Recipe: Smoked roast ham in my CharBroil Big Easy barbecue

It’s hard to beat a good roast ham. It’s something usually associated with Christmas or special occasions but it doesn’t have to be. It’s always a great thing to have in the fridge – and even better if you’ve cooked it yourself!

I roasted and smoked this one in my CharBroil Big Easy barbecue. The glaze gives it a beautiful sweetness and you could really taste the smokiness from the alder wood chips. I’m lucky enough to have two large bay trees in my garden so I snipped off some fresh leaves to add to the smoker which definitely added flavour.

Make sure you score the fat of the ham before basting. This helps the flavours really soak through.

The meat thermometer is a handy way to help gauge when the ham is ready. If you’re not sure it is done, keep roasting for a bit longer – as long as it’s not burning it will be fine as the basting keeps it moist.

Roast smoked ham

With an orange and Honey Jack Daniels glaze

Place the alder wood chips and bay leaves into the smoker compartment and turn the CharBroil Big Easy barbecue to a low/medium setting. I chose to cook the ham on a lower setting for longer and it came out lovely and moist.

Leave the barbecue to heat up for about 15 minutes.

Place your ham in the basket and cook it for 25 minutes per pound.

Baste it with the sauce using a brush every 15-20 minutes.

Before taking it out, check the internal temperature of the meat has reached 140C.

Baste it one more time and leave it to rest for at least half an hour before carving.

CharBroil Big Easy

The beautifully browned smoked ham

For the baste

Half a cup of fresh orange juice

Half a cup of honey Jack Daniels

1 cup of brown sugar

1 tsps of ground ginger

Mix everything together thoroughly and baste the ham regularly using a brush.

To smoke

Alder woodchips

6 fresh bay leaves

 

CharBroil Big Easy

The luscious, thinly sliced ham

Recipe book review: Mountain Berries & Desert Spices

I’ve come to baking quite late in life and still find it quite miraculous! You mix wet and dry ingredients, stick them in the oven and hopefully end up with some delicious treat. Like magic!

Mountain Berries & Desert Spices by Sumayya Usmani offers a whole new range of baking opportunities as a journey through the sweet treats of Pakistan. Many and varied they are too. The book starts off with explanations of the exotic ingredients used and moves from delightful fruity dishes through puddings, biscuits, breads, pancakes, doughnuts, samosas, pastries.

The recipes are easy to follow and all the ingredients are readily available in the UK. If you can’t find them in the shops you will online. Here’s a beautiful recipe to tempt you.

And you can win your own copy of this marvellous book – I have two to give away. Find out how to enter below.

Cardamom and rose water marzipan lace

(Badam ki jail)

This Hyderabadi sweetmeat translates as ‘almond lace’ and the name conjures up visions of delicate white fairytale lace. It’s a festive sweet for celebrations and gifts. The art is in its making as the traditional methods are laborious and badam ki jail is always made in abundance. The mixture resembles marzipan, but it dries out quickly so you must work fast.

Preparation 30–40 minutes + overnight soaking

Cooking 10–15 minutes

Makes 8–10

The ingredients

1kg cups almonds with skin on

2 tsp rose water

1kg caster (superfine) sugar

4–6 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground

Butter, for greasing

500g icing (confectioners’) sugar, for rolling

To decorate

Edible silver or gold leaf

15g ground pistachios

The instructions

Soak the almonds in a bowl of water overnight. The next day, the skins should come off effortlessly.

Place the almonds in a food processor with the rose water and grind until they are very fine and paste-like, then place in a heavy-based saucepan and add the caster sugar and ground cardamom. Cook over a very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and leaves the sides of the pan. Transfer the mixture to a greased glass dish, cover with clingfilm and allow to cool to the touch.

Now form the mixture into 2 balls. Roll each ball out as thinly as possible, dusting both the board and the rolling pin liberally with icing sugar. Using a 5–7.5cm/2–3-inch cookie cutter (flower shape is best) cut out 16–20 shapes. Divide the shapes into two equal groups. On one of the groups, cover the surface of the biscuits with silver or gold leaf. Then using a tiny cookie cutter (such as hearts), make holes in the middle of each shape in the second group. Place these on top of the silver or gold leaf covered ones.

Dust with ground pistachios and serve or store in an airtight container for 2–4 days.

Recipe extracted from Mountain Berries and Desert Spice by Sumayya Usmani, published by Frances Lincoln, an imprint of The Quarto Group. 

I’m regularly delving into this amazing book. First I made these lovely little sweet puff pastry biscuits called Bakar khani. Very simple, made from puff pastry sprinkled with ground cardamom, poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Sweet, spicy exoticness.

Win a copy of Mountain Berries and Desert Spice

The prize

Two copies of Mountain Berries & Desert Spice by Sumayya Usmani worth £20 each.

How to enter

Answer the following question in the comment section of Eating Covent Garden.

What country is the inspiration behind Mountain Berries & Desert Spice?

A India

B Morocco

C Pakistan

D Iran

Terms and conditions

Competition only for residents of the UK.

