A barbecue party that I recently hosted made me realize how much we stress upon the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘when’ of it all. Amalgamating guest preferences, cooking techniques on the barbecue grill (with an audience) and the man hours required can be quite a task, you will agree. Add to that the stress of getting all the supplements ready – the tableware, the starters, the drinks et all – all for your happy guests and oh, not to undermine the importance of good weather!
While choosing the drinks and tableware can be quite standard, my battle was with the ‘what’ part. Countless internet BBQ recipes, suggestions from my friends and hit past BBQ recipes all contributed to the final BBQ menu, of course, and now for my part, I will be a good Samaritan and share it – all tried and tested for a guaranteed good time. I am not saying they are all original but they do have my trademark style and sass as you might find as you read further on. Please keep in mind that the food was being prepared for 35 guests which included 15 children.
My husband’s favourite, roast lamb was a must for every party we hosted back in London. Hong Kong however, does not have a big lamb-eating market and one can only source this meat at International or special cuisine shops – hence it isn’t on our regular menu. Kitchen size and oven specs also make a difference, but where there is a will there is a way!
• A leg of lamb (2.5 kgs)
• 8-10 whole, peeled garlic cloves
• Olive oil
• Fresh herbs (parsley and rosemary)
Take a good measure of olive oil in a small bowl, add the chopped herbs and keep it aside. After washing the lamb and cutting out the excess fat, make deep slits into the flesh, sliding in garlic cloves all the way to the bone. Do this across the whole piece of meat. Now rub salt and pepper all over and after that rub in the olive oil marinade. Cover the whole piece of meat in cling film making sure no part is left exposed. Put it in your fridge leaving it to marinate overnight.
The next day preferably about 5 hours before the party begins, pre-heat the oven. Take a large pan, heat it and then put the whole leg in it. On medium heat, let it sizzle for some time on both sides, letting the marinade get absorbed into the flesh and sealing the cuts made. Meanwhile lay out a large piece of foil on a flat surface. After about 10-12 minutes when the flesh has turned a light brown, you can take the lamb off the fire and put it on the foil while still warm. Cover the lamb completely in foil. Now place it in the warm oven, preferably in a flat oven-proof dish to catch the fat that might ooze out. I just used baking paper which worked fine. Depending on the temperature used and the kind of oven it takes between 2 to 3.5 hours for the meat to get cooked. It’s best not to overcook it as you will also be roasting it later on the barbecue and you want the flesh to be soft and moist.
At the barbecue or you could even do this at home, uncover the lamb and carve it. While you could serve immediately as the lamb would still be warm inside the foil, keeping the slices on the barbecue would add to the flavour and colour. Do not grill too much else the meat might get tough.
Serve with a smile and accept all the compliments. You deserve them!
I decided to offer both spicy and tangy flavours to the chicken. Hence the marination was done in two separate lots.
• 10 pieces of boned chicken legs
• 10 pieces of boneless chicken
• Tandoori masala marinade – tandoori powder, plain yoghurt, lime
• Honey-mustard-vinegar marinade
De-skin the chicken pieces and after all of washing them well, make small slits in their sides. Divide the chicken pieces equally in two separate containers. Add the marinades separately and rub it in well. Add salt and pepper to both. Leave them well coated and covered overnight in the refrigerator.
On the day of the party, lay out the chicken pieces on the grill. Enjoy!
No recipe necessary for these easy and lovable bread rolls with sausage snack!
Being a preferred vegetarian, I wanted to put an extra thought and effort into these dishes that more often than not, constitute just a small part of the menu. If you got vegetarians at your party, then we make them happy with great food!
After going through several recipes of baking/roasting/grilling potatoes, I finally decided to make my own version combining 2-3 recipes.
• 10 baby potatoes (smooth and round)
• Fresh chopped herbs (parsley/rosemary/thyme)
Thoroughly wash the potatoes. Boil water in a large vessel and put the potatoes in it. Simmer on medium flame for about 5-10 minutes not letting the potatoes get too soft. Drain them and pour cold water over them. Roughly dry them on a paper towel and put them together in a big bowl. Add a dollop of butter or mayo or both, some chopped herbs, salt and pepper. After coating the potatoes with this mixture, take a large piece of foil paper and place half the potatoes in it. Cover them tight leaving no gaps. Do the same with the other batch. You can even do this a night before the party. Just keep the potatoes tightly foil-wrapped in the fridge.
