Sunday, May 9, 2010

Anyone for a Barbecue?/ Braai?

Apologies followers, I have been crazy busy doing birthday cakes for the last two weeks - which I will post later. But in the meantime the weather has cooled somewhat so we have been spending some time outdoors. I know that sounds bizarre but 45 degree heat is not my idea of a good time! I prefer more moderate temperatures of around 28 degrees. It has been 8 months since we had a decent braai - that's a barbecue for my Aussie friends - and since the gas variety just doesn't give that smoky flavour I love, I sent poor Chris out to buy a Weber - the kind that uses charcoal! Then I invited a bunch of friends over to dinner and set about thinking about a menu. I chose some of my favourite ingredients and then worked the magic from there. Rib eye steaks on the bone - lovely thick ones, Chicken, Radishes, Beetroot and I had Plums in the fridge which needed using up.

So the menu ended up as follows:
  • Rib Eye marinated in Lemon Zest - yes I love lemon- heaps of fresh Thyme, a little Garlic, White Cracked Pepper and Peppery Olive Oil - marinated at room temperature for at least an hour or 2
  • Whole Chicken with Butter and Sage Basting
  • Potatoes with Rosemary (just a hint), Fresh Cream and Parmesan
  • Simple Cos and Radish salad with Maldon Salt
  • Roasted Beetroot with Red Onion, Feta and White Balsamic dressing
  • And to finish? Plum Tart.

We had 7 people for dinner so I used 1 large free range chicken and 2 x 500g Rib Eyes on the bone. Do all the prep beforehand and getting things all ready at the same time will be a cinch. The chicken will take 60 minutes to cook on the Weber and the steaks only about 7 minutes.
I made the Plum Tart in the morning and also the beetroot salad. I washed the Cos and spun it dry and put it in a bag in the fridge ready for plating, I even sliced the radish so I could just toss that through at the last minute

Marinated Rib Eye Steak
  • 2 Large Rib Eye Steaks on the Bone
  • 1 Fresh Lemon Zested
  • A Handful of fresh Thyme
  • White Pepper - in a grinder
  • 3 - 4 Garlic cloves crushed
  • A Couple of Glugs of Good Peppery Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Marinate the steaks for at least and hour at room temperature - remember meat cooks more evenly when it is at room temperature. Just before the chicken is due to be done, cook the steaks for 3 minutes on each side directly over the hot coals - with the Weber lid on.

Butter & Sage Basted Chicken

  • 1 Large Free Range Chicken
  • Fresh Sage Leaves - about a handful
  • 3 - 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Fresh Lemon - use the one that you zested for the steaks and remove all the pith
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Clean out the cavity of all the nasty bits - yes you have to get your hands in there but they can make the chicken taste bitter and also remove the small fatty gland on the popes nose which does the same. I like to wash the bird well and then dry thoroughly with kitchen towel. Use the lemon that you zested and remove all the pith and place into the cavity along with some torn up Sage leaves. Make sure the butter is soft and then gently lift the skin away from the flesh working right down to the legs and then massage the butter under the skin and add a couple of the sage leaves. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Prepare you Weber for indirect cooking and once the coals are ready place the chicken in the centre of the grill, close the lid and leave it until you need to cook the steaks. The smell wafting out will have your guests tummies rumbling........

Rustic Potato Wedges Done with Parmesan, Cream and Rosemary

Pre heat the oven to 200C and Slice the potatoes into wedges as soon as the chicken goes into the oven

  • 9 - 10 Potatoes
  • 1/2 Cup cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Few sprigs of fresh rosemary
Leave the skin on the potatoes and use about 1 potato per person plus a few for good luck, place them in a roasting pan and toss well with the Cream, Parmesan, Rosemary, Salt & Pepper.
Roast for about 40 minutes or until golden, the cream will go all gooey and brown and is seriously delicious.

Roasted Beetroot Salad with Feta, Red Onion and White Balsamic

Prepare this in the morning then it is done and ready for serving. Use about 2 small beetroot per person or 1 large each Beetroot (as much as you need) 1 Small Red Onion 30ml White Wine Vinegar 5 ml Sugar Feta Cheese - some White Balsamic Glaze/Cream about 5ml Cook the beetroot in boiling water until just tender, drain and cool and then peel - it's a bit messy but what the heck? Slice the onion into very thin slices and place in a bowl with the white wine vinegar and sugar and leave to marinate most of the day (in the fridge) Once the beetroot is peeled, quarter them and place in a roasting tray, drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil and toss well. Roast for about 40 minutes or until the beetroot begin getting crinkly Allow to cool and then Toss with the Balsamic and the drained onion and top with crumbled Feta
Serve in a pretty white bowl

Lastly: Simple Cos Salad with Radish and Maldon Salt.

I just love this - the Cos is wonderfully crispy, and the radish is so pretty and crisp and the best way to eat radish is with salt. It is so easy, simply wash the Cos, spin and store in a bag until ready to use.
Slice the radishes and toss with the Cos and then sprinkle with crushed Maldon and a drizzle of mild extra virgin Olive Oil