Cider-simmered hotdogs (with spinach salad)

Cider-simmered hotdogs (with spinach salad)

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These hotdogs are so awesome! You take a bratwurst, simmer it in cider with onions, then grill it in the barbecue. You serve the brats with the cider-y onions and plenty of wholegrain mustard. It’s like Germany meets Somerset meets America.
As I said, awesome!

The salad worked really well alongside the hotdogs… and this way you can kid yourself that you’re being healthy!

The hotdog recipe comes from The Weber Complete Barbecue Book, which I can’t recommend enough! I’ve seriously bought this book as a present for a lot of people. It’s full of gorgeous recipes and will take your barbecue game way above supermarket burgers. As usual, I was grilling on my Weber kettle barbecue, which has a lid to help keep your barbecue food moist and delicious.
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Ingredients (serves 4, with some salad left over)
– 4 Bratwurst sausages
– 4 hotdog rolls, sliced
– 2 onions, thinly sliced
– 750ml cider
– 1 tablespoon brown sugar

For the salad:
– 500g fresh spinach leaves
– 4 slices cooked ham, chopped
– 4 medium eggs
– 1 leek, chopped
– 3 celery stalks, chopped
– 50g walnuts, chopped
– 2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
– 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
– 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Extra mustard to serve, as required
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Method
1. Light the barbecue with the coals on one side, so you can grill on direct and indirect heat.  Once it is hot, put a heat-proof metal tray on the grill. Inside the tray, place the onions with the Bratwurst on top. Pour the cider over and put the lid on the barbecue. Simmer the onions and sausages for about 20 minutes on indirect heat, turning once or twice. During this stage, make the salad (see below).
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2. Transfer the sausages to a dish and drain the cider on top to keep them warm. Keep the onions in the the tray. Add the brown sugar and stir. Leave over direct heat to caramelise for about 15 minutes. Check a few times to make sure they aren’t burning.
3. Finally, cook the Bratwurst on direct heat for about 6-8 minutes, turning once.
4. Spread mustard (if desired) on the hotdog rolls. Place a sausage in the roll and top with some of the warm onions. Serve with the salad.

Salad Method
1. Place the eggs in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat and leave the eggs for 10-12 minutes. Run under cold water, peel and cut into halves.
2. Heat a large frying pan with a small amount of olive oil. Add the chopped leeks and ham. Stir together under the leeks have softened slightly. Add the celery and continue to stir for 4 more minutes.
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3. Roughly chop the spinach leaves and place them in a large bowl.
4. Whisk together the mustards, mayo and olive oil. Season to taste.
5. Mix together the egg halves, warm ham-celery-leek mixture, walnuts and the dressing in the large bowl with the spinach. Toss together to ensure everything is coated in the dressing.
6. Top with the egg halves and season with salt and pepper.   IMAG2130_1 Follow me on Twitter for more recipes

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The best burgers ever… with a red wine glaze!

Best ever burgers… with a red wine glaze

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As soon as the weather gets warm, I want to barbecue. I’ve already posted a recipe for inside out cheeseburgers, which are always a favourite, but these are equally good. This recipe will make burgers that are super tasty because they stay moist. I always add grated onions to my burger mix. As the onions cook, they help to make the burgers really juicy and add an extra layer of flavour.

Talking about extra layers of flavour… a red wine glaze! Reducing some red wine and brushing it over the burgers as they cook is amazing. The glaze caramelizes, the burgers become even juicier and the smell is incredible! An amazing idea that came originally from Jamie Purviance’s in his Complete Barbecue book.

This recipe makes 4 LARGE burgers. I served it with a charred pepper and tomato salsa and it was more than enough. If you’re making other sides like chips or wedges to go with it (like my barbecued sweet potato fries) then I’d recommend using less mince and making smaller burgers. Or make it into 6 burgers and have some friends over!

Barbecue tip – Normally, I would  keep the barbecue lid on the whole time the burgers are cooking, only removing it once to turn the burgers. You can’t do that here as you need to keep glazing, but make sure you keep the lid on between glazes. For a great lidded barbecue, try this Weber one. Finally, don’t flip them more than you have to – once or twice only!

