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?

Recipe: The Black Farmer’s burgers with roast red vegetables

Today I’ve been asked to sample some beef burgers from The Black Farmer. The company was set up by Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones and produces gluten-free products that are also RSPCA assured which means the company has a vision for all farm animals to have a good life and be treated with compassion and respect. Well, I’m all for that.

The beef burgers look beautifully plump and juicy and I decided to think laterally and come up with a different way to cook them. Sometimes my somewhat weird cooking ideas don’t work out quite as I’ve visualised them in my head, but today this dish was even better than I’d expected.

I started off by roasting some vegetables. Colour in food is so important to me and when I was trawling around the supermarket choosing my veg, lots of vibrant reds attracted me. So red roast vegetables it is.

For two servings I used:

1 red pepper, cored and sliced

1 red onion, peeled and quartered

12 cherry tomatoes, whole on the vine (I think cooking them on the vine enhances the flavour of the whole dish)

3 tbsps olive oil

Place the pepper and onion in a roasting tray and pour over the olive oil. Make sure they are well coated in the oil.

Place in the oven at 180C for about 20 minutes until they start to soften. Then add the tomatoes.

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A tray of redness to roast

I love the large portobello mushrooms around at the moment and came up with the idea of using them as a base for the burgers instead of a bun.

Add the mushrooms to the roasting tray when you add the tomatoes and drizzle over a little more olive oil. Cook for another 10 mins.

Then place the burgers on top of the mushrooms, return the tray to the oven and cook for 10-15 mins until the burgers are mostly cooked through. I like them very slightly rare in the middle.

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Vegetables sizzle and the burgers cook atop the juicy large mushrooms

Check that your burgers are cooked and serve with mustard mayo. I make the mustard mayo by mixing three large tsps of mayonnaise with one large tsp of Dijon mustard. It’s really delicious and goes equally well with the veggies and the burgers.

The combination of sweet vegetables, earthy mushroom, meat burgers and spicy mayo is fabulous. Give it a try. Do you have any inventive ways of serving burgers? I’d love to hear your recipes, do get in touch.

TBF_Beef_Burgers

The Black Farmer produces a range of sausages, burgers, free range chickens, bacon, eggs and meatballs. Much of the range is available online at Ocado and you’ll also find the beef burgers at Asda and the chickens at selected Budgens.

Find out more at theblackfarmer.com

Recipe: Roast vegetable salad with rocket, feta and pine nuts

Summer’s here – well sort of – today’s decidedly autumnal actually. Anyway, what can you do, it’s June, so for me that means it’s time to barbecue/braai as much as possible. Which also gives me the excuse to experiment with different salads. I made an impromptu version of this one earlier in the year with what I could find in the fridge. That’s one of the beauties of it, you can pretty much use whatever leftover vegetables you have.

I take time and effort roasting them all, regularly checking their progress and turning them, as I like them to be that perfect slightly blackened colour with a little crispiness without being burnt. Cooking them slowly with attention ensures everything is bursting with flavour and makes the salad. Lay them in a single layer in the roasting tray and cook in batches if necessary.

I dry fried the pine nuts, it brings out some of the delicious oils and enhances the flavour. But take care, they burn very easily and it’s not good to have to throw away the charred remains of this rather expensive commodity.

Do you have favourite salads that you like to make when you barbecue? I’m always looking for new ideas, so do get in touch and let me know what they are. 

The most delicious vegetable combo in a salad

The most delicious vegetable combo in a salad

Serves 4 – 6

2 aubergines, thinly sliced

2 courgettes, medium sliced

1 red pepper, cored and sliced into bitesize pieces

1 orange pepper, cored and sliced into bitesize pieces

1 yellow pepper, cored and sliced into bitesize pieces

1 x 140g bag of wild rocket

50g pine nuts, dry fried

100g feta, crumbled

Olive oil for frying

For the dressing

Three-quarters of a cup of olive oil

One-quarter of a cup of balsamic vinegar

2 tsp runny honey

Roast the aubergines, courgettes and peppers in the oven at 180C for about 30-40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place on kitchen roll to drain and cool.

Make the dressing by mixing the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey.

