As we’ve been having such good weather lately, thoughts have turned to preparing meals outside – you know the sort; you don’t actually mention them by name unless you want it to pour down. Typing it in a blog post, however, is entirely different so I have no qualms about it – especially as I write this following a series of rain-free sessions at my awesome new barbecue.
B&Q invited me to take part in their BBQ Challenge and, with a free Bondi Barbecue plus spending money for the all-important food thrown in, I couldn’t refuse – particularly as our existing one left a little to be desired and was dwarfed by most Hobbits. The challenge was to cook five meals – at least one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner and then two other meals on the gas-fired beast of a barbie! It arrived in an absolutely massive box and was very well packed. It took a little while to assemble it, but it was a straightforward process and I soon had it safely hooked up to a gas cylinder and ready for action. Let the grilling commence!
Breakfast – Glazed gammon and eggs
I wouldn’t normally be so decadent to start the day, but this gargantuan grill warranted a strong start – they don’t say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for nothing! I’m not the most confident of cooks, so all of the recipes on display here are very simple. I will confess to getting the eggs a bit wrong for this one as I had the temperature too high. The grill cleaned up perfectly afterwards though and we really enjoyed our breakfast.
Two gammon steaks
One tablespoon of runny honey
One tablespoon of Dijon mustard
A sprinkling of cracked black pepper
Mix the honey, mustard and pepper in a bowl then grill the gammon steaks on one side. After a few minutes, flip the steaks and baste the cooked side with the honey and mustard glaze. Once the other side has cooked, flip and repeat. When the other side is almost cooked, fry the eggs on the slot-free grill.
Lunch – Tandoori-style chicken kebabs
These are a family favourite that my Mum gave me the recipe for. They’re quick and easy to prepare and make a healthy and tasty lunch.
500g of chicken
Four tablespoons of plain yoghurt
Two tablespoons of vegetable oil
Two or three teaspoons of Tandoori mix
Two tablespoons of lemon juice
Mix all of the ingredients except the chicken and pepper in a bowl then skin and dice the chicken. Place the chicken pieces in the bowl and allow them to marinate for about an hour before cooking. Alternate the chicken pieces and pepper on skewers then grill and eat!
Dinner – Foil-wrapped mackerel
We chose this recipe because we wanted to see how effective the right-hand grill was at cooking something wrapped in foil. It was a success and the mackerel was delicious! As mackerel already has a distinctive flavour, we decided to keep things simple with the other ingredients.
One mackerel for each person
A pinch of sea salt
Gut the mackerel then place a maximum of two in each piece of foil. Drizzle on a small amount of olive oil and lemon, add a pinch of sea salt and wrap up securely. Barbecue the foil parcel for about four minutes, flip and repeat. Serve with potatoes, beans and a nice big glass of white wine. Nom!
Extra meal one – Spicy chicken thighs and drumsticks
We made these as part of a massive meal for Father’s Day and my Dad seemed to enjoy them. Despite me using chilli powder, nobody needed a fire extinguisher for their mouths either, so I’m counting that as a complete success!
Six to eight chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
Four tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
Two teaspoons of chilli powder
One teaspoon of ground cumin
One teaspoon of paprika
Mix all of the ingredients except for the chicken in a bowl then, as with the Tandoori-style kebabs, remove the skin from the chicken and marinate for an hour or so. Sling them on the barbecue and turn regularly, adding extra marinade as necessary.
Extra meal two – Baked Camembert
Okay, this one might be a little bit of a cheat but I can’t see people not enjoying it and it’s something different you can do with a barbecue so I thought I’d include it. There’s only one ingredient, but it’s important that you get one that comes in a wooden box rather that a cardboard one.
One pack of Camembert
Dead simple. Remove any inner wrappers then place the pack straight on the grill for as long as you dare! You only really need to melt the middle, but there’s no harm in charring the box a bit. Use some toasted pitta bread to scoop the cheese from the box and devour greedily.
The barbecue handled every one of these meals with ease and I’m looking forward to trying plenty of new recipes on it as I get more adventurous. It’s a joy to use and I heartily recommend it for anyone who’s fed up getting charcoal to light! It’s simple to start and gets up to the correct temperature in a matter of minutes – indeed, there’s a thermometer on the hood that lets you know when you can get cracking. It’s great that the grills are dishwasher safe too – though I recommend giving them a five minute blast at full temperature followed by a quick wipe with a sponge once they’ve cooled down before washing them.
All in all, I’m really happy with this barbecue and am delighted to have been asked to take part in the challenge.