Summer is well and truly here, and it's the time of year when barbecues are constantly a source of socialising. Summer veges are looking great - corn on the cob, tomato plants laden with fruit, and cheap courgettes, to name a few. When it comes to barbecues, I like to keep things simple and seasonal, and if I'm honest, a large platter of unidentifiable charred meat off the hot plate makes me a bit nervous. But not all barbecues are the stuff of nightmares, and there's lots of great seasonal eating to be had.
This eggplant salad makes a great addition - cook the eggplant on the barbecue until well cooked before simply adding it to a bowl with all the other ingredients. Halloumi and courgette skewers make for a great meat-alternative: just remember to cut your courgette and halloumi the same size. Adding lemon to the skewer is a nice touch too. And boneless chicken thighs may not be what you'd normally think of to cook on a barbecue, but they're quick to cook and super-tasty.
Courgette, halloumi, lemon and mint skewers
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp cooking oil
Pinch chilli flakes
1 clove crushed garlic
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 x 200g block halloumi
Small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
To prepare the bamboo skewers, soak in water for about 20 minutes (to stop them from burning).
Cut the courgette into rings about 2cm in width, and cut halloumi into squares the same size. Cut the lemon, skin on, into small wedges.
Alternate courgette, halloumi, and lemon pieces on to the skewers.
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, oil, chilli flakes, and garlic - you may need to melt the honey slightly in the microwave first. Brush the skewers with the marinade/dressing before cooking them on the barbecue.
Place on a barbecue hot plate, and use a fish slice to move the skewers around a bit initially to stop the haloumi from sticking. Flip over and continue cooking until the haloumi is crisp and the courgette is charred.
Sprinkle with fresh mint and serve immediately.
Eggplant salad with fresh herbs
2 eggplant, diced
Plenty of olive oil, or a neutral cooking oil
Generous sprinkle flaky sea salt
¼ cup natural almonds and/or walnuts, roughly chopped
Small bunch each fresh mint, basil, and flat leaf parsley
2 spring onions, finely sliced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
For the dressing:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
Sprinkle the eggplant with salt. Cook the eggplant on the barbecue until charred and crisp slightly on the outside and soft on the inside. You may need to add oil part way through the cooking process.
In a medium-large bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together until combined. Taste and adjust as necessary.
Add the eggplant to the bowl of dressing. Add the nuts, herbs, spring onion, and red onion. Gently mix together with your hands to combine.
Barbecue chicken thighs with cherry tomatoes
4 chicken thighs
Generous pinch flaky sea salt and cracked black pepper
Juice of one lemon
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
Drizzle olive oil, for cooking
4 tsp red capsicum pesto (store-bought)
Fresh herbs of your choice
In a bowl, place the chicken thighs and season generously with salt and pepper, and add the lemon juice. Set aside for 10 minutes before cooking. Add the cherry tomatoes.
Drizzle some oil on the barbecue hot plate. Add the chicken and tomatoes together and cook until each side is charred slightly and crisp - flipping once during cooking. This should take about 5 minutes each side.
Serve on a plate of roughly chopped fresh herbs and drizzle with capsicum pesto to serve.