Q. Before it gets too hot, I want to enjoy the weather and throw a fab barbeque but am so fed up with the usual burger and sausage fare – any ideas for something a little different? Lisa, Dubai
A. Lisa, I totally agree with you – while we all love barbeques, it reaches a point where the supermarket selection gets a bit tired (and expensive!). If you’re looking for some fresh grilling ideas, there are so many. You could stick with burgers, but why not make your own and instead of sticking to just beef, try lamb (served in pita breads with a great tzatziki), or chicken (and give it a spicy Thai makeover with lemongrass and coriander), and even a veggie option (grill huge Portobello mushrooms with a blue cheese topping).
For something totally different, my favourite for the barbeque is a butterflied lamb – either prepare yourself (or get the butcher to do it), marinate the meat overnight in garlic, rosemary and some red vino, or give it an aromatic Moroccan spice rub (you can normally find a jar in supermarkets). Then add to a hot barbeque, fat-side down. It won’t take long to cook and is absolutely delicious. Finish off by grilling some fresh peaches or nectarines (after you’ve cleaned the rack!) and serving them warm with a large spoon of good quality vanilla ice cream.
How To... Poach An Egg
There are many things I can do in the kitchen... There are many I can’t. Poaching eggs is one of them. Not one to be deterred I’ve sought advice from the experts and have now discovered the secret and it’s just three steps:
1. You need a deep saucepan.
2. The water has to be on a rolling boil with a large dash of vinegar in it.
3. The eggs need to be at room temperature and cracked into separate ramekins (or small coffee cups) and added to the pan from there.
Debate still rages about whether you’re supposed to swirl the water or not – I don’t as the whole process is already so complex, without having to create a whirlpool as well – but it’s up to you. Both work very nicely.
#2: Cream Cheese
Not necessarily for your storecupboard but definitely for your fridge, the classic cream cheese is something my kitchen is never without. Whether you’re going sweet (nothing beats a bagel with a large smear of cream cheese topped off with some Bonne Maman blueberry jam) or savoury, the classic plain cream cheese is adaptable and healthy, especially when you go for low-fat Philadelphia, which is my favourite. Here are some simple ways to use it:
Nibbles: Simply top off with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce and serve with tortilla chips.
Starters: Make a delicious smoked salmon or smoked mackerel pate by whizzing the fish with a bit of Philly, some fresh lemon juice, a dash of tabasco and some fresh parsley.Mains: Make an instant creamy pasta sauce by adding a huge dollop to your sauce. My favourite combo is leek, chicken and mushroom with a bit of garlic and chicken stock. Serve with brown rice so it’s yummy and healthy.
Puds: Well, it’s got to be cheesecake, obviously!
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Katie Heskett is the Editor in Chief of Good Housekeeping Middle East, available now at all good book stores and magazine outlets. Follow her on Twitter @katieheskett or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org