The summer has officially ended, but September has been dry and mostly sunny thus far. Forecasters suggest this good spell of weather might continue, and maybe we are on course for a late Indian summer…well as Indian as an Irish summer can be.
I am a winter girl, the season best suits my off-white skin and cold demeanour. Yet this year I am not ready to let go of summer and as a final act of defiance against the changing seasons will fire up the barbeque one more time.
I implore you all to join me and sample my tried and tested creations.
In early August I hosted a pre-wedding barbeque in honour of my sister and her future spouse, and to mark the special occasion invited a few attendees; I counted 15 so it was actually a few more than a few.
Preparing food on this scale was a daunting task, therefore I adopted the ‘go large or they could go home – hungry’ motto and made enough to feed twenty.
Eight people came hungry (drop outs – you know who you are), but with a surplus of left overs, the following day I was secretly glad the level of absenteeism was high because I didn’t have to make dinner.
On the menu was Blackened Pork, Sticky Chicken Thighs, Homemade Burgers and regular sausages from the butchers (pumping out a home made sausage meat would have taken things too far).
An array of side dishes created by my own fair hands accompanied the meat feast; although I will admit to employing a few helpers on the night for this element.
When deciding on the perfect pork seasoning I consulted several cookery books and took guidance from a Jamie Oliver recipe. I tweaked the recipe and added my own secret ingredient – Coca Cola – to keep the pork moist during the cooking process.
For best results leave the pork overnight in the fridge or if pressed for time – marinating for at least two-three hours before cooking.
I part baked the pork in the oven and finished it on the barbeque to create a charred and smoky effect, hence the name blackened pork.
- Pork loin – a medium sized piece
- 1 heaped tsp fennel seeds
- 1 heaped tsp allspice
- 1 heaped tsp coriander seeds
- 1 heaped tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
- 1 heaped tsp mustard
- 2 table spoons of olive oil
- 100-150ml of coca cola
- Remove the pork from packaging and make sure the meat is well dried. I used a medium sized, long piece of meat.
- Blend together the fennel seeds, all spice, coriander, nutmeg and paprika and then stir in the mustard and olive oil to make a paste.
- Rub this into the pork and leave to marinade for at least three-hours or overnight in the fridge.
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees.
- On the hob heat a good glug of olive oil in a non-stick, oven proof dish, add the pork and brown each side.
- Pour the coke into the bottom of the dish, under the pork and put the lid on.
- Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 1 – 1 ½ hours. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the loin, allow for 30 minutes per 500grams plus 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes baste the pork with juices from the bottom of the dish.
- Once the pork has cooked (do not overcook as it still needs to go on the barbeque), remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes.
- Place the pork on the barbeque, grill until each side becomes dark and has a charred effect, this should take no longer than 10 minutes.
- Slice the pork, drizzle over juices from the bottom of the cooking dish and serve.
Honey and Soy glazed chicken thighs
I used my own tried and tested marinade for the chicken thighs combining soy sauce, Chinese five spice and honey.
As before I started cooking the thighs in the oven for 15-20 minutes and finished on the barbeque.
- 10-15 chicken thighs
- 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 heaped teaspoon of Chinese five spice
- Trim the excess fat from the thighs (I used thighs without the bone, drumsticks will work just as well).
- Combine the soy sauce, honey and Chinese five spice to make the marinade.
- Place the thighs on a baking tray and cover with the marinade, ensuring they are well coated.
- Again for best results leave overnight in the fridge to soak up the marinade or for two-three hours before cooking.
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees.
- I used thighs without the bone and was concerned they might fall apart during the cooking process so threaded them on to metal barbeque skewers to cook in the oven.
- Part cook the thighs in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Transfer the skewers to the barbeque and cook for a further 15 minutes and turn regularly.
I am a massive fan of homemade burgers and believe they are worth the effort. Some people add onion, but with many friends who dislike the texture I sneaked in a sprinkle of onion salt instead.
If you are adding onion, dice it really finely and sauté before adding to the mixture. This will ensure there is no raw onion in the finished product..
- 3 pounds mince beef
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 2 heaped teaspoons of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon of onion salt
- Salt and pepper to season
- 1 beaten egg
- Put the mince into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the tomato puree, smoked paprika, onion salt, salt and pepper and mix through with your hands.
- Add the beaten egg to the mixture.
- Place the burger meat on a tray or board and shape into patties. You should get 15-20 good sized burgers from this mixture.
- Set the burgers in the fridge for 20minutes to rest and then cook on the barbeque.
- This should take approximately 20 minutes; turn the burgers regularly to ensure they do not burn.
To accompany this delicious meat feast, I had chorizo pasta salad, cous cous, my version of potato salad and homemade coleslaw.
Recipes for these to follow.