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Cuisine - 2018-01-01

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Fiona Smith / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Fiona Lascelles

Lift your barbecue game with Fiona Smith’s skewer-salad pairings SKEWERED MEATS and vegetables make a great barbecue dinner, and here I’ve matched each recipe with a supporting salad, plus given a bread suggestion, to round out a simple, balanced summer meal. You can use either metal or wooden skewers – metal are great as they don’t burn and also conduct the heat to help cooking from the inside; while wooden are cheap and convenient and can hold more slippery items onto their rough surface. If you remember, soak wooden skewers overnight – this really helps stop them burning. I put them in an empty bottle filled to the very top with water, lid on, so they remain submerged. If your barbecue has lost its non-stickablity (i.e. it’s very dirty like mine), you can quickly sear skewers that are more likely to stick, like the cut eggplant or minced beef, either on the hot plate or in a non-stick pan. Alternatively, sometimes I start them off on a piece of baking paper that usually catches fire, but it gets the surface sealed so it’s less likely to stick. TURKISH BEEF KEBABS WITH ZUCCHINI, TOMATOES & SUMAC ONION SALAD SERVES 6 / PREPARATION 30 MINUTES / COOKING 15 MINUTES A true Turkish mince kofta kebab would be hand chopped, very finely, to a mince. You can use ready-ground mince, but I like to start with a combination of sirloin and brisket – this gives you a nice balance of flavour, fat and texture – that I ask my butcher to coarsely grind. I finish off the chopping to a fine mince by hand. It is best to use a wide skewer for these, so the mince has more surface area to hold on to. FOR THE KEBABS 1 large red capsicum, stem and seeds removed 1kg finely ground beef mince (see recipe headnote) 3 zucchini, cut into 3cm pieces 18 large cherry tomatoes olive oil for brushing lemon wedges to serve Put the capsicum in a food processor and blend to almost a puree. Transfer to a bowl, add the minced beef and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix and knead together with your hands until very well combined. Have a bowl of water ready to dip your hands into to keep them wet, which will help prevent the meat from sticking to them. Hold a skewer and pick up a portion of beef mixture slightly larger than a golf ball. Pierce it through the centre with the sharp end of the skewer and shape the mixture into a sausage, evenly wrapping it around the skewer. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make 16-18 skewers. Thread the zucchini pieces and the tomatoes onto separate skewers and brush with a little oil. Heat your barbecue to hot. Cook the zucchini skewers for 5 minutes and the tomatoes for 2, turning, until charred and tender. Set aside. Cook the kofta, turning twice, for 3-4 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and the sumac onion salad. SUMAC ONION SALAD 1 red onion, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon salt flakes 2 teaspoons sumac 1 cup parsley leaves 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil Put the onion, salt and sumac in a bowl and rub together with your hands for about a minute. Add the parsley and drizzle with the oil. WINE A floral, softly textured syrah. Go for the Squawking Magpie The Gravels Syrah 2014. COQ AU VIN KEBABS WITH CARROT & CORIANDER SALAD SERVES 4 / PREPARATION 20 MINUTES PLUS MARINATING TIME / COOKING 18 MINUTES These chicken skewers are based on the ingredients of the classic French dish coq au vin, using white wine instead of the more traditional red. I like to serve them with a classic grated carrot salad, with the addition of coriander to really lift the flavour. If you don’t like coriander, use parsley. You can save the marinating liquid and veges to make a risotto. 600g boneless chicken thighs 2 tablespoons flour 1 onion, finely chopped 1 carrot, finely chopped 2 celery sticks, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tablespoons Cognac (optional) 1 cup white wine 4 sprigs of thyme 3 bay leaves 8 baby/small onions, unpeeled, ends cut off olive oil for brushing 250g streaky bacon 8 small mushrooms

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