Next time you go to slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for someone, why don't you consider leaving the shell on it?
Even Paul Hogan, in the seminal advertisement from 1983, knew it was the best way to cook a prawn. If you watch the ad closely, the prawns still have their shells on, as he places them amongst the steak and sausages, Delvene Delaney at his side. After 41 years perhaps we've forgiven him for calling it a shrimp.
As we head into the last long weekend of summer, is there a better way to celebrate than gathering some friends and family for a backyard barbecue?
What to eat?
Pick up on the prawn idea and have a seafood feast.
"Try keeping the shells on the prawns when you next barbecue them," says the team from taste.com.au in its cookbook The Great Aussie Barbecue Cookbook.
"They can be surprisingly tasty. The shells are great at trapping spices and seasoning, and get that amazing barbecue flavour when cooked, making them delicious to suck on."
And did you know you can open oysters on the barbecue?
Preheat a barbecue plate on high. Place the closed unshucked oysters on the plate, flat side up. In just a few minutes the shells will open up, the oysters lightly steamed inside.
"Whole fish is also delicious when steamed on the barbecue," says the Taste team. Just wrap it in baking paper and foil.
What to drink?
Try a Brown Brothers' Tarrango at your next barbecue. It's a light-bodied red, served chilled, developed by the CSIRO back in the 1960s.
"The new generation of this wine embodies all the thirst-quenching qualities of a cocktail, craft beer or rose, re-emerging at a time when changing consumer palates and our warming climate demands more of our wine be chilled in the fridge," says Emma Brown, marketing manager and fourth-generation family member.
"It fits the lighter, early drinking style of red wine that's recently become popular with grenache, gamay and so on.
"It drinks well with peppery cheese, barbecue meats or Indian curries loaded with spice and heat."
I'm all for a covered barbecue that allows you to roast things like you would in the oven. Give me some interchangeable grill and hot plates and I'm a happy woman.
My little Ziggy barbecue from Ziegler and Brown works well as you can cook with the lid open or closed, unlike some other kettle barbecues.
A lot of barbecues come with accessories such as rotisserie kits, warming racks, pizza stones and wok burners.
Think about what you cook, and how you cook, and find the set up that works best for you.
We all covet a built-in outdoor kitchen complete with sink and fridge.
Should I clean it?
Remember when dad would just pour a splash of KB on the hot plate while it was still warm and the cleaning was done?
I've also heard stories of how leaving some residual char flavours the plate.
Just give it a good scrub, maybe rub some oil in to protect from rust. The plates on my Ziggy barbecue go in the dishwasher.
And don't forget to empty the drip tray every now and again.
Tandoori lamb cutlets
These spicy and juicy barbecued lamb cutlets - served on a bed of sweet and nutty coconut rice - can be on the table in just 15 minutes.
- 2 tbsp gluten-free tandoori paste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 French-trimmed lamb cutlets
- 200g green beans
- 2 x 250g pkt microwave coconut steamed basmati rice
- 50g natural sliced almonds
- 80g currants
- 100g baby spinach
- tzatziki dip, to serve
1. Put the kettle on. Preheat a barbecue grill on medium-high.
2. Meanwhile, combine the tandoori paste and oil in a large bowl. Add the lamb and toss well to coat. Trim or shred the beans and place in a heatproof bowl.
3. Pour the boiling water over the beans and set aside to blanch. Grill the lamb for two to three minutes each side for medium, or until cooked to your liking.
4. Meanwhile, microwave the rice following packet directions. Transfer to a large bowl. Toss in the almonds and currants.
5. Drain the beans. Divide rice mixture, beans and spinach among serving plates. Top with the lamb. Season and serve with a dollop of tzatziki.
Note: Microwave coconut rice is an easy way to add depth of flavour and creaminess to the curry-marinated cutlets.
The ultimate grilled salad
For a gluten-free vegetarian side that will impress everyone, try this grilled vegetable salad topped with whipped basil feta and pine nuts.
- 2 red capsicums, quartered, deseeded
- 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced lengthways
- 250g butternut pumpkin, thinly sliced
- 1 small eggplant, thinly sliced into rounds
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil
- 200g cherry truss tomatoes, snipped into portions
- 175g mini capsicums
- 2 tbsp pine nuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp lemon rind
- 50g mixed salad leaves
Whipped basil feta:
- 200g Greek-style feta, crumbled
- 60ml thickened cream
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1. Place red capsicum in a large bowl. Add the zucchini, pumpkin, eggplant and thyme. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil. Toss to coat.