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Ingredients (makes 4 burgers)
– 500ml red wine (I used rioja but then again, I do live in Spain!)
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 500g minced beef
– 1 small onion
– 2 cloves garlic
– salt and pepper
– 1 tablespoon of Worchestershire sauce
– 4 thick slices mature cheddar cheese
– 4 burger buns
– 50g butter, softened
– 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves

Method
1. Place a small saucepan on a medium heat. Mix together the wine and sugar and reduce to a quarter of the volume. This should take about half an hour.
2. Heat the barbecue. Make sure it is nice and hot!
3. Either grate the onion and garlic, or pulse in a food processor until in small pieces. Combine with the mince, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands and shape into four burger patties.
4. Barbecue the burgers for 6 minutes on one side. Every two minutes, brush with the glaze. After 6 minutes, turn over and cook for a further 4 minutes, glazing as before. Remember to keep the lid on between turning/glazing.
5. Mix the rosemary in with the butter and spread over the burger buns. Toast the buns (butter side down) for about 3 minutes.
6. Add cheese to burgers and cook for one more minute until it melts. Check that they are cooked through, or to your liking. These timings should give medium burgers. Serve the burgers on the toasted buns and enjoy!

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Jerk chicken skewers with sweet potato fries

Jerk chicken skewers, zesty soured cream and chive dip, sweet potato fries and charred pepper salsa

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I’m very lucky to live in the south of Spain, where barbecue season is long! It was gorgeous weather yesterday, so we decided to fire up the barbecue. As is so often the case, my first point of call for inspiration was Jamie Purviance’s “The Complete Weber Barbecue Book.” I love this recipe book. It is packed full of delicious recipes, ideas for barbecuing pretty much everything and loads of suggestions for rubs, spices and marinades.BBQ - Jerk skewers (5)

The jerk chicken skewers recipe came from this barbecuing bible, and I developed the meal from there. I’ve already posted up recipes for some of the separate elements, but if you would like the complete meal, then here it is.

You don’t actually need a barbecue for any of this recipe. The sweet potatoes and salsa can be made in the oven, and the skewers can be grilled. But that’s nowhere near as much fun!

*Barbecue tip 1 – I built up my coals on one side only of BBQ - Jerk skewers (2)the barbecue. This meant I could cook the skewers over the direct heat, but the peppers and sweet potatoes could be cooked on the other side. It is still hot, but they haven’t got the coals directly underneath them so the bottom doesn’t burn. Jamie Purviance refers to this as direct and indirect heat. My barbecue is this one from Weber.
* Barbecue tip 2 – If you are using wooden skewers, make sure you have soaked them in water first, otherwise they will burn. I soak a whole packet at a time and then freeze them, so I always have skewers ready. You can also use metal skewers.

Ingredients (serves 3)

Jerk chicken skewers
– 3 boneless chicken breasts         BBQ - Jerk skewers (4)
– 1 chilli
– 25g coriander leaves and stems
– 75ml olive oil
– 2 spring onions, chopped roughly
– 3 garlic cloves
– 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 teaspoon lime juice
– salt and pepper
– 3 spring onions

Sweet potato friesSweet potato fries
– one large sweet potato
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 teaspoon each of: paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, dried rosemary
– 2 teaspoons crispy onion bits
– salt and pepper to season

Zesty soured cream dip
– 250ml soured cream
– 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
– zest of half a lime
– 2 teaspoons chopped chives
– drizzle of honey

Charred pepper and tomato salsa
– 1 large red bell pepperCharred pepper salsa (2)
– 10 cherry tomatoes
– 6 small green poblano peppers
– 4 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
– olive oil
– 4 spring onions, chopped
– small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
– salt and pepper to season