Closing date for entry will be Sunday 2 July 2017 at midnight.

The winner will be chosen at random after the closing date.

The winner will be notified by email.

No cash alternatives to the prize will be offered. The prize is not transferable.

The editor’s decision is final.

Competition: Win a Char-Broil Big Easy barbecue

Competition: Your chance to win a Char-Broil Big Easy barbecue

You’ll no doubt have noticed that I’ve been getting all excited about a new barbecue in my life and trying all sorts of new dishes. Well, I still am, the Big Easy has a lot of tricks up its sleeve – it’s an amazingly versatile piece of cooking equipment.

So I’m thrilled to tell you that you have the opportunity to win one of your very own. Right here on eatingcoventgarden.com

The Char-Broil Big Easy is the UK’s first gas three-in-one barbecue from US barbecue brand leader Char-Broil. It’s gas-fired for convenient cooking and is a smoker, roaster and grill all in one package. It’s perfect for roasts – even for large gatherings as it has the capacity to cook up to 11kgs. And there’s a grill on top, ideal for steaks, chops and salads.

I also love the smoking aspect. You fill the pull-out smoker box with wood chips and while you’re cooking add a smokey flavour at the same time.

Char-Broil Big Easy

The top of the barbecue is perfect for grilling

I’ve created several recipes for you to try on your new Big Easy – should you be the lucky winner – and there’s more to come. Here’s what you can find so far on EatingCoventGarden.

Ideas with Roast chicken

Hot smoked salmon

Roast vegetables

Peri peri chicken legs

Char-Broil Big Easy

Or how about roasting a juicy chicken

You can find out more about the Char-Broil Big Easy by clicking here.

The prize

One Char-Broil Big Easy SRG barbecue with a value of £299.99

Competition: Char-Broil Big Easy

Here’s some inside information on the fabulous Big Easy

How to enter

1 Follow eatingcoventgarden.com by entering your email in the box at the top in the right hand column.

2 When you receive the email (which should be immediately), confirm that you want to subscribe.

3 Like Char-Broil on Facebook by clicking here.

3 Answer the following question in the comment section of eatingcoventgarden.com

What three ways can you cook in the versatile Char-Broil Big Easy?

A Boil, roast and fry

B Roast, grill and smoke

C Grill, smoke and boil

D Steam, grill and roast

Terms and conditions

Competition only for residents of the UK.

Closing date for entry will be Monday 31 July 2017 at midnight.

The winner will be chosen at random after the closing date.

The winner will be notified by email.

No cash alternatives to the prize will be offered. The prize is not transferable.

Prize does not include the gas canister.

The editor’s decision is final.

Recipe: Peri Peri chicken on my CharBroil Big Easy

Recipe: Peri peri chicken legs

It’s that time of the week again – barbecue time on my Char-Broil Big Easy. Today I’m trying to perfect my peri peri marinade. Peri peri (or piri piri as it’s sometimes spelt) is Portuguese in origin and is very popular in the African countries of Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa.

Most people associate peri peri with restaurant/takeaway chain Nando’s – and not surprisingly as it has over 1,000 outlets in over 30 countries around the world. I’ve had my share of Nando’s chicken and delicious it is, too. They also constantly produce fabulously clever TV adverts which you should google and check out – they’ll give you a real laugh.

Anyway, I digress. Today I’ve come up with this beautifully simple peri peri marinade which adds a real bite to chicken. I only marinated for about three hours – overnight would be better. And then cooked it on the grill of my Char-Broil Big Easy for around 20 minutes. The legs came out crispy on the outside and beautifully succulent inside.

I served the chicken with some slow-roasted cherry tomatoes which I cooked in the oven on low for about an hour. A match made in heaven.

Serves 2

2 legs of chicken, skin on

For the peri peri marinade

3 large fresh chillies

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp oregano

1 tbsp paprika

200ml olive oil

100ml red wine vinegar

Roast the chillis whole in the oven at 180C for about 20 minutes until softened and slightly blackened

When they have cooled slightly, discard the stem and add them into a blender with the garlic, salt, oregano, paprika, olive oil and vinegar.

Blend until you have a liquid marinade.

Rub the marinade thoroughly over both sides of the chicken and leave to marinate in a bowl for at least two hours, turning regularly. You can do it overnight to increase the flavours.

Cook the chicken on the grill of the barbecue for about 10mins each side, checking regularly.

The chicken marinates next to the cherry tomatoes awaiting slow roasting

The chicken sizzles on the grill

Close up on the juicy, crispy chicken legs

All ready to serve

Slow roast tomatoes

Serves 2

About 10 cherry tomatoes, on the vine

4tbsps olive oil

Pour the olive oil over the tomatoes

Roast in a low oven (around 90C) until the tomatoes are soft and sweet – about an hour.

Char-Broil Big Easy tomatoes

There’s something irresistible about the sweetness of slow-roasted tomatoes

Have you perfected a peri peri marinade? Do you think it’s better than mine? Do get in touch, I’d love to try it.

Find out more about the fabulous Char-Broil Big Easy at charbroil.eu.

