During these uncertain times, it can be difficult to gather inspiration that stretches further than the old reliable burger.
So we asked some of Ireland’s top foodies for their tips on how to za za zoom up your bank holiday BBQ.
“Don’t over complicate it! Get really good quality meat – steak, burgers, sausages, even monkfish and salmon work well. There are so many interesting flavours you can turn into marinades.”
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large shallot, roughly chopped
1 tbsp minced fresh root ginger
2 tsp sugar
4 tbsp dark soy sauce
4 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
8 Quality Assured boneless chicken thighs
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, core removed and shredded
1 firm ripe mango, peeled, stone removed and cut into julienne
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
50g (2oz) roasted cashew nuts, roughly chopped
good handful fresh coriander leaves
4 tbsp Donegal Rapeseed oil 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar 1 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp finely minced ginger root 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 tsp toasted sesame oil salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the marinade, place the garlic in a mini food processor or blender with the shallot, ginger and sugar, then blend to form a paste. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk in the soy sauce, Thai fish sauce, five-spice powder and several grinds of pepper.
Arrange the chicken thighs in a shallow dish and pour over the marinade, turning until well coated.
Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours is best, turning the chicken thighs several times in the marinade. Bring back to room temperature before cooking and wipe off any excess marinade with kitchen roll.
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil to the pan or cook on the BBQ. Then place the chicken thighs in it skin-side down. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the skin is nice and crispy.
When you can see that the chicken thighs are nicely browned and that the flesh is almost but not quite cooked through. Turn them over and cook for another 5-6 minutes until completely cooked through and tender. Remove from the heat and leave to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes.
Place in a large bowl with the lettuce, mango, spring onions, cashew nuts and coriander.
To make the dressing, place the rapeseed oil in a small bowl with the vinegar. Whisk until blended, then stir in the soy, ginger, garlic and oil. Season to taste.
Use the dressing to lightly dress the salad, tossing gently until evenly combined. Arrange on plates and serve the remaining dressing in a small jug so that your guests can help themselves.
“For successful barbecuing, invest in a little digital meat thermometer.
“One of the little probe types, it will not cost more than €10-20 and you will never have to worry about half-raw chicken from the barbecue again. If you are a bit uncertain about how to cook the perfect steak, this will also be a godsend.
"These gorgeous spicy koftas are a lovely alternative to the usual burger. These are great made with minced lamb, but if you want a healthier version use lower fat beef mince as I have here."
450g minced steak
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1tbsp ground coriander
1tbsp ground cumin
1/2tsp chilli flakes
1/2tsp ground cloves
Handful flat leaf parsley
Handful fresh mint
Zest of half a lemon
Chop the herbs. Very finely chop or grate the onion.
Put all the ingredients in a big bowl and combine with your hands.
Mix it well but do not overwork it or the koftas will be tough.
Form into koftas, shaped like little rugby balls, each about 30g in weight. You will get 18-20 from this recipe.
As you will cook these on a barbecue, you need to put them on skewers, about three on each skewer.
Pop into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes, you can make these a day in advance, which is perfect for barbecuing.
Now make the courgette and yoghurt salad.
300g Greek yoghurt
A little lemon zest
1/4tsp cayenne pepper
1tsp sugar 3/4tsp salt
Ground black pepper
2tbsp rapeseed oil
6 fresh mint leaves
1/2tsp black mustard seeds
Few slices red chilli
Grate the courgette. Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain into a sieve and refresh under cold water. Make sure it is fully cold. Drain & wrap it in a clean towel and press out all the water.
Put the yoghurt, cayenne pepper, lemon zest, sugar, salt & pepper in a bowl and mix well to combine. Add the courgette and mix that through. Set aside until you are ready to serve.
To cook the koftas, get your barbecue up to a medium heat. Grill the koftas for 6-8mins, depending upon how well done you like your meat, turning occasionally.
While they are cooking, finish the salad. Heat a little olive oil in a small pan on the barbecue. Shred the mint leaves into thin strips. Add the mustard seeds to the oil, cook for a minute or so until they start to pop. Now add the mint & chilli. Take off the heat and pour over the salad.
Serve 1-2 skewers per person along with some flat breads or pitta, hummus and the salad.
“When barbecuing starchy veg such as potatoes or pumpkin or even squash, ensure to parboil it so that it's about 3/4 cooked, then coat in a little oil and salt and char on the BBQ. This makes for a wonderful side dish.
“Don't be afraid to use a frying pan on a barbeque when grilling some smaller items like smaller oyster mushrooms - it's a nice trick to avoid food falling in between the grills.
“One of our favourite veg cooked on the barbeque is grilled courgettes - by barbequing them it accentuates their sweetness. Just slice into thin 1/2 cm steps lengthwise, coat in a little oil and salt and lightly char on each side on the BBQ - enjoy!”
"We first made this with our French friend Alex and we were very suspicious of it but it turned out amazing. It’s a super tasty dish that will fool even the most carnivorous of your friends.
"You will need a tin of unripe green jackfruit which is readily available in Asian stores or online. When cooking on the BBQ either cook the jackfruit on a pan on the BBQ or else if there is a flat solid hot plate section."
Takes 20 minutes Makes 4 sandwiches
1 x 400g tin of green unripe jackfruit
¼ portion of vegan coleslaw (see page x) handful of fresh rocket leaves
4-6 burger buns/bread rolls
1 ripe avocado
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons tamari/ soya sauce
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons maple syrup/agave syrup
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
Shred the jackfruit into thin little strips pulling it apart (easiest to use your hands) ensuring to remove any of the seeds or tough ligament type bits as these can be a bit too chewy. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water, then spread out on a baking tray.
Put all the ingredients for the BBQ sauce into a bowl and mix well together using a fork. Then pour over the jackfruit, mixing very well to cover all the jackfruit (easiest to use your hands).
Spread the marinated jackfruit out well on the baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until it starts to smell amazing, brown and crisp up up slightly.
While the ‘pulled pork’ is cooking, make 1/4 portion of vegan coleslaw (see page x).
Into the burger bun/bread roll, add a healthy serving of the ‘pulled pork’ along with a good couple of spoonfuls of the coleslaw and a decent few sprigs of rocket. Also goes great with a few slices of ripe avocado. Enjoy :)