Tag Archives: salad

Top Tips for Barbecue Entertaining

1.    Marinate any meat the day before!
Best not to use extra olive oil in marinades as it smokes and burns. Marinate in strong plastic bags, tied securely to prevent leakage when you turn them. And then  shake off any excess marinade so that you don’t burn the meat.

2.    Prepare the barbecue fire to light before your guests arrive
We prefer real fires so set the fire ready to light before the guests arrive.  Better still if you know they are coming at say 7pm light the fire at 6.45 and the smell will guide them to your place!

3.    Plan what you need in advance
People tend to eat more meat at a barbecue and it is always better to over cater and then use up any leftovers for lunch the following day! So work out what you need and prepare the meat in advance – marinade your chicken and ribs and set aside the burgers and sausages

4.    Prepare the accompaniments
We usually prepare corn, potatoes and 1 or 2 salads which can all be put together ahead of time.

5.    Take the meat out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking
In fact I pre-cook the bbq chicken in the oven and finish it off on the bbq to get the smoky flavor.  Set aside the red meat so that you don’t cook it straight from the fridge otherwise you get burnt meat on the outside while pink on the inside!

6.  Use a dry rub instead of marinading for lean cuts of meat.  A rub is a blend of salt, sugar and spices that is dusted over the meat and the moisture from the meat  blends with the rub when you start to cook to instantly marinate it.

7.    The coals should be grey for cooking
Don’t cook over flames or red coals – wait until the coals are grey before starting to cook

8.    When you start cooking make sure you shuffle the food around from  the hot coals to cooler places on the grill.  If possible use a rack system with different heights to cook the meat with burning. And make sure you have tongs and spatulas with long handles – we got a really great set for Father’s day from Argos that were really inexpensive and had everything you need!

9.    Resting meats after barbecuing allows the meat to reabsorb the juices which would otherwise flow out when you cut it leaving the meat tough and dry. Rest the meat on a warmed tray on the top rack or in a warmer oven.  This also allows you to bring everything to the table at the same time so you can all tuck in without leaving the barbecue chef to grill while you tuck in.

10.    Don’t take your salad leaves out of the fridge until you are ready to serve, otherwise they will wilt. Another tip is to dress the salad at the very last minute so that the salad stay fresh and crunchy and doesn’t soak up the dressing and become soggy.

And my finale is something I heard about recently.  It’s called the Australian shuffle where the barbecue chef grills and tends the meat until he runs out of drink.  He then goes to get another drink and the person nearest the barbecue then takes over, until he, or she runs out of drink and so on.  My husband spends the whole evening at the barbecue and a few of his good mates stand by for company and make sure he always has a drink going – but I love the Australian shuffle idea and I am going to try and get it to take off in the UK!

It’s time to get out the Barbeque

Actually just having a barbecue is a novelty in itself – it is only after so many of them that I start thinking of how to do things differently.  We start the season with a selection of burgers, chicken pieces and sausages.

It really does make a difference having thick homemade burgers served in a warm toasted bap with lettuce – large slices of tomatoes and a dollop of mayonnaise, tomato sauce and mustard.

My favourite sausages for a braai (South african term for bbq!) is borewoers which you can buy from South African shops or independent butchers or if you are feeling adventurous we have a few homemade recipes and this is one I found on Food.com and grabbed with Grabbit tool so the link is now in my favourites whenever I want to find the recipe!

And finally the chicken pieces – we always marinate the thighs and drumsticks for at least an hour before we start cooking although it tastes a lot better if they are left overnight.  For a bit of variety try marinating the chicken in a honey and mustard marinade. Remember to cook the chicken high above the grill on grey coals for at least 20-30 mins turning once or twice.  We often pre cook the meat for a little first in the microwave to ensure the chicken is cooked through and you don’t burn the outside because it is coated in sticky marinade!

Best served with sweetcorn, baked potatoes, coleslaw and a mixed salad – the salads get more and more adventurous as the season continues!

Lunchtime treats on Mother's day

I had my mum over for Mothers day lunch and decided to make Seabass and a couple of salads.   My mother’s day treat from my boys was an undisturbed lie in (and some moisturiser and girly stuff).  I got up and I chose what I was going to make for lunch and added them to my shopping list here on MyDish and printed off the list to take to the shops.  It is a brilliant tool that lets you create a menu and pull together all the ingredients you are going to need before you start cooking.
The only issue I had running around the shops  this morning, was trying to find certain ingredients for the salad – The big supermarkets didn’t stock Orzo pasta and I had a lot of trouble sourcing duck sauce – I didn’t realise till I got back that hoisin or plum sauce is a substitute
The crunchy coleslaw was fantastic but the crispy noodle salad was spoilt due to the fact that I picked up fish oil for the dressing instead of sesame oil.  I only realised the mistake when the smell on my fingers drew attention to what I was doing. � I also made pine nut, red pepper and Orzo salad – once we located the Orzo which was only available in Waitrose.
So now the sun is shining and barbecue season is about to start I am looking out for really interesting and very easy lunchtime salads.  With ingredients that are easily available.