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Archive for June, 2009

Best-ever 4th of July recipes

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Finger-licking’ Food To Cook Over Flames
The sun will be shining, the kids will be playing their rowdiest games and the dog will be running around like a mad thing trying to join in and, any minute, your friends will be dropping by. Get yourself organized – the 4th July is a-coming! With this selection you can’t go wrong. Everyone loves a good hamburger, but this one is a little different, made Kiwi-style, with beets and hard-cooked eggs. Check it out. The Big Burger. Chicken wings are loved by young and old. Either marinate the wings in a little spice, stick them on the grill until golden and spritz them with lime before serving Deviled Chicken Wings, or dunk them in butter to keep them succulent and coat with parmesan and crumbs and bake in the oven until crunchy and golden. Crispy Chicken Wings. Yum! The deviled chicken wings go perfectly with a colorful and fresh-tasting Pepper & Pineapple Salad.

Once the grill is fired up, you might like to try my quick recipe for Pork & Fennel Satay served with a Fresh Leaf Salad with Asian Flavors. This salad has to be tried – lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce, garlic and chilli give a bunch of leaves, bean sprouts and some sliced cucumber a wickedly good kick. Everyone will be licking their lips and back for more!

For something a little different, make lamb meatballs with ground lamb, ginger, garam masala and coriander, spear them on skewers, grill until golden and aromatic and serve with dollops of Yoghurt, Mint and Chilli Sauce. Simple, fast, no fuss, and delicious! Spicy Lamb on Sticks with Yoghurt Sauce. The thing to serve with spicy lamb meatballs? A Greek salad, of course, choc-a-bloc with vine tomatoes, cucumber, romaine lettuce, red onions and black olives, with a smattering of fresh chopped dill and flat-leaf parsley. The Best Quick Greek Salad.

To finish –fresh fruit kebabs doused in Cointreau, dusted with confectioner’s sugar and cooked until golden in sizzling butter. Caramelized Fruit Kebabs.

If that lot doesn’t cause a sensational at the grill, throw in some easy-peasy garlic bread, made with healthy olive oil, not butter, and perfumed with rosemary (it’s simply delicious) Grilled Garlic Bread and a bowl of prawns marinated in coconut cream sparked with chili, coriander seed and kaffir lime leaves, to start. Prawns with Coconut & Lime. What a way to kick off the 4th July!

Wow your friends with this easy grill food, barbecue dishes that have the X-factor. For more grill recipes, see Sizzle Sensational Barbecue Food, which has a full chapter on Barbecue Know-how.

Have fun!

Pork & Fennel Satay
Crispy Chicken Wings
Spicy Lamb on Sticks with Yoghurt Sauce
The Big Burger
Grilled Garlic Bread
Prawns with Coconut & Lime
Deviled Chicken Wings
Pepper & Pineapple Salad
Fresh Leaf Salad with Asian Flavors
The Best Quick Greek Salad
Caramelized Fruit Kebabs
Grilling Tips: Skewers

Metal skewers conduct heat and so are good for chunky food and thicker pieces of meat.

Cheap Winter Eats

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

The cold has settled in and we’re in for a long run of wintery days by the looks of it! One comfort is food – soups and homecooked meals fill the kitchen with gorgeous smells that’ll bring them running. Look for dishes based on seasonal vegetables, or inexpensive vegetables which one tends to pass over in favour of something more exotic (think cabbage – how many times do you walk past that and buy something three times the price because you think cabbage is boring).

Potatoes are an excellent ingredient to fill hungry tummies. They’re especially good for us when jacket-baked.

How do you get those gorgeously-crunchy potato skins on jacket-baked potatoes? Easy. Scrub the potatoes and while they’re still damp sprinkle them with salt. Move them to a dry part of the bench, turn them over and sprinkle the top side also with salt. Transfer to an oven preheated to 200°C / 400°F (fanbake) and bake for at least 1 1/2 hours, even longer – up to 2 hours. Immediately you remove the potatoes from the oven, split them in half with a sharp knife, otherwise the steam inside the potato will soften the skin. Either serve as they are, with butter, salt and pepper, or with sour cream, or top them with a homemade Bolognese or tomato sauce – such a great way to use up small amounts of leftover pasta sauce, and you don’t need any added fat!

Alternatively, scoop out the flesh and mash with a little hot milk and butter and pile it back into the potatoes, top with grated cheese and grill until sizzling. Or mix the potato flesh with any manner of ingredients before stuffing it back into the potato shell: chopped ham or bacon or roast chicken, chopped spring onions or snipped chives, canned beans or sweet corn, chopped onion and celery softened in a little olive oil, and so on and so forth. The recipe here is one my kids loved when they were growing up.

Jacket Potatoes with Bacon and Sweet Chilli Sauce

One of the great things about pasta dishes is their speed. They’re also nutritious and fill you up. I always keep canned beans in the pantry, and many types of pasta shapes, and with a bunch of rocket from the garden, a meal like this is easy on the budget, and on me – over and done in twenty minutes.

Rocket & Beans with Fusilli

A mug of homemade soup is an inexpensive nutritious after-school warm-up.

Make the soup, even a double batch, then when it is cool, line soup mugs with snap-lock bags and fill with soup. Seal and freeze, then remove mug. Then you have the perfect amount to thaw quickly in the microwave (or in a saucepan) to fill a mug. Potatoes help thicken the soup, and leeks are inexpensive at this time of year. You could use homemade chicken stock in this soup, and even swirl in a little leftover roast chicken at the end.

Chunky Leek and Potato Soup