Evening barbecues can be very relaxing, and always taste much nicer than the same dish cooked indoors. I’ve kept these recipes simple, but don’t hesitate to let your imagination flow.
When using a charcoal barbecue to make my grilled sausage and homemade chilli coleslaw bap, however, there are a few rules to observe.
First, make sure to remove leftover ashes before use; keep an area in your barbecue for indirect heat which is free of charcoal; and allow a good 20 to 30 minutes before cooking for the coals to get white-hot.
I like to add fresh herbs such as rosemary or sage to the barbecue to enhance and flavour the sausages.
Next is a tasty summer-greens pasta, perfect hot or cold. Although you can use any of the great vegetables now in season, fresh peas are the star ingredient of this dish. If freshly picked, I don’t actually cook them at all — all they need is a sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of lemon.
Ingredients (serves 4): ■ 400g spirali pasta ■ ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda ■ 1 broccoli head, cut into florets ■ 100g peas ■ 2 tbsp oil ■ 1 shallot, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, crushed (optional) ■ 100g baby spinach ■ 200g mascarpone ■ 3 tsp wild garlic/basil pesto ■ ½ lemon, zest and juice
■ 2 tbsp Dijon mustard ■ 4 tbsp parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve ■ ½ tsp chilli flakes ■ Salt and pepper
Method: 1. Place the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water and cook according to the pack instructions. 2. In a second saucepan, bring some water to the boil. Add a sprinkle of salt and bicarbonate of soda. This will help the greens to remain greener. 3. Add the broccoli florets and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Add the peas for the last 30 seconds to just soften. Remove from the heat and drain immediately. 4. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, drizzle some oil and add the shallot and crushed garlic if using. 5. Sauté for 30 seconds, then add the part-cooked broccoli, peas, and spinach leaves. 6.. Add the mascarpone, green pesto, lemon zest and juice, and Dijon mustard to the pan. Stir well to break up the mascarpone and combine the ingredients. Once the mascarpone is melted, toss to coat the vegetables. 7. Next, add the parmesan, and season well with salt, pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes according to taste. 8. Once the pasta is cooked, remove from the heat and drain most of the water. Retain a little of the cooking water to help bind the sauce if needed. 9. Add the cooked pasta to the green sauce and return to a low heat. Toss to coat the pasta. 10. If the dish looks dry, simply add a tablespoon or two of the leftover pasta water. Season to taste and serve sprinkled with a little extra grated parmesan.
Ingredients (serves 4): ■ ½ sweetheart cabbage, shredded ■ 1 carrot, grated ■ ½ onion, sliced ■ 1 garlic clove, crushed ■ 3 tbsp mayonnaise ■ 2 tsp chilli jam ■ 2 tbsp oil ■ 4 mini red peppers, halved ■ 200g cherry tomatoes ■ 2 sprigs thyme ■ 4 sprigs oregano ■ 4 sausages ■ 4 floury baps ■ Salt and pepper
Method 1. Preheat the barbecue with a cast iron pan. 2. In the meantime, prepare the coleslaw. In a bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, carrot, onion and garlic. 3. Add the mayonnaise and chilli jam. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. Cover with cling film and refrigerate until needed. 4. Next, drizzle some oil on the cast iron pan and add the peppers, tomatoes, thyme and oregano. 5. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes until coloured and just softened. Remove from the heat and transfer on to a plate. 6. Barbecue the sausages for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through, turning to colour on all sides. Move to indirect heat if they begin to burn. 7. Place a sausage in each bap, pile with grilled peppers, tomatoes and some chilli coleslaw. Enjoy immediately.
TOP TIP:GET JARRED WITH THE PERFECT CONDIMENTS TO COMPLIMENT ANY MEAL
A BIT on the Side is a small Irish company making condiments that you need to get your hands on this barbecue season. Their little jars are bursting with flavour. I personally love the Green Jalapeno Jelly (€3.50), which will enhance any barbecue, tastes great in salads, and can be spread over burgers or fish. I also recommend the Basil Jelly (€3.50), which goes well with strawberries or spooned over fresh tomatoes and mozzarella for a twist on caprese salad. Check out abitontheside.ie.