 

Recipe: Moroccan roast vegetables and lamb in my Big Easy barbecue

I’m loving my Char-Broil Big Easy barbecue. The more I experiment, the more I discover how versatile it is.

Today I’m going to make Moroccan-style roast vegetables – well it is a roaster after all.

It’s a simple dish. Just make sure your veg are cut in similar size pieces – except the little peppers which I kept whole. Then douse in olive oil and cumin and you’re ready to go.

I popped the roasting tray on the rack in the barbecue with the temperature on medium-high and checked them after 20 minutes – well it was my first effort roasting vegetables in my new acquisition.

In the end they need around 30 minutes – quicker than in a conventional oven. Once the veg had cooled, I added the fresh mint leaves and little knobs of soft goats’ cheese on top, squeezed the juice of a lemon evenly over and added a couple of slugs of olive oil. No need to transfer the veg to another dish – any excuse to save on the washing up.

I love cumin and it goes perfectly with these vegetables. And also with the delicious lamb chops we bought from our local butcher around the corner. I used the grill part of the Big Easy for them – cooking for about 5 minutes on each side until they were nicely striped on the outside but still medium-rare inside.

Moroccan Roast Vegetables

Serves 2

1 medium carrot

1 courgette

1 red onion

2 handfuls diced butternut

2 small peppers (I chose one red and one yellow for colour variation)

2 tsps cumin seeds

4 tbsps olive oil

2 tbsps goat’s cheese

A handful of fresh mint leaves

Chop up all the vegetables except for the small peppers.

Toss them in the olive oil and cumin seeds in a roasting dish.

Place the dish on the rack in the Char-Broil Big Easy barbecue with the temperature on medium-high.

Cook for about 30 mins, checking after 20.

Remove from the barbecue and leave to cool.

Sprinkle the mint leaves and goat’s cheese on top of the roast vegetables. Use a teaspoon to dot small pieces of the goat’s cheese over the vegetables. It adds a beautiful creaminess.

Squeeze over the juice of one lemon and add a drizzle of olive oil and you’re ready to serve.

Vibrant vegetables are spiced up before cooking

The final salad topped with mint and goat’s cheese

The lamb chops sizzling on the barbecue grill

Find out more about the Char-Broil range by clicking here.

Next week I’ll be pursuing my self-inflicted challenge to making the perfect (well, extremely good anyway) peri peri chicken. Could cooking it on the Big Easy be the secret to success?

Tasty breakfast ideas with Vita Coco coconut milk alternative

So today I’ve taken up the challenge to come up with a breakfast idea using Vita Coco – a coconut milk alternative which is great for those with dairy intolerances and tastes delicious, too.

Of course, while I was pondering it I came up with two ideas, so decided to share them both with you. One is a more healthy option – a satisfying ginger porridge. Or you could treat yourselves with my tasty cardamom pancakes.

I had the idea of using spices in my breakfast dishes as their health benefits are widely accepted and they add a tasty element of surprise – the perfect way to wake up your taste buds. Plus coconut and spices are wonderful partners.

Ginger porridge with pistachios, raspberries and honey

This ginger porridge has a real zing and ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects can help with muscle pain and soreness, it’s great for treating nausea and is even thought to help lower blood sugar. The pistachios add a nice crunch and the sharpness of the raspberries works wonderfully with the sweetness of the honey. A great way to start your day.

Serves 2

Ginger spiciness goes perfectly with raspberries and pistachios

The ingredients

80g Quaker oats

500ml Vita Coco coconut milk alternative

1 tsp ground ginger

A handful of shelled pistachios

10 raspberries

About 2 tbsps runny honey

The instructions

Pour the milk into a pan and add the ground ginger. Heat to a low simmer and add the oats. Stir until thick and creamy.

Split the porridge between two bowls and top with the pistachios, raspberries and honey.

Add a dash more of Vita Coco if you like your porridge a bit runnier.

Ingredients for a delicious porridge to start your day

Spicy pancakes with cardamom and vanilla

Pancakes always seem like a real breakfast treat. These are spiced up and sweetened with the addition of cardamom and vanilla. I love the taste of cardamom and it’s said to help with digestive problems as well as being a good detoxifier. Ayurvedic medicine swears by the tea as a means of fighting depression. And it’s really delicious in pancakes!

Serves 4

Fluffy pancakes with a touch of exotic spice

The ingredients

140g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp ground cardamom

130ml Vita Coco coconut milk alternative

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg, beaten

2 tbsp melted butter or olive oil

The instructions

Mix the flour, baking powder, caster sugar and cardamom together in a bowl.

Mix together the milk, vanilla, egg and butter.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and beat with a fork until you have a smooth batter.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium and add a knob of butter. When it’s melted, add a small ladle of the batter. Wait until it begins to bubble, turn and cook until golden brown.

Continue until you’ve used all your batter.

Serve with blueberries.

This recipe is an entry into the Dairy Free Style Your Breakfast challenge with Vita Coco and Foodies100. See more great breakfast ideas at http://vitacoco.com/uk/