2. Heat a barbecue grill on high. Add the capsicum and cook for four to five minutes each side or until tender and skin is blistered and blackened. Transfer to a sealable bag.
3. Add the zucchini, pumpkin and eggplant to the grill. Cook the pumpkin for three to five minutes each side, and the zucchini and eggplant for two to three minutes each side, or until vegetables are charred and tender. Transfer to a bowl. Add the tomatoes and mini capsicums to the grill. Cook, turning, for two to three minutes or until beginning to char and collapse. Remove from the heat and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, to make the whipped basil feta, place the feta, cream, oil and lemon juice in a small food processor. Process, scraping down sides, until just smooth (do not over-process). Transfer to a bowl. Add the basil. Season with pepper. Stir to combine.
5. Heat remaining oil in a small frying pan over low heat. Add pine nuts. Cook, stirring, for three to four minutes or until just golden. Add lemon rind. Cook, stirring, for one minute.
6. Peel and discard skin from red capsicum. Add to vegetables in the bowl. Toss in the salad leaves. Arrange on a serving platter with the tomatoes and mini capsicums. Dollop with whipped feta and sprinkle with pine nut mixture. Serve.
Five-spice roast pork
Tuck into our barbecue makeover of roast pork and Asian greens. Easy to prep, it'll become a new family favourite all year round.
- 60ml oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2cm-piece fresh ginger, peeled, finely grated
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp Chinese five spice
- 1kg piece pork scotch (neck)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 baby pak choy, halved
- 65g bean sprouts, trimmed
- 1 fresh long red chilli, thinly sliced
- steamed jasmine rice, to serve
1. Combine the oyster sauce, honey, sugar, fish sauce, lemon juice, ginger, garlic and five spice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Boil for one to two minutes or until thickened slightly.
2. Preheat a barbecue grill (with hood) on high, with the hood closed. Use kitchen string to tie the pork at 3cm intervals. Brush the pork with half the oil. Place on the grill and cook, turning, for three to four minutes or until lightly charred all over. Transfer to a baking tray. Brush with half the sauce mixture.
3. Place the baking tray on the barbecue plate with the hood closed. Using indirect heat (see note) and brushing twice with remaining sauce mixture during cooking, cook for one hour or until pork is just cooked through. Cover with foil. Rest for five minutes.
4. Increase barbecue to high heat. Brush pak choy with remaining oil. Add to the grill and cook for two to three minutes each side or until lightly charred.
5. Serve pork with the pak choy, bean sprouts, chilli and rice, and drizzled with any resting juices.
Notes: To cook with indirect heat, ensure burners under the barbecue plate are turned off while grill burners are turned on. Place baking tray on the plate and close the hood. Make this dish gluten free by using gluten-free oyster sauce.
Portuguese chicken skewers
Barbecued chicken skewers plus a creamy potato salad equals an easy meal the whole family will love.
- 800g chat potatoes
- 80g whole-egg mayonnaise
- 125g peri peri marinade
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh oregano leaves, plus extra sprigs (optional), to serve
- 4 large (about 650g) chicken thigh fillets
- 3 lemons
- 4 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
- 2 green shallots, thinly sliced
- 80g mixed salad leaves
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. Prick each potato with a fork. Place on a large microwave-safe plate. Drizzle with 1 tbs water. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Microwave for six minutes or until tender. Stand for two minutes. Cut in half.
2. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, three tablespoons of the marinade and one teaspoon of oregano in a small bowl. Season. Set aside.
3. Cut each chicken thigh crossways into four pieces. Place in a bowl. Add the remaining marinade and oregano. Toss to coat. Using two skewers side-by-side, thread four pieces of chicken onto the skewers. Repeat with remaining chicken to make four chicken skewers in total.
4. Heat a greased barbecue grill and hotplate on medium. Cut two lemons in half. Juice remaining lemon and set aside. Cook skewers on the hotplate, turning, for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside for five minutes to rest. Cook lemon halves on the grill, flesh-side down for two to three minutes or until beginning to char.
5. Place the potato, radish, shallot and salad leaves in a bowl. Drizzle with oil and two tablespoons reserved lemon juice. Season. Toss to combine. Serve chicken skewers sprinkled with the extra oregano, if using, and with the potato salad, charred lemon halves and mayonnaise sauce.
Notes: You'll need eight pre-soaked bamboo skewers for this recipe. You can pick up peri peri marinade at the supermarket.