Woah! Check out the rain in Melbourne!! I have not seen a deluge like this in years! (I was in Germany during the January flash floods). I can't believe that it was only a short week ago that we were having a barbecue in the backyard - sweltering in the heat and combating agressive mosquitoes.
(Important point: in the heat, Total Fire Bans are often in place. Click here for info on barbecuing during Total Fire Bans.)
As you can see from my menu below, I have been quite heavily influenced by my obsessive watching of the Lifestyle Food channel late at night.
Almost-Southern Sunday Night BBQ for 6
Barbecued Chicken with Barbecue Sauce (Tyler's Ultimate)
Frau Margit's Kartoffelsalat
Coleslaw with Pecans and Spicy Chilli Dressing (Tyler's Ultimate)
Su's Roasted Capsicum with Anchovies and Garlic
Rhubarb Meringue Pie (How to Eat)
Sangria (Forever Summer)
James Squire Amber Ale
Setting the Scene
I never thought I'd be the type to worry about place settings and decorations, but they really do make a difference, especially with outdoor entertaining at night. When the sun goes down, the candles come out. As you can see in the first photo, I stuck a massive citronella candle in the centre of the table. Mozzies are the bane of Aussie barbecues.
I gleaned the idea for the candle below from Joanna Weinberg's How to Feed your Friends with Relish, a lovely little recipe-book-slash-entertaining-guide I received as a going-away gift from my co-workers last year.
I got a dozen cheap citronella tealights and dotted them about the outdoor eating area, using Joanna's tip of encasing them in old glass jars to prevent them from blowing out. It was my own idea to put old dried pulses in the jars. This not only looks good, but makes the candles easier to light. I also think this is the best way of getting rid of those lentils/borlotti beans/black-eyed peas in your pantry that are years old and will never be eaten, trust me.
I also found a couple of big old candles lying around, so we stuck them in big bottles for more light.
This was previously an olive oil bottle!
When making a barbecue, I usually pile all the food up on the kitchen table, buffet-style, and let everyone take a plate out into the yard. This saves space in the yard, and prevents flies or excess heat getting at your carefully-prepared feast.
Tyler Florence's Ultimate BBQ chicken.
The chicken is steeped in a salt-sugar-thyme brine for 2 hours, dried, then blitzed briefly on the barbecue. Once it's griddled and charred, you finish it off in the oven, basting with home-made BBQ sauce. It's incredible! So juicy and crispy. The BBQ sauce is amazing too - so much better than shop-bought.
Garlic Pide, cooked on the BBQ.
My brother's girlfriend brought these roasted peppers, with little cherry tomatoes, anchovies and garlic inside. Yum yum.
German Potato Salad. Potatoes, onions and bacon fat. Wooooah!
Tyler Florence's Ultimate Coleslaw with Pecans and Spicy Dressing. The toasted pecans and flavoursome dressing transform the salad from pedestrian to special.
Sangria! A jug of sangria means party time! The recipe is from Nigella's Forever Summer.
For dessert, another Nigella recipe, rhubarb meringue pie. This was my favourite recipe from all the recipes I cooked from How to Eat. I love the contrast of soft, sweet, fluffy meringue to densely sharp rhubarb. Inspired by the Southern Cooking edition of Gourmet Magazine, I doubled the quantity of meringue and piled it up high.
Burnished and billowing.
I did, however, have a little mishap with the pastry, which leaked terribly. And because I baked the pie on the day of the BBQ, I had no time to make or buy a new dessert. It kept leaking throughout the evening, and threatened to collapse. Uh-oh!
However, when we sliced it, it didn't turn out too bad.
Carl: This is what clouds must taste like.
The pie even held together quite well for a few days of mid-week snacking.
Seeing as the rain and cold weather has started with a venegeance, this will probably be my last big barbecue party until next summer! Bring on the stews and puddings!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
3/27/2008 12:55:00 AM Sarah 8 comments