Sizzling fun, Latin-style (+recipes)

By Grant Allen

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Grant Allen cooks up a Brazilian feast using a barbecue prize

Dave and Deb Moncur take their turn minding the food on the Electrolux barbecue they won in the 'Herald on Sunday' giveaway. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Dave and Deb Moncur take their turn minding the food on the Electrolux barbecue they won in the 'Herald on Sunday' giveaway. Photo / Sarah Ivey

As well as winning a Herald on Sunday barbecue prize, Aucklanders Deb and Dave Moncur had the pleasure of hosting me, on site, cooking for them and their friends.

They won a swish new Electrolux barbecue and some outdoor furniture from Citta, and I worked out a menu using ingredients from my favourite suppliers (Grey Lynn Butchers and Art of Produce). I trucked up to Deb and Dave's place last Sunday afternoon.

Arranging the event over chatty emails to Deb, everything pointed to this being a a fun evening, and I was right.

I was warmly welcomed and shown the new barbie. Dave, an engineer, thankfully, had assembled it and had it working well. I went into the kitchen with bubbly cooking enthusiast Deb, and started prepping.

Rapid instructions were fired to her kids to get things set up, and Dave was briefed about being a good host.

Deb had instructed her friends to dress up for the occasion, but something got lost in translation and they all arrived in Hawaiian style for a Brazilian barbecue.

No matter, with the guests' personalities, you could turn any event into a carnival. Auckland Airport fire safety manager Matt had spent several hours on Google learning how to tie a sarong; he was a Mardi Gras all on his own.

I thought it would be a good idea to cook a barbecue that was not about sausages and steak. Taking inspiration from South American Grill, a book I have been teaching from at Cook the Books, I decided to take a South American approach.

South Americans know how to cook with fire. They grill meat and fish over a low heat, brushing it with aromatic flavours, then serve it with beans, rice, zinging fresh sauces, pounded out in a mortar and pestle, and just-cut salad.

All this hit the mark with Deb and Dave's friends. They all love cooking outside, all fish and understand fresh is best. And they like sitting around a table and having a good time. What could be more Latin?

This Easter weekend the weather is still sultry. Invite some friends over for a Latin grill. Theme the party, play some samba tunes, relax, keep the food simple, fresh and fun. Sit around an outdoor table and celebrate life.

With a pool, outdoor fireplace and spirited guests wearing leis and flowers behind their ears, we couldn't have had more appropriate winners or a better party setting. We had fun.


Recipes

Hornado de chancho marinated roast pork leg
Arroz branco Brazilian rice
Feijo black bean stew
Vinagrete Brazilian salsa
Pudim de leite Brazilian creme caramel


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