At the barbecue, just place the packets over the grill and let them get cooked for about 20-30 minutes. You might have to turn the pack once. Serve hot and crispy from the foil.
• 1 big sized aubergine or brinjal or eggplant or whatever you call it lovingly!
• Salt and pepper
• Olive oil
Slice the aubergine into medium to thin sized slices. Put them together in a bowl. Add the salt, pepper and olive oil and rub well into the slices taking care not to break them. Cover and leave to marinate overnight.
Rub a little oil on the barbecue grill before putting the aubergine slices. Turn them when sizzling and fragrant.
Cous cous Salad
• 3 cups of cous cous
• Chopped onion/spring onions
• Chopped coriander
• 1 tsp mustard seeds
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• Mix nuts, raisins and berries
• Salt and pepper
Put the cous cous in a bowl. Add boiling water to it, fluff up with a fork and leave it for 7-10 minutes. Meanwhile heat a little oil in a large pan, add the chopped onions keeping on medium flame, add the cumin and mustard seeds. Add coriander, salt and pepper, mixing well. Add the boiled cous cous and stir it a bit. Add the nuts, berries and raisins of your choice. Leave it covered for a minute or so.
Green salad with Pomelo and Mango
• A mix of romaine, mesclun, lettuce and rocket leaves
• Peeled and cut pomelo
• Cut mango
• Dressing – Honey, mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper.
Put all the leaves and fruits together in a large glass bowl and roughly mix them. Keep the dressing ready in a separate small jar or bowl. Add the dressing just before serving!
• 1 ready-mix pack of dahi vada
• Sweet chutney – tamarind paste, jaggery
• 500 gms plain yoghurt (preferably Greek)
• Chilly powder
• Cumin seeds powder
• Mango chaat powder
This common Indian street-food was simpler to make than I thought it would be. Abandoning my initial idea of making vegetarian burger patties, I decided to try my hand with this delicious snack. I had bought a ready-mix dahi vada pack earlier from the Indian store. Following instructions given on the pack. I mixed the given batter with water and some oil. Next I heated the oil in a deep-frying pan. I slowly spooned out small portions and let it out in a lump into the heated oil. These deep-fried dumplings were my vadas. After finishing the whole batter, I took a vessel and filled it with water and then gently put all the vadas in that water to let them soak for the next 20 minutes.
Next comes the sweet chutney. For this you need to boil one cup water and then add the tamarind paste and the jaggery to it. Mix well and let it boil till the mixture thickens. Keep aside. For the yoghurt base, beat the yoghurt in a mixing bowl and add a bit of sugar depending on taste. Coming back to the vadas, you will now notice that they will have increased in size and changed colour a little too. Take them out of the water one by one gently squeezing out all the water between your palms while taking care not to break the vada. Place them in a flat serving dish side by side. Now pour all the yoghurt over the vadas covering them completely. Spoon out the sweet chutney and let it drizzle over the yoghurt. You could also add green spicy chutney made of green chillies and mint. Sprinkle chilly, mango and cumin powder. Garnish with chopped coriander.
• 500 gms macaroni pasta
• Grated parmesan cheese
• Salt, pepper
This dish can go well with adults and kids alike. Boil macaroni pasta till al-dente, do not make them too soft. Drain, rinse under cold water and keep aside. Prepare the cream sauce. Heat a little butter with olive oil and add any plain flour as a thickening agent. Add boiled milk slowly while stirring the sauce gently till all the milk is used. Add salt and white pepper. Can also add some dry herbs and onion powder. After the sauce is nice and creamy, add grated cheese and turn off the fire. Lay out the pasta in an oven-proof glass dish and pour the cheese sauce over it. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Put under the grill for about 15 minutes till you get a nice, warm colour on top. Try and do the baking bit just before the party to keep it nice and warm. Cover with foil if necessary.
Baguette (can cut and grill before serving) with a dip (Mix cream cheese with yoghurt and fresh herbs)
Doritos with hummus
As my main focus was the food, I made these brownies using a Betty Crocker ready mix. But I accepted the compliments nevertheless as there is effort involved in mixing, baking, cooling and cutting the brownies. Not to mention the washing later! I really wanted to add a dash of Baileys Irish cream to the mix but resisted since my guests also included children. These gooey brownies were sizzled on the grill before being served with almond ice cream!
Mocha-Almond ice cream – straight from the super market
Fresh fruits platter
A colourful big platter decorated with raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, grapes and blue berries. Could keep a sweet honey and yoghurt dip in the center!
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