Tag Archives: barbecue.

BBQ Spices

5 Jul

BBQ Spice

So I’m sure I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that as a South African, albeit one living in the UK, Barbecuing (braaing) borders on religion.  Commandment number 1 – Whenever the weather presents an opportunity meat will be thrown onto flames and charred until done.  Which is great and delicious, but sometimes well – excuse me a sec while I duck out of lightning range – it can get a little boring. Seeing as there is no wriggle room in commandment one and seeing as it has been a truly lovely summer thus far I had to find someway to spice things up – I hope you enjoy.  With all three of these all you need to do is add  some of the spice to taste to your chosen hunk of meat and then grill – and if the weather isn’t being kind – they work just as well in the oven.

Lemon & Lime Pepper – works beautifully on fish or chicken

L&L INGTo start take:

  • the zest of three limes
  • the zest of three lemons
  • 1/3 cup of black pepper corns
  • 1/3 cup of salt flakes

L&L ZestedHeat the oven to 120°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

L&L DriedMix the pepper and the zest together and bake until the zest is completely dry – about an hour should do it.

L&L GrindAdd the salt to the lemon/pepper mix and then grind.  You can use a mortar and pestle  – this will take an eternity or a coffee/spice grinder.  I have this beautiful old coffee grinder the BH gave me while we were still in Taiwan.  It started life as a coffee grinder, but is now dedicated to grinding spices.  Grind it all up and store in an  air tight jar.

Apple Spice – Brilliant on Pork

This is one of those spice that just kind created itself while I was staring at some pork loins.  I turned to the spice cupboard to find some inspiration and knocked over the fruit bowl.  I love it when stuff like that happens.

AP INGTo start take:

  • two or three apples
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 table spoons of Szechuan Pepper
  • 2 table spoons of ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup of salt flakes

AP DriedHeat the oven to 120 °C.  Finely – like use a mandolin finely – slice the apples and place on foil or parchment paper.  Bake the apples for about an hour and a half and then turn off the oven and leave the apples in the oven until it has cooled or overnight.  Process the apples until they have been broken down into tiny pieces.  Mix the apple with all the other ingredients for the apple spice and grind into a very find powder.

Cajun Rub – Perfect on EVERYTHING from potato wedges to steak

So this is the first spice mix I ever made and nothing else has ever quite matched up.  It is used on almost everything in our household and it’s simplicity itself.

Cajun ING

To start take:

  • 2 tablespoons of cumin seads
  • 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
  • 1 table spoon of salt flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of hot smoked Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of dried thyme.

Cajun cumin toastingToast the cumin seeds in a heavy based frying pan until the seads are just starting to brown and pop.  Add to all the other ingredients for the Cajun rub and then grind together in a spice grinder. For the best potato wedges ever – cut your potatoes into wedges and place in a large bowl.  Add oil to taste and a teaspoon or three of the Cajun rub.  Toss to coat and bake the wedges at 200°C for about 40 minutes – potatoes perfected!

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Fruit Salad with Meringue Nests

22 Jul

FS2 Finished

I am currently enjoying my first British summer.  This is my third July in the UK, but lets face it the last two summers were completely rubbish.  The best bit about this weather is that it finally feels like barbecue (or braai) season.  As a South African, cooking meat outdoors over a flame is a deeply engrained cultural pastime.  One bordering on religious fanaticism.  I would dearly love to share some of the amazing meals we enjoy with you, but unfortunately braaing (or barbecuing)  is strictly “men’s work.”  Now as liberated and enlightened my BH is in every other aspect, I have more chance of spontaneously combusting then I do of  being given charge of the Braai (Barbecue) tongs.

My job in this summer performance is to prepare salads and dessert.  That’s it. That’s all us women get and surprisingly, none of us complain.  Weird, huh?

So that’s why this is yet another sweet post and why there will probably be a few more in the next couple of days.  Well that’s my story at least and I’m sticking to it.  Anyway in weather like this, you need something cool and refreshing and that requires minimal time in the kitchen.  Fruit salad is always a winner and here it’s dressed in a honey, lime and mint dressing served with meringue nests and chantilly cream.

FS IngThis serves 8:

Meringue nests:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 250gm caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional, but so yummy)

Salad:

  • A mix of your favourite fruit, I used grapes, strawberries, mangoes, blueberries and pineapple
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 2 limes
  • 2 Tbs of honey

Chantilly Cream:

  • 200 mls double cream
  • caster sugar to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

FS Sep EggsFirst preheat the oven to 110 °C and then separate the eggs and place the whites in a clean bowl.  Save the yolks for pannacotta or a nice quiche.

FS egg whiteAdd the cream of tartar and the lemon juice and then beat until soft peaks form.

FS sugarWeigh out your sugar.  A handy tip to remember is to use 50gms of sugar per egg white.

FS MeringueAdd the sugar a tablespoon at a time  and always ensure the sugar is completely incorporated before adding the next tablespoon of sugar.  Continue whisking until your mixture resembles the one above and then fold in the vanilla bean paste.

FS nestsLine a large baking tray with parchment paper and then using a star tipped nozzle and a piping bag, pipe your nests onto the paper.  Place in the oven and bake for two hours.  This should produce a relatively robust meringue that still has a squishy inside.

FS Lime Juice

Now get on with your fruit salad.  To make the dressing, squeeze the limes getting as much juice as you can from them.  The vitamin C in the juice will prevent your fruit from browning.

FS dressingAdd the honey to the lime juice and whisk with a fork until it’s incorporated.

FS MintFinely chop your mint leaves and add this to the lime-honey mix.

FS saladChop your fruit into bite sized pieces and toss with the dressing.  Chill until needed. FS cooked nests

Once your nests are ready, allow them to cool.   FS creamOnce they are cool, make the chantilly cream by adding the vanilla and sugar to the cream and beating it until it holds its shape.  Then assemble by topping the meringue with cream and fruit salad.  Enjoy.

FS Ready to eat

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