Cooking over charcoal is something we love to teach throughout the summer months at the Cookery School, using ingredients picked straight from our organic Market Garden. Our students often arrive a little daunted at the prospect of cooking over coals but once armed with our simple techniques and principles, leave confident about mastering not just meat cookery but also how to barbecue puddings, starters, slower roasts and vegetables.
We run both vegetarian and traditional barbecue classes as well as teaching our students how to master the art of fire pit cookery. Find out more here.
Miso-glazed aubergine with pickled radish and sesame seeds
2 large aubergine
2 tbsp white miso paste
1 tbsp sake or dry sherry
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
30g caster sugar
30ml white wine vinegar
A few black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 spring onions, finely sliced
10 radishes, finely sliced
Half an hour before you’re ready to cook, light the charcoals for your barbecue, either using a chimney starter, or straight onto the base of the barbecue. When the flames have died down and the coals have turned white, the barbecue is ready to cook on.
To make the miso glaze, whisk together the miso, sake, mirin, sugar, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.
Slice the aubergine in half lengthways and carefully score the flesh of each half with a sharp knife to create a crosshatch pattern. Brush or spoon the glaze over the cut side of the aubergines and sprinkle with a little salt.
Place cut side up over indirect heat on the barbecue for 20-30 minutes, or until the aubergine is tender all the way through. Spoon over a little more of the glaze every so often during the cooking time.
Once the aubergine is tender, turn it over onto direct heat for 2-3 minutes until you have a glazed finish and dark chargrill marks.
While the aubergine is cooking, quickly pickle the radishes. Bring the sugar, vinegar, peppercorns and bay leaf to the boil in a small saucepan. Pour this over the sliced radishes in a small bowl and leave to cool. This can be made ahead of time and will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
To serve, place the glazed aubergines onto plates and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and sliced spring onion. Drain the radishes from the pickling liquor and serve alongside.
Spatchcock harissa chicken with bulghur wheat salad and a tahini yoghurt dressing
This recipe is perfect for a crowd, feeding up to 6 and requiring very little attention once the chicken is on the barbecue. We always make our own harissa paste in The Cookery School, it is so much more vibrant and flavourful than shop bought. You will only need half of the harissa for the chicken in this recipe, leaving you plenty to keep in the fridge and use to cook with in the following days.
For the harissa marinade
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
2 red peppers
2 red chillies
1 tbsp smoked paprika
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Pinch chilli flakes, optional
Olive oil, as needed
For the tahini dressing
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp cumin
2 tbsp yoghurt
2 tbsp tahini
For the bulghur wheat salad
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
200g bulghur wheat
1 bay leaf
½ lemon, juice only
1 preserved lemon, finely chopped
40g toasted flaked almonds
A handful of parsley and coriander, roughly chopped
Begin by preparing the harissa sauce. Preheat the oven to 180°C and spread the whole spices out on a baking tray. Toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes until fragrant and just golden brown. Tip into a pestle and mortar, or spice grinder, and grind to a powder.
Roast the peppers, chillies and tomatoes on the barbecue, over a direct heat, until they are evenly charred all over and the skins have split. Place the peppers into a bowl. Cover with clingfilm and allow to cool.
Peel the peppers and tomatoes, discarding the skin and place in the bowl of a food processor with the chillies, paprika, garlic and a splash of olive oil. Pulse to a coarse paste (the sauce should be a rough texture, not smooth) and then add a couple of teaspoons of the dry ground spices. Mix well and taste, adding more of the spice mix if needed. Finish by seasoning with a little salt, the chilli flakes and red wine vinegar.
Rub half of the harissa sauce all over the spatchcock chicken and leave to marinate for at least an hour. Keep the rest in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To make the tahini dressing, simply mix all of the ingredients together well with a whisk to form a smooth sauce. Chill until needed.
For the bulghur wheat salad, fry the sliced spring onions in the olive oil for 3 minutes until slightly softened. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the garlic and onion are soft. Add the allspice and cinnamon and stir over the heat for 1 minute. Stir in the bulghur wheat, toast gently for a couple of minutes and then add the bay leaf and water with a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 10-12 minutes until the bulghur wheat is tender. Drain off any excess water and once cool, stir in a drizzle of olive oil, the lemon juice, preserved lemon, flaked almonds, chopped herbs and a little salt and pepper.
To cook the chicken, place breast side up onto the grill of the barbecue, over indirect heat. Close the lid and cook for approximately one hour, until the chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature on a cooking thermometer reaches 68°C.
Once cooked, turn the chicken over and place over direct heat for 5 minutes, or until the skin is well glazed and slightly charred.
Rest for at least 20 minutes before serving with the bulghur wheat salad and tahini dressing.
Cedar-planked glazed salmon with crushed new potatoes en cocotte
For the salmon
500-600g whole salmon fillet
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
½ lemon, juice only
For the crushed new potatoes
300g new potatoes
2-3 tbsp crème fraiche
a squeeze of lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp horseradish root, grated (quantity)
2 tbsp dill, roughly chopped
2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1 cedar barbecue plank
Two hours before you plan to cook the salmon, soak the cedar plank and smoking chips in water which will prevent either from catching light.
Place the new potatoes in a cast iron saucepan, for which you have a well-fitting lid. Add the butter and 2 tbsp water and cover with the lid. Place on the barbecue over indirect heat, close the barbecue lid and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the salmon. Whisk together the maple syrup and wholegrain mustard with a little salt and pepper. Brush this onto the top of the salmon fillet and place it onto the cedar plank.
Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from the barbecue. Lightly crush with a fork or potato masher and stir in the crème fraiche, lemon juice, olive oil, freshly grated horseradish and fresh herbs. Keep to one side.
To cook the salmon. Lift the barbecue grill an dtip the smoking chips on top the coals. The place the cedar plank, with the salmon on top, onto the grill. Close the lid and cook the fish for 12-15 minutes until just cooked through. Squeeze over the lemon juice and allow to rest for a minute or two.
To serve, gently break the salmon into large flakes and plate up with the crushed potatoes and a pile of dressed salad leaves.