Food

There’s a spring in my step

May 04, 2018 By Southpoint Tuggeranong

  I don't know about you, but when the sun is out, and I need to feed a crowd or I just don't want to have to clean the stove, the BBQ calls to me. Spring has sprung, the grass is ris, I wonder where the BBQ tongs is? When a Spring get together with family is organised, when friends drop in for a quick bite to eat, when it's so balmy at 6pm there's no way we're not eating outside, the bbq is lit and the smell of charred meat makes the neighbours wish they were at our place of dinner. Right? Right. But a bbq doesn't always mean that the star of the show is a whopping great big piece of rump steak, or delicious little scotchie from Bruce the Butcher, or a chicken breast, from Lenards, all golden and glistening, pulled straight from the grill and doused in sauce. Sometimes the star of the show gets to be on the side. A salad that even the kids will want seconds of. A herb butter that even the step counting sister in law wants another go at. A tangy sun dried mayo that begs to be eaten on all manner of buns. Sometimes, just sometimes, it's the little things that pack the flavour punch of the century and deserve to be celebrated. Chargrilled vegetable pasta salad This recipe will feed 4 hungry adults as a side, with leftovers for later on when everyone's gone home and you feel a bit peckish. Add some feta, or ham, bacon, grilled chicken or nuts to make this a substantial meal on its own.
  • 1 500 gm pkt spiral pasta
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 fresh half corn cobs
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 250 gms green beans
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • salt and pepper
Get the water on to boil for the pasta, salt generously once boiling. Add the pasta and cook to a few minutes earlier than the packet directions say, to keep the pasta al dente as it will sit in the dressing for quite some time as it comes to room temperature, and you don't want mushy pasta in your salad. In a jug, add the oil, balsamic, and lemon zest together and whisk vigourously. Season well with salt and pepper. Once well drained, pour the pasta into a huge bowl, dress the pasta, ensuring it's well coated in the dressing. As the pasta is still warm it'll soak up the dressing beautifully. Put aside and light the bbq. Cut the woody ends off the asparagus, top and tail the beans, get rid of the corn husks, and keep the peppers whole; add the veggies to a tray and lightly coat the with oil. Add the corn first to the bbq as it will take the longest. If like me, you hate the wait for the fresh corn to cook, prior to coating it in oil, put it in a bowl with a little water in the bottom of it and microwave for 5 or 6 minutes to take the edge off. Or you could just grill the corn for 5 minutes before the other ingredients. Add the red peppers and asparagus on the grill. Do not put the beans on the grill as they will fall through the cracks. It sounds like common sense, but after losing half my beans into the black abyss at the bottom of the bbq, common sense aint that common. Fry them on the hot plate until seared and charred. Grill the asparagus and beans for around 8 minutes, take off and put aside. Grill the corn and red peppers until well charred, maybe another 8 minutes or so, it depends on the heat your bbq puts out,you want the peppers to still have a little bite to them, not soft and gooey. Once cooked, put the peppers into a bowl with a tea towel over to steam off the skin. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the core by just pulling it out, scrape out the seeds (as many as you can, but don't worry if there are a few left in the peppers), and skin them, but leaving a little char for flavour. To assemble the salad, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the pasta. Cut the asparagus beans and peppers into bite sized pieces and add to the pasta. Cut the corn off the cobs and add to the pasta. Take a large handful of the basil and chop rustically, add to the salad and stir gently to combine all ingredients. Check for seasoning, add a lovely big sprig of basil so it looks good into photos. Serve alongside everything else. If your fridge is anything like mine, you'll have a bunch of condiments in bottles that eventually get thrown out because they either solidify or the best before date was sometime in 2011. But let me tell you, these two little condiments will only remain in your fridge for a few days as they are so delicious the family will want them on everything. Making your own herb butter and tomato mayo may seem simple, but sometimes the simple things in life are the best. Semi dried tomato mayonnaise Makes approximately a cup of mayo
  • 1 c whole egg mayonnaise
  • half a tub of sun dried tomatoes in oil (I used the Woolies semi dried in herb oil 180gm pack as it was on special)
  • small handful of fresh basil
  • 2 tsp of the tomato oil
  • pepper (check for salt before you add extra salt as the mayo and tomatoes may be salty enough)
Add all the ingredients to a mini blender and blitz until you get the desired consistency. Check for seasoning and add any salt or pepper as needed. For added oomph, add a dash of hot sauce, tobasco sauce or chilli paste to give it a kick. This mayo is perfect on a chicken BLT, as we had it on Father's Day below, or a steak sandwich, a ham, cheese and tomato toastie, pretty much anything really. It'll keep in the fridge for a few weeks, that's if it's not eaten all the day you make it. Herb butter Makes just over half a cup. This recipe isn't anything really new or mind blowing, but it's just a reminder that a few simple ingredients will transform the humble bbq'd steak dinner.
  • 125 gms room temperature unsalted butter (quite frankly you use whatever you have in the fridge, margarine, butter, doesn't really matter)
  • approximately 1 c Un chopped fresh herbs (I used flat leaf parsley, thyme, basil and a little left over coriander I had in the fridge. Use up whatever you have in the fridge or your garden)
  • 1 tb lemon juice (optional, but it does give quite a nice little zing to the butter)
Add all the ingredients to the blender and blitz until it's all combined and your desired consistency. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper and blitz again. Serve this butter with freshly boiled potatoes, over grilled corn, on your scotch fillet. Add it to the leftover warmed up vegetable pasta salad from above. Stir it through mashed potatoes, or add it to freshly steamed broccoli. This butter is perfect to keep in the fridge, it lasts for ages and is so fabulous on any number of dishes. What wine would I serve with these dishes? A great local sauvignon blanc is perfect with a chicken BLT with semi dried tomato mayo. And I don't think anything goes better with steak and potatoes than a cold climate shiraz. Want to find out what BWS stocks in the way of local wines? Head here. Happy BBQ'ing People! Fran The Food and Wine Marshall

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