Method
BBQ - Jerk skewers (1)1. Put the chilli, coriander, olive oil, spring onions, garlic, ginger, sugar and lime juice in a food processor, along with a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. If you’re chilli is a very hot one, you could remove the seeds first. Process until you have a smooth paste.
2. Cut the chicken into chunks, about 1.5cm thick. Cover in the paste and marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
3. For the salsa, de-seed all the peppers and cut into large pieces. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.  Take a large baking tray. Spread the pieces of pepper and tomato around the tray, along with the unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and mix well with your hands.
4. Place on indirect heat on the barbecue. Make sure the lid is on the barbecue. Leave for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.
5. Mix all of the dip ingredients together. Cover and leave in the fridge for 30 mins or so.
6. Peel the sweet potato and ” target=”_blank”>Spiralize it, using the thick noodle setting. Cut any really long noodles with scissors to make curly fries. Transfer into a large bowl.
Season with the most of the oil, then all of the onion, spices, salt and pepper. Mix really well.
BBQ - Jerk skewers (2)7. Take a large piece of tin foil and drizzle with the remaining oil. Spread the sweet potato fries out on the tin foil (more than one layer is fine). Fold the tin foil over to create a parcel.
8. Remove the peppers and tomatoes from the barbecue. Replace with the sweet potato foil parcel. Barbecue the sweet potatoes on an indirect heat for 25 minutes. Then, open the parcel slightly so some of the steam can escape and cook for 5 more minutes. BBQ - Jerk skewers (3)
9. While the sweet potato cooks, chop the peppers and tomatoes into chunks. The size is up to you, it depends on how chunky you want your salsa to be.
Add the chopped spring onions and coriander leaves. Squeeze the soft, cooked garlic out of the papery skin and chop. Mix together thoroughly and season to taste. Set aside ready to serve.Charred pepper salsa (1)
9. Thread the marinated chicken onto skewers. Alternate a piece of chicken with a slice of spring onion. Grill the skewers over a direct heat for 6-8 minutes, with the lid on. Turn once, halfway through the cooking time. Check that the meat is thoroughly cooked.
10. Serve skewers, dip, sweet potato fries and the salsa.

BBQ - Jerk skewers (7)BBQ - Jerk skewers (6)

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Charred pepper and cherry tomato salsa

Charred pepper and cherry tomato salsa

This salsa goes really well with my jerk chicken skewers and barbecued sweet potato fries recipe, but it will also go well with loads of other things. It is delicious!

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If you want to spice this up, chop up some chilli and add it when you mix the cooked, chopped ingredients together. I used a mix of bell peppers and poblano – that way you get a blend of sweetness and a slightly sour hit. If you can’t get poblano, substitute in green bell pepper, but be aware your salsa will be quite sweet.

Finally, you don’t have to barbecue this – the cooking can be done in a conventional oven at 200°C for 25 minutes. Just bear in mind that then there won’t be as much char in your charred pepper salsa! As always, I used my Weber barbecue for this. Make sure your barbecue has a lid!

Ingredients (serves 3 as a side dish)
– 1 large red bell pepper
– 10 cherry tomatoes
– 6 small green poblano peppers
– 4 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
– olive oil
– 4 spring onions, chopped
– small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
– salt and pepper to season

Charred pepper salsa (1)

Method
1. Deseed all of the peppers and cut into large pieces. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
2, Take a large baking tray. Spread the pieces of pepper and tomato around the tray, along with the unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and mix well with your hands.
3. Place on indirect heat on the barbecue (to do this, have the coals on one half of the barbecue and the baking tray on the other side). Make sure the lid is on the barbecue. Leave for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.
4. Remove from the barbecue. Chop the peppers and tomatoes into chunks. The size is up to you, it depends on how chunky you want your salsa to be.
5. Add the chopped spring onions and coriander leaves. Squeeze the soft, cooked garlic out of the papery skin and chop. Mix together thoroughly and season to taste.

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Barbecued sweet potato fries with zesty soured cream and chive dip

Barbecued sweet potato fries with soured cream and chive dip

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How excited am I about this recipe? Well, considering it combines barbecuing AND spiralizing along with one of my favourite ingredients… safe to say I’m fairly enthusiastic!

I love the way the spiralizer creates curly fries. The regular size means they cook evenly, which is especially important for a barbecue. Cooking them in tin foil keeps all of the flavour in, and they sort of steam themselves in there, so they are cooked through perfectly.

If you are not barbecuing, then you could make and season the fries in the same way, then bake at about 180°C for 25-30 minutes. If you are cooking on your barbecue, make sure you have the lid on your barbecue!

Sweet potato fries

Ingredients (serves 3)
– one large sweet potato
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 teaspoon each of: paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, dried rosemary
– 2 teaspoons crispy onion bits
– salt and pepper to season

Dip ingredients
– 250ml soured cream
– 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
– zest of half a lime
– 2 teaspoons chopped chives
– drizzle of honey
– salt and pepper

BBQ - Jerk skewers (3)Method
1. Mix all of the dip ingredients together. Cover and leave in the fridge for 30 mins or so.
2. Peel the sweet potato and spiralize it, using the thick noodle setting.
3. Cut any really long noodles with scissors to make curly fries. Transfer into a large bowl.
4. Season with the most of the oil, then all of the onion, spices, salt and pepper. Mix really well.
5. Take a large piece of tin foil and drizzle with the remaining oil. Spread the sweet potato fries out on the tin foil (more than one layer is fine). Fold the tin foil over to create a parcel.
6. Barbecue on an indirect heat for 25 minutes. Then, open the parcel slightly so some of the steam can escape and cook for 5 more minutes. Test that the fries are cooked through and serve with the sour cream dressing.

