Tag Archives: barbecue

Coronation Potato Salad

Who’d have thought we’d be wanting salad recipes in October? I’d planned to pack this away with the barbecue and pull them both out next summer, but the weather says otherwise…

Coronation Potato Salad

It all began with the cucumber pickle. Susie’s cucumber pickle, which had recently arrived at the shop and which was so good that a meal had to be created around it. It would make a great accompaniment to burgers or other barbecued meats, but I plumped that day for poached salmon. And I love potato salad with poached salmon but wanted something with a bit more poke to stand up to that pickle. Coronation potato salad was the answer.

If you’ve ever made Chicken Elizabeth, the correct name of the dish devised for the coronation of Elizabeth II by the Cordon Bleu cookery school, you’ll know that it’s not bright turmeric yellow as we usually see now, but a purpley burgundy colour thanks to the reduction of red wine and apricot jam which is added to the mayonnaise. But having changed the principal ingredient from chicken to potato I’m sure you won’t mind if I take a few liberties with the rest!

These quantities are a rough guide which you can adjust to vary the levels of spice, sweet and sharp. For around 250g of baby new potatoes I used:

  • 2 tbsps mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsps natural yoghurt [for a vegan version use 4 tbsps soya yoghurt]
  • 1 tbsp Sharwood’s green label mango chutney
  • Half a tsp of ground turmeric
  • 1 to 2 tsps curry powder
  • Half to 1 tsp chilli powder
  • Half a tsp of ground coriander
  • A few finely sliced spring onions
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Some chopped coriander or flat leaved parsley to garnish

Mix everything except the chopped herbs together, taste, season and adjust. You might want to add the curry and chilli powders in half teaspoon increments as you can always add more, whilst removal is more problematic. Add the cooked and cooled potatoes and stir to combine, adding the chopped greenery at the end.

Normal autumn service [casseroles and the likes] will undoubtedly be resumed shortly.


Last Days of Summer

As readers of My St Margarets Magazine will already know I’m about to welcome my first guest – Damon Hunt – who cooked the finest barbecue I have ever eaten earlier this summer. The man is a grilling hero. My barbecue is a feeble foldable affair like the one below, whilst Damon’s would require an extension to my garden. If you want to capture the last days of summer, get out in the garden and fire up your coals for his wonderful recipes…


Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto 

This all-time favourite can be pre-prepared and only takes minutes to cook.  It is a great starter whilst the steaks are cooking! Cooking time, just 3 to 4 minutes. Serves  4 to 6.

  • 16 fresh asparagus spears
  • 16 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Black pepper

Preheat the BBQ to medium-high heat. Trim the ends off of the asparagus. Take two asparagus spears and wrap them tightly in one slice of prosciutto around the middle. Brush lightly with the oil, minced garlic and black pepper mixture.  Place them onto the grill and cook them until the prosciutto goes crunchy.  Don’t overcook them or the asparagus will go limp!  Serve straight away. 

Grilled quail on a rocket salad 

Cooking quail on a BBQ can provide stunning results. They don’t take long to cook and only need a little extra bit of preparation to make sure the birds remain succulent. Serves 6.

  • 6 fresh, oven-ready quails
  • 1 litre of fresh chicken stock
  • Handful of thyme and rosemary sprigs
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 minced garlic cloves 

Truss the quails through their legs with a small bamboo skewer. Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a large saucepan and add the thyme.  Place 3 of the quails into the boiling stock and then reduce to a simmer.  Carefully remove the quails after 3 minutes. Bring the stock back to the boil and add the remaining quails.

Drain the quails in a colander and then pat dry with kitchen paper. Brush lightly with olive oil, salt, black pepper and garlic mix.  Insert the rosemary sprigs. Cook the quails on a hot BBQ for about 7-10 minutes.  Continue to baste and turn the quails whilst cooking until they are golden brown. Serve them on a rocket salad.

Wood Work

OK, so you’ve consumed your beetroot gazpacho and it’s time for the barbecue – read on…

Unlit Barbecue

Bored of simply placing food directly onto your barbecue grill and worrying about whether the insides are cooked well after the outsides are already distinctly charred? Then you probably need to introduce a further level of potentially anxiety inducing difficulty, the ‘grilling plank’. I don’t barbecue often [see The Never Ending Fillet] which could explain why this particular cooking method has so far passed me by when it seems that some people, many of them Canadians, have been at it for years. Essentially it involves soaking a wooden plank in water for a few hours, placing said plank onto the barbecue grill, and the food onto the plank. The wood begins to char and smoke [hopefully without actually catching fire, hence the pre-soaking] with the intention of both cooking and lightly smoking the food. Various aromatic woods are used, the one I found in my local Waitrose was maple. The aroma during cooking reminded me a little disconcertingly at first of a sauna, but then when people routinely produce recipes for cooking fish in dishwashers or on car engines, a sauna actually starts to look like quite a logical choice. And the end result was in fact nicely cooked fish with a pleasingly subtle smokiness. As with all first attempts I’ll want to return to this and tinker with the details – barbecue lid on or off, how long to pre-warm the plank, exact cooking times, etc, etc, – but something about this has touched my inner lumberjack, and I’ll be back. TIM-BER!

For four

  • 4 individual sea trout fillets of even thickness
  • 2cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 tsps soft brown sugar
  • 6 tbsps Japanese soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin or rice vinegar
  • 100ml sake, or good fino sherry
  • 2 finely diced spring onions [optional]
  • ½ tsp wasabi paste [optional – leave this out if you want to concentrate on the smoke without too many distractions]
  • 1 grilling plank
  • 1 barbecue – the real thing I’m afraid, those disposable tray affairs won’t cut it here

Soak your plank in cold water for at least 4 hours. You’ll need something to weigh it down. I used a terracotta wine cooler which also needs a good soak – two birds, one stone!

Place the trout fillets into a shallow snugly fitting dish. Whisk together the other ingredients, pour over the fish and marinade for an hour and a half.

Marinating trout

Build your barbecue and set alight, then wait until the coals are glowing red. By the way, cheese crates make excellent kindling and if you’re in the vicinity yellowwedge cheese will happily give these to you gratis. If not try your local cheese monger who will almost certainly oblige.

Drain your plank and rub the cooking [smooth] side with a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil, then set it on the grill above the coals for 10 minutes. Now remove the fish from the marinade and carefully place on the plank. Exact cooking times will vary depending on your equipment, so you’ll need to judge by eye and touch – an opaque fillet which springs back from a light touch is done. If your barbecue has a lid then you can use this to increase the smokiness. White smoke means that all is well, black smoke means that your plank is on fire and you will need a water spray to calm it down.

Sea trout fillets cooked on a barbecue 'grilling plank'.

Serving suggestion

We ate this with a salad of pink fir apple potatoes, finely sliced gherkins and peas, dressed with a mustardy French mayonnaise. Cucumber pickle would also go down well.