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SPICE UP YOUR BARBECUE

Holiday at home with our fabulous fusion barbecue recipes

by Sarah ▪ 21 July, 2021

Paradise in your garden

Summer inspires dreams of distant shores, jewelled seas glinting in brilliant sunshine, perhaps a carafe of wine, and certainly some adventurous dishes to tempt and tease the palate. Sadly we can’t jet off wherever and whenever we want – but we can make the most of long summer evenings by using our barbecue for more creative meals than the bog-standard banger and burger combo.

A taste of Morocco

The cuisine of this North African country is both delicious and unique, combining a variety of warm, sweet and spicy flavours from cinnamon to saffron and fenugreek to fennel. The famous Moroccan spice mixture ras el hanout is a combination of up to 27 spices (there is also no definitive recipe, since the translation of the Arabic is ‘top of the shop’, meaning it would be made from a combination of the finest spices an individual merchant had available at the time).
While you won’t be able to recreate the exciting bustle of souks and medinas in your garden, you can experience some of the intoxicating tastes and aromas with Moroccan-inspired barbecue dishes.
Some of our favourites include this melt-in-the-mouth marinaded leg of lamb, these scrummy beef kebabs and this recipe for using a whole chicken.
On the side, why not try Gourmade’s Sweet Potato Wedges – their earthy sweetness complements Moroccan flavours to perfection. While they’re fabulous as they are, you can up the authenticity by removing them from the oven halfway through and tossing in a delicious Moroccan spice mix. Try combining 1tsp cumin, ½ tsp smoked or sweet paprika, 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped, ½ tsp mace, ¼ tsp turmeric and ¼ tsp ground cinnamon in ½ tbsp olive oil. For extra heat, add a dash of cayenne pepper. This will make enough to thoroughly coat a 2-person portion and can easily be doubled up.

A classic Moroccan foodstuff is, of course, couscous, so we’d be very remiss if we didn’t offer a recipe for a couscous based side dish. As it happens, we’re going one better by giving you a choice! First up is a classic combination of Moroccan flavours and ingredients featuring harissa, chickpeas, pistachios and dried apricots. Delicious!

Couscous salad with chickpeas, pistachios and apricots

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking time: 15 min
  • Servings: 4-6
  • Cost: Low
INGREDIENTS
  • Couscous: 300g
  • Chicken or vegetable stock: 450ml
  • Dried apricots: 150g, chopped
  • Butter: 25g
  • Oil: ½ tbsp
  • Courgette: 1, finely diced
  • Chickpeas: 400g tin, drained
  • Harissa paste: 1-2 tbsp (to taste)
  • Mint: 5g, leaves finely chopped
  • Flat-leaf parsley: 10g, finely chopped, plus leaves for serving
  • Lemon: 1, juiced
  • Feta: 200g, crumbled
  • Pistachio nuts: 100g, roughly chopped
METHOD
Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl. Next, bring the stock to the boil over a medium-high heat, then add the dried apricots and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the stock from the heat and stir in the butter. Pour the stock over the couscous, covering the bowl with a plate or cling film so that air cannot escape. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil over a medium heat before frying the diced courgette for 5 minutes, until golden. Add the chickpeas and cook for a further 2 minutes until heated through. In a small bowl, mix the harissa paste, chopped mint, chopped parsley and lemon juice until well combined.
Once the couscous is cooked, add the courgette and chickpeas, and pour in the harissa dressing. Mix until well combined. Allow the couscous to cool for 5-10 minutes, then gently stir in the crumbled feta. Serve the couscous salad topped with the chopped pistachios and a few parsley leaves.
If you have little ones who might not enjoy the taste or fire of harissa – or just for a change – this BBC recipe is a light, fresh-tasting alternative whose inclusion of pesto and pine nuts makes it equally suitable as a side for the Mediterranean barbecue dishes we discuss later in the blog. Serve your meat and wedges or couscous alongside a large, green salad and you’ll have a barbecue to remember.
Our Gourmade dessert suggestion for your Moroccan meal are our mouth-watering and highly regarded Pear Bakewell Tarts. The mild nuttiness of almond-flavoured frangipane, against the sweetness of pears and raspberry jam, all melting beautifully in the mouth with buttery pastry, perfectly complements Moroccan flavours – and they’re also simply delicious!

