The Chef’s Table: Barbecue Season Is Coming Again…We Hope!

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rsz_mark_doe_1Mark Doe from ‘Just Cooking’ Cookery School in Firies has some great tips for barbecuing this summer. All we need now is the weather…

Planning your barbecue

Firing up the barbecue is often seen as an opportunity for a bit of a party with neighbours or friends, but few of us have a barbecue big enough to cook all the food at once.

It’s a good idea to pre-cook some of it in the oven, especially the likes of chicken wings or drum sticks and then just reheat it on the barbecue to impart that wonderful smoky flavour – but make sure it’s piping hot and thoroughly cooked through before you serve it.

Aim for two or three different main course choices then have lots of salads and bread on hand for people to help themselves to.

Don’t keep food hanging around for ages getting warm while it’s waiting for its turn over the coals.

The exception is large pieces of meat: these should be taken out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking so they can come back to room temperature, helping them to cook all the way through more easily.

Top barbecue tips

• Do not leave food out in the sun before cooking. Remove the food from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to allow to come to room temperature.

• Always soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before using. This prevents them from catching alight and also splintering.

• Try not to pack food too tightly on the skewers. Leave some gaps around each piece so that the food will cook through thoroughly.


• Have a spray bottle of water ready to spray out any flames if they appear.

• Firm fish such as tuna or salmon can be cooked directly on the grill if handled carefully. A hinged wire fish basket can be useful when cooking more delicate fish or whole fish ,or try wrapping in tinfoil.

• Poking and stabbing the meat will cause the loss of juices that keep your meat moist and tender. Do not attempt to turn the meat with a carving fork. Instead use long handled tongs or spatulas to turn the meat.

• Only cook 2-3 items on the barbecue. Serve plenty of baked potatoes, bread and salad to compliment the barbecued food.

• Smaller portions of meat cook easier. Chicken wings, chicken escalope’s, minutes steaks etc… avoid chicken legs

Marinated Chicken escalopes

Serves 4 to 6


• 2 tablespoons soy sauce

• 6 tablespoons  olive oil

• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

• 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

• 1 teaspoon ground cumin

• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• freshly ground black pepper

• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 ounces


• Cut each chicken fillet in half lengthways and place each piece between 2 sheets of cling film.

• Lightly bat the chicken out with a rolling pin so that you have 4 pieces thin chicken escalopes.

• In a medium bowl combine the marinade ingredients. Place the chicken in a large resealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl, and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

• Remove the chicken from the bag. BBQ the chicken over a high heat with the lid closed as much as possible, until the meat is firm to the touch and opaque all the way to the center, 2-3 minutes on each side is sufficient.

Grilled Pineapple with Honey and lime yogurt

Serves 8

For the pineapple

• 8 slices fresh pineapple, each about 1/2 inch thick, peeled and cored

• 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar

• 1/4teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the yogurt

• 150g low fat natural yogurt

• 2 limes, finely zested

• 1 tbsp honey


1. Mix the yogurt, lime zest and honey together in a bowl.

2. Sprinkle the pineapple slices evenly on both sides with the brown sugar and cinnamon

3. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the pineapple slices over direct medium heat, with the lid open, 5 to 7 minutes, turning once.

4. Serve with the yogurt.

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