Spring means just one thing - it’s time to unwrap the barbecue
Tomorrow is officially the start of summer time, the clocks have sprung forward and there’s definitely the feel of spring in the air.
As the weather forecast is now predicting double figure temperatures, it’s probably the right time to unwrap the barbecue and get grilling. Something magical happens to a steak or sausage when you put it in contact with charcoal – deep, smokiness envelopes the meat.
Lamb is especially good when barbecued.
Ask your butcher for lamb chops or leg steaks – they cook evenly and quite quickly.
Most importantly though is to buy lamb from here. New Zealand lamb might be cheaper but it’s not as good as our local lamb.
I’m sure there’s some amazing antipodal lamb, in its own place, but by the time it’s been frozen and shipped thousands of miles, it’s lost a bit of its sparkle.
Aside from the taste, it’s also vital that we support our local farmers to ensure their future existence.
Lamb is the most natural of meats and the essence of the landscape it comes from.
The first recipe is for Lebanese seven spiced lamb.
The spice is sultry and rich and works beautifully with the lamb.
It’s served with a tomato and onion salad and some mint yoghurt dressing to add some zing and freshness to the warmth of the meat.
When I have the grill cranked up, I take advantage of it fully and use the fire as much as possible.
It’s a good time to smoke things – doing it outside prevents creating a stink in the house and the smoke alarm going mad.
There are a couple of ways of hot smoking – either with wood chips or by tea smoking.
Line a roasting tin with foil, scatter over wood chips or a mixture of tea, rice and sugar, place a rack on top with what you want to smoke and cover tightly with foil. Place on direct heat and when smoke appears remove from heat.
If you’re smoking chicken or meats you’ll need to further cook them but thin pieces of fish like mackerel or trout will be cooked through in the process.
You can smoke all manner of meats and fish, vegetables and even fruits.
Sometimes I add some cinnamon stick or whole spices to the mix to add another layer of flavour.
My other recipe also uses lamb and is marinated in a Korean inspired mixture before grilling.
It’s accompanied by a smoked ginger sauce.
Smoking ginger gives it a sophisticated edge and the sauce is not only delicious with the lamb but with any grilled meat, fish or vegetables.