Mediterranean morsels

While Morocco does border the Mediterranean Sea, we tend to associate the catch-all phrase of ‘Mediterranean cuisine’ with European holiday destinations such as Italy, Greece and Spain. However, the roasted veg we recommend alongside these sun-soaked recipes would accompany the Moroccan dishes equally well.
Roasting is a really versatile way to cook vegetables, and works with most varieties, so long as you check the timings carefully. Simply chop up the veg you want, add to a baking tray top with the seasonings of your choice, drizzle with oil and mix everything up well before baking in the oven. Root vegetables will take longer than those with a higher water content, and different seasonings will evoke different far-flung destinations – try Herbs de Provence for a Gallic flavour, paprika and cayenne pepper for Spanish fervour and basil, oregano and rosemary for a classic Italian taste.
If you aren’t confident doing it alone just yet, there are plenty of recipes online – for summery vegetables and goats cheese try this recipe from Delicious magazine, while this flexible BBC version has three serving suggestions, from plain roasted veg to a vegetable and lentil salad and even a frittata!
Whatever meat and veg combo you plump for, Gourmade’s Potato Dauphinoise is the perfect, indulgent accompaniment. The type of dish which takes a great deal of time and effort to make yourself, this creamy classic will lift the elegance factor of any barbecue.
For your meat dishes, try Food Network’s Italian-inspired Prosciutto wrapped lamb burgers, Delia’s Rosemary lamb kebabs or these wonderfully simple chicken drumsticks from Good to Know.
Jamie Oliver also has a wonderful recipe for pork souvlaki which, in turn, calls for some tzatziki!
Mediterranean barbecues are also perfect for vegetarian or plant-based eaters – there are so many yummy recipes. If you’re a dab hand with a barbecue, try this amazing recipe for grilled avocado stuffed with chickpeas from FoodFaithFitness. Otherwise, mixed vegetable skewers, slices of oiled halloumi, aubergine or courgette, and a side dish of Gourmade’s Roasted Vegetable Paella (from our EAT.PLNT vegan range) ought to keep you going.

Talking of vegetables, here’s our simple yet scrummy recipe for baked tomatoes to go alongside your main dishes.

Oven-baked tomatoes with tasty toppings

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking time: 15-20 min
  • Servings: 4
  • Cost: Low
INGREDIENTS
  • Beef tomatoes: 8
  • Olive oil: 2 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper: to taste
Garlic and herb topping
  • Garlic: 4 cloves, crushed or finely chopped
  • Mixed herbs of choice: 2tsp
Cheese and bacon topping
  • Cheddar: 75g, grated
  • Streaky bacon: 3 rashers, chopped
For serving (optional)
  • Basil leaves: 10g, torn
  • Parsley leaves: 10g, chopped
  • Coriander leaves: 10g, chopped
METHOD
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan/350˚F/Gas Mark 4. Slice the beef tomatoes in half horizontally, and place on a lined baking tray. Sprinkle your toppings of choice onto the tomatoes, then season to taste and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the toppings are bubbling and the tomatoes are tender. Serve topped with your choice of torn basil leaves, chopped parsley or coriander or some red chilli.
ALSO TRY …
You can be as creative as you like with the toppings. Experiment with different herbs or spices, or try frying some diced vegetables to add, such as onion or peppers. You could also top the tomatoes with a spoonful of minced lamb or beef, finished with a grating of mozzarella or parmesan, depending on the flavour and texture you prefer. Chorizo, Parma ham or prosciutto would all make lovely bacon substitutes, each bringing their own Mediterranean flavours. The cheddar, too, could be substituted for goats’ cheese or flavoured cream cheese, which would also work when added to the garlic and herb topping.

To keep the summery theme going, why not finish up with Sicilian Lemon Roulades – fresh, light and zesty, with the authentic sunshine-grown flavour of real Sicilian lemons, but also sweet and luxurious in its creamy ooziness, which surely everyone wants for a truly satisfying summer dessert.

Summer snaps

Share pictures of your summer barbecues inspired by holiday destinations (and any stellar recipes!) on Insta, Twitter or Facebook. Which Gourmade sides and desserts did you choose for the extra wow factor?