Self Catering Barbecues - Make Your Own Food

There's absolutely nothing wrong with visiting the butcher or the supermarket and buying your barbecue food there. There's a range of prices and qualities and with a little marinade and different sauces you can make it utterly unique at home. However, sometimes you feel like making it from scratch, from the raw ingredients; not only does it give you that extra little buzz of pride but you know you're really making the most of your pride'n'joy barbecue. Burgers and kebabs are the old stand-by favourites, so here are a few burger and kebab recipes with a twist.


Balti Beef Burgers

Given that curry is apparently the most popular dish in the UK, it seems only right to bring it to barbecues with this simple recipe. You'll need: 1¼lb lean minced beef, 3 tbsp balti curry paste (that's “paste” and not “sauce”), salt and pepper to taste.

• Mix the beef mince and balti paste in a bowl (hands are easiest)
• Divide the mixture and shape into 4 or 6 burgers,depending on the size you want.
• Cook on the barbecue, turning at least once.

If you really want to go all the way, serve in mini-naan breads with lime pickle and cucumber raita (why not?)


Turkey Burgers

OK, so beef is more traditional; maybe you could cook these for a Christmas-themed barbecue? Charcoal barbecues are surprisingly feastive. Anyway, live a little. You'll need: 1¼lb minced turkey, 5oz chopped feta cheese, 4oz sliced olives (preferably kalamata, but ordinary black ones will do), 2 tsp dried oregano, black pepper.

• Mix together the turkey, cheese, olives, oregano and pepper. In other words, put all the ingredients in a bowl and mash them together.
• Divide the mixture into the number of burgers that you want, roll them into balls and then squash them into burger shape.
• Cook on the barbecue for 10-12 minutes; turn at least once.


Halloumi Kebabs

Halloumi is a sheep's cheese from Cyprus, commonly available in UK supermarkets these days. If you've not tried it, it has a really firm, smooth texture (kind of 'squeaky' on the teeth) and a mild but salty taste. It also doesn't melt to a liquid the way most other cheese do which makes it good for barbecuing. You'll need: ½ lb cubed halloumi, 1 red pepper (in one-inch squares), 1 yellow pepper (in one-inch squares), 8 small mushrooms, 2 small quartered onions. For the marinade: 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 crushed clove of garlic, one lime's worth of juice, 2 tbsp chopped coriander, 1 chopped red chilli (even more if you have a fireproof mouth).
• Mix all of the marinade ingredients together.
• Add the kebab ingredients and coat with the marinade; leave it in the fridge for an hour or so (for flavour, the longer the better up to a maximum of a day).
• Thread the cheese and vegetables onto skewers (the recipe should make four).
• Cook on the barbecue for 5 or so minutes, giving them the occasional brush with the leftover marinade as you do so.

(The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that this recipe is entirely vegetarian. If you absolutely have to, add some small cubes of pork or chicken, but you could try it the way it is.)


Fruit Kebabs

There had to be a dessert and this one will tempt even the most hardened 'fruitophobe'. You'll need: a banana, half a small pineapple, a pear, a nectarine, an orange, six strawberries, a lemon's worth of juice, 2oz caster sugar, 2 tbsp Cointreau, 2 tbsp white wine, and some ground cinnamon.

• Cut the fruit into roughly one-inch pieces (leave the strawberries whole).
• Put all the fruit pieces into a bowl and add the lemon, Cointreau, wine, cinnamon and half of the sugar. Mix it all up and leave it to marinate for about half an hour.
• Thread the fruit onto some kebab skewers (the recipe should make four); mix up the different fruits as much as you like and keep the marinade on one side.
• Place on the barbecue and cook for about 6-8 minutes (probably worth remembering to use a clean or cleaned grill if you've been cooking meat otherwise you're going to have a particularly unusual dessert). Turn the kebabs regularly and dust them with the extra sugar so that it caramelises and they turn brown.
• Serve hot with any remaining marinade.