Dry fry the pine nuts in a pan over a medium heat for about 5 mins. Keep a close eye on them as they burn easily.

Spread the rocket over a large platter.

Layer the roast vegetables on top.

Sprinkle with crumbled feta and the pine nuts.

Pour the dressing over 10 minutes before serving.

 

Recipe: Cheesy garlic chicken with roast vegetables

Okay, it’s fair to say that I cook a lot, and I do love it. But I do try to keep it as simple as possible, unless I’m heading into one of my full-on cook-all-weekend extravaganzas where the fridge is bursting with ingredients and my head with ideas!

Most of my recipes are quick and easy. Like this delicious one-pan dinner I made last night. I love cooking all in one dish, so little washing up. Vary this dish by using different vegetables, different herbs, even different meat. It’s light and delicious with a lovely mix of the flavours of lemons, oregano and garlicky cheese. Don’t worry if some of the cheese leaks out into the pan (as it has here), it’s all meant to be served together anyway.

Serve with a baked potato for a more substantial meal.

chicken1

Flavours of the Mediterranean all in one pan

Serves 2

2 chicken breasts, skin on

50g soft cheese with garlic, I used Philadelphia garlic and herb

1 red onion, quartered

1 courgette, sliced into chunks

1 yellow pepper, cored, seeded and chopped into quarters

1 orange pepper, cored, seeded and chopped into quarters

1 lemon, quartered

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tbsps olive oil

Make a small pocket under the skin of the chicken breast by sliding a sharp knife under the skin. Stuff it with the soft cheese and wrap the skin securely around.

Add the peppers, onion, olive oil and half the oregano into the roasting tin and roast at 180C for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and add the courgette and chicken breasts. Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken and vegetables and add the lemon quarters to the tin.

Return to the oven and cook for another 20-25 mins until the chicken is done.

chicken2

My new Stellar James Martin Roaster is perfect for one-pan dishes like this and for my favourite Sunday roast. It’s made of heavy grade carbon steel for even heat distribution, is non-stick and really easy to clean. Find out more about James Martin’s range at www.stellarcookware.co.uk

Recipe: Citrussy, minty lamb with roast vegetables

I love the seasons in London. And now it’s time for the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness, to quote Keats. Autumn’s arrived. You wake up to atmospheric, misty mornings and go to sleep to the comforting patter of steady drizzle, the sky’s a different colour and well, there’s a definite nip in the air. The trees in our local park are just starting to change colour and soon everywhere will be a carpet of (often soggy) leaves. Just the time to start thinking comfort food.

One pot (or dish in this case) recipes are always great – simply chuck everything in and cook. I’ve made this one a bit more complex as I’ve used vegetables that need different cooking times so you need to add things in stages. But it’s all really easy. As it’s early autumn I decided to give everything a fresh lemon and mint flavour, don’t want to go too wintery just yet. Substantial, yet light with a healthy dose of veg, this is the perfect dinner for a cosy autumn evening in.

Serves 2

For the lamb

2 lamb leg steaks (about 375g)

3 tbsps olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Large handful of fresh mint, chopped

Good grind of black pepper

Marinate the lamb in the minty, lemon mixture for 3 to 4 hours

Marinate the lamb steaks in olive oil, lemon juice and mint

Marinate the lamb in olive oil, lemon juice and mint

For the vegetables

1 large potato, cut into bitesize chunks

1 red onion, sliced

6 large florets of cauliflower

Half a small butternut, peeled and cut into chunks

2 tbsps mint jelly

1 handful fresh mint, chopped

2 tbsps olive oil

Toss the potates in the olive oil and mint.

Place in a roasting pan and roast for 20 mins at 180C

Add the butternut and roast for 10 mins

Add the cauliflower and roast for 10 mins

Add the red onions and top with the lamb steaks, stir in the mint jelly

Roast for 20 mins

Check all the vegetables are cooked and serve

Save on your washing up with all your dinner in one dish

Save on your washing up with all your dinner in one dish

I like my lamb nicely pink inside as you can see here. I sliced it diagonally and served it spread on top of all the veg.

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Juicy lamb steaks with a healthy portion of veggies