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Grown up junk food – Inside-out cheeseburgers with baked curly fries and avocado slaw

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Inside-out cheeseburgers with baked curly fries and avocado slaw

Here in Spain it is starting to get warmer. Spring has definitely sprung. Last week I got overexcited about the warmer weather and invited friends over for a barbecue. The menu I put together was “grown up junk food” themed – we had burgers, fries and coleslaw, but with some twists.

I love to barbecue. I bought my Weber barbecue two years ago and was very IMAG1660excited. Then I bought Jamie Purviance’s amazing “Complete Barbecue Book” and became obsessed. This book has everything you need to know about barbecuing it, with loads of recipes, tips, marinades, sauces, rubs, advice…. It’s fabulous.
The main things I have learnt are:
– temperature is very important
– timing is even more important
– cook with the lid on!
– don’t turn too much
I’ve barbecued loads of recipes from this book and never had one that wasn’t delicious. The Thai prawns with watermelon salsa is another beauty. If you like to barbecue, I can definitely recommend this book.

IMAG1661 (1)Anyway. The recipe. The burgers are amazing. The curly fries are spiralized, using the wide noodle attachment of my spiralizer. The avocado slaw recipe is based on this Family Spice recipe, so thank you for the inspiration. I also served a simple green salad, dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and caramelised onions I had made a while ago.

My favourite thing about the barbecue is that I put out a load of condiments and sauces for people to help themselves to, and no one even touched them. Apparently, these burgers and fries are far too good for ketchup!

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Inside-out cheeseburgers

The trick to these burgers is that you put the cheese INSIDE the meat patty, so that it melts as you grill the burger. When you cut it open, you get a delicious gooey blob of warm cheese. (You can grill these burgers if you aren’t barbecuing.)IMAG1663

Ingredients (serves 4)
– 500g good-quality beef mince
– 50 g of Camembert or Brie cheese (rinds cut off)
– 3 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
– 3 tablespoons dried beef or chicken stock
– 1 teaspoon sea salt
– ground black pepper

Method
1. Cut the cheese into four small pieces.
2. Mix the beef, breadcrumbs, stock and seasoning together, then separate into four equal-sized balls. Make a hole in the centre of each burger and put the cheese inside. Wrap up the cheese so that it is sealed completely and shape the beef mix into a burger shape. You should have a burger with a hidden cheese centre!
3. Barbecue or grill on a high heat with the lid closed for 8-10 minutes, turning once only. This should cook the burgers to medium, so add on more time if you like your burgers more done.

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Baked curly fries

Ingredients (serves 4)
– 2 teaspoons of olive oil
– 3 large potatoes
– Small amounts of seasoning to your taste, such as salt, pepper, paprika, rosemary, oregano – it’s up to you!

Method
1. Spiralize the potatoes. There’s a good potato spiralizing tutorial here. Pat them dry with kitchen roll. Chop them slightly so the fries aren’t too long. Mix with half a teaspoon of olive oil, some salt, pepper and any dried herbs that take your fancy. I used a sprinkling of rosemary. Lay on a baking tray covered with a layer of baking paper.
3. Cook the potatoes for 20 – 25 minutes, turning halfway. When they’re done, they should be golden brown. Keep an eye on them though, as they burn quickly!

IMAG1662Avocado slaw

Oh my god, I loved this slaw. It is a healthier coleslaw, with no mayo. The creamy coating comes from avocado, but still has a bit of a bite. It is delicious. I will definitely be making it all the time this summer!

Ingredients (made generous servings for 4 people*)
* As in everyone had seconds and even thirds, but there weren’t any leftovers!
– 1 ripe avocado
– 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
– juice of 1 lime
– 2 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard
– 1 teaspoon honey
– half a head of red cabbage
– 2 small carrots
– half an onion
– salt and pepper to taste
– olive oil

Method
1. Finely shred the cabbage and the onions.
2. Peel the carrots and grate them.
3. In a blender, purée the avocado, vinegar, lime, mustard and honey. Once they are thoroughly mixed, drizzle in small amounts of the olive oil to create a mayonnaise-like consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Combine the dressing with the vegetables and mix well together. Allow salad to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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