( Theguardian) – For me, summer picnics and barbecues are terms that should be used very loosely, focusing more on the pleasures of eating outside than the need continually to stoke the flames or to set up in the middle of an overgrown field with a checked rug and hamper.
Not only that, but the unpredictability of British summers means that any barbecue recipe needs to come with an inbuilt, last-minute-decamp-inside option. These recipes for both indoor and outdoor cooking work – and I will leave you to take a rain check on the day.
Harissa-marinated paneer kebabs
With the paneer marinated and the rest taking just seconds to chop and make, this is really easy cooking for summer days. Cubes of firm tofu also work well instead of the paneer, if you prefer. Makes eight skewers, to serve four.Advertisement
200g plain yoghurt
2 tbsp rose harissa (or regular harissa)
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp honey
Salt and black pepper
500g paneer, cut into 2.5cm cubes
3 tbsp olive oil
1½ tbsp lemon juice
8 wooden kebab sticks (soak them in water for a few hours first)
1 medium iceberg lettuce, trimmed and cut into 2cm-wide wedges
¼ small red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
15g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Mix the yoghurt in a medium bowl with the harissa, cumin, coriander, honey and half a teaspoon of salt. Add the paneer, stir to coat, then cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.
Mix the oil and lemon juice in a small bowl with a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and set aside.
Light the barbecue an hour before you want to eat (or, 10 minutes before, turn the grill to its highest setting). Skewer the paneer on to the kebab sticks – about six cubes per stick.
If using a grill, spread out the kebabs on a wire rack above a foil-lined baking tray, spoon over any excess marinade and grill for eight minutes, turning once halfway through, so the edges of the paneer go golden-brown. If you’re barbecuing the kebabs, wipe off most of the marinade, lay the skewers on the hot barbecue and cook until nicely grilled all over, brushing with marinade as need be.Advertisement
Meanwhile, mix the lettuce, onion and parsley in a large bowl with the oil and lemon juice mix, and serve alongside the cooked kebabs.
These instructions are for cooking the celeriac indoors, but if you want to do it on the barbecue, grill it before mixing with the marinade, then spread the slices on a sheet of tin foil, cover with more foil and cook on a cooler part of the barbecue. This recipe was inspired the marvellous Le Pigeon Cookbook. Serves four.
1 medium celeriac, peeled, trimmed, cut in half lengthways, then each half cut into about 6 1.5cm-thick slices (or, if using 2 smaller celeriacs, just cut into 1.5cm-thick rounds)
1½ tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
100g rindless young, sharp goat’s cheese log, such as Rosary, cut into 12 discs
For the BBQ sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 tsp cumin seeds
¾ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
100ml red wine
35g muscovado sugar
30g black treacle
60g tomato ketchup
2 shaved strips of orange skin, plus 2 tbsp orange juice
2 tsp soy sauce
First make the sauce. Add the oil to a small saucepan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook for seven to eight minutes, stirring from time to time, until soft and caramelised. Add the garlic and spices, fry for a minute, stirring constantly, then add the remaining sauce ingredients. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for five minutes, until thick and syrupy, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and set aside
Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6. Mix the celeriac in a large bowl with the oil, a third of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Put a griddle pan on a high heat (and ventilate your kitchen). Once hot, add the celeriac in batches and grill for two to three minutes, adjusting the placement of the celeriac slices halfway through, so they get charred in a crisscross pattern. Turn, and repeat for two to three minutes more, again making the crisscross char pattern, then add to the bowl with the sauce.
Mix to coat the celeriac in the sauce, then use your fingers or tongs to lift each piece out of the marinade on to a large parchment-lined baking tray – they need to fit snugly side by side. Bake for six minutes, then brush the celeriac with half the remaining marinade and return to the oven for six minutes more. Brush the celeriac slices with the last of the marinade and top each with a slice of cheese. Bake for four minutes, until the cheese melts slightly, then serve at once.
Thai-style barbecued lamb chops
If you’re worried about overcooking lamb chops on a barbecue, just finish them off in the oven. But it’s not a problem if you want to do all the cooking on the barbecue (or on a ridged griddle pan on a stove top): just move them to the side of the barbecue, where it is not so hot, cover with tin foil and leave to finish cooking there. (If you do go for this option, though, you’ll have to discard the excess marinade, because it won’t get cooked.) The salad that goes with these is wonderful, but you can do without it if you want to save time. I don’t mind biting into a whole cardamom pod, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so pick them out of the marinade before cooking, if you prefer. Serves four.
2 tbsp coconut (or groundnut) oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2 tsp black mustard seeds
5g fresh curry leaves (about 40 leaves)
¼ tsp ground turmeric
2½ tbsp Thai green curry paste
400ml coconut milk
1 tsp finely grated palm sugar (or use caster sugar instead)
8 lamb rack cutlets, untrimmed
1 lime, quartered, to serve
For the salad
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into julienne strips
1 small mango, peeled and cut into julienne strips
100g mangetouts, thinly sliced lengthways
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
100g radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
Roughly grated flesh of ½ small coconut (70g net weight)
10g mint leaves, roughly shredded
15g Thai basil leaves, roughly shredded
15g coriander, roughly chopped
For the dressing
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp groundnut oil
Add the coconut oil to a large sauté pan on a medium-high heat. Once it has melted, add the onion and cardamom pods, and fry for eight to 10 minutes, until the onion is soft and caramelised. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and turmeric, and fry for another minute. Stir in the curry paste, coconut milk, sugar and half a teaspoon of salt, then tip into a large bowl and set aside to cool. Add the lamb cutlets, mix with your hands until the meat is well coated, then refrigerate for at least four hours, and ideally overnight.
Put all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl and set aside. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
An hour before cooking, take the lamb out of the fridge so it can come up to room temperature. If using a barbecue, light it an hour beforehand, too. Otherwise, heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7 15 minutes before you want to cook.
Scrape most of the marinade off the cutlets (again, your hands are the best tool for this), reserving the marinade, and lay the cutlets on the barbecue (or, if cooking indoors, on a very hot griddle). Cook for three minutes, turning once halfway, so they get charred on both sides, then finish off in the oven: transfer to a parchment-lined baking tray, spoon over the remaining marinade and roast for six minutes, until just cooked but still pink.
Just before serving, dress the salad and divide between four plates. Lay two cutlets on each plate and serve with a spoonful of the cooked marinade and a wedge of lime, to squeeze over.