cooking is vegetables, but these can be cooked with the minimum fuss. Cook on a griddle pan by tossing chunks of vegetables in the pan with olive oil, crushed garlic and herbs, then grill on the BBQ rack. Most vegetables can be cooked this way, but courgettes, peppers, onions, aubergines, sweetcorn, mushrooms and carrots are particularly good, but remember to turn regularly until tender. Try cooking whole garlic cloves too as they will become mild and sweet by grilling or roasting. Another barbeque favourite are vegetable kebabs which are easily created by pushing different vegetable onto a skewer. Other vegetables can be cooked by wrapping in heavy-duty foil and placing in the hot coals. Corn on the cob with a knob of butter or carrots in butter and lemon juice taste really nice after this style of cooking. Why not try something new and experiment?

Desserts

Desserts can finish off a barbeque so guests leave feeling full and happy, especially those guests with a sweet tooth. Desserts are often overlooked and when they are remembered, consist of ice cream or fruit, but below we have a few ideas to spice things up.

Baked Apples
Core whole apples and fill with a mixture of chopped nuts, raisins and sultans. Dot with a little butter and cook in foil-parcels until the apple is tender.

Bananas
Cook unpeeled, ripe bananas in foil until very soft inside and black. Slit the skin lengthways and put pieces of chocolate, which will melt, into the banana.

Peaches
Cut ripe peaches or nectarines in half and remove the stone. Sprinkle each half with a little sherry or Amaretto liqueur, brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Dot with butter, wrap in foil and grill until soft and golden.

Marshmallows
Thread marshmallows and strawberries, alternately onto a skewer. Cook over the barbeque as it cools. Remove as soon as the marshmallows start to colour.

Fruit Loaf
Toast thick slices of cinnamon and raisin loaf or other fruit bread on the barbeque. Serve with ice cream.

Pineapple
Cut and core fresh pineapple into thick wedges. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with soft brown sugar and ground ginger or cinnamon. Grill in foil parcels until golden.

Melon
De-seed a melon and remove the skin if preferred. Cut into wedges and thread onto skewers. Brush with melted butter and ground ginger and then grill until hot.