Honest, simple barbecues

Australian cookbook author and 
television presenter Luke Hines
PHOTOS: MARK ROPER
Australian cookbook author and television presenter Luke Hines PHOTOS: MARK ROPER
Luke Hines believes barbecue food is a true representation of what he is about.

"It doesn’t get any more real than cooking outdoors on an open flame, where there is no need to complicate things or trick anything up.

"It’s all about honest, simple cooking that celebrates the produce, adds incredible texture and delivers the depth of flavour to food that cannot be found elsewhere."

The Australian cookbook author and television presenter, who appeared on My Kitchen Rules, has qualifications as a nutritional therapist and personal trainer. His cookbooks are focused on getting people to eat nutrient-dense foods that respect people’s health and retain the integrity of the produce.

In his latest book Barbecue This, Hines says for many years he has believed in looking to people’s roots when it comes to nutrition, choosing unrefined and unprocessed ingredients and preparing them in ways that reflect the best modern learnings to help people thrive.

THE BOOK: Barbecue This!, by Luke Hines, 
published by Plum, RRP $39.99
THE BOOK: Barbecue This!, by Luke Hines, published by Plum, RRP $39.99

So cooking outside over an open flame fits with this thinking, he says.

"The flames of a barbecue bring people together, connecting communities and providing a place of warmth and comfort."

The flames of a barbecue also bring food alive and awaken all the senses, from the smell of the smoke to the heat of the flames and the resulting finish it gives food.

"The barbecue produces special food with ease."

He wants to show that no matter how people eat — keto, vegan, low-carb, gluten-free or vegetarian — they can enjoy a barbecue.

Hines provides some tips on choosing a barbecue, preparing it for cooking, different ways of cooking, the tools needed, cooking times for various cuts of meat and his top 10 barbecue rules — don’t start cooking on a cold barbecue, don’t start with a dirty barbecue, season food well, match the heat to the meat, do not overcrowd the barbecue plate, do not prod or poke the food, let it rest once cooked, get creative with different dishes, pair with great sides or a sauce and keep a lid on it if the recipe requires it.

The book is broken up into chapters for vegetables, seafood, chicken, pork, lamb, beef and salads and sides.

Turkish chicken kebabs with walnut sauce

This is one of my favourite flavour pairings in the book and is quite different from anything I have shared in the past. The sauce is really unique, with a good amount of heat and a lovely earthiness coming from the walnuts — perfect with that succulent marinated chicken!

Serves 4

400g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 4cm pieces

8 wooden skewers, soaked in cold water for at least 20 minutes before using

¼ red onion, finely sliced

2 tablespoons walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

lemon cheeks, to serve

Garlic and cumin marinade

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp mustard powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

½ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Walnut sauce

100g (1 cup) walnuts

125g (½ cup) tomato paste

3 Tbsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tsp sweet paprika

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried chilli flakes

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method

For the garlic and cumin marinade

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.

Add the chicken to the marinade and turn to coat evenly. Thread the chicken pieces on to the prepared skewers so that they are touching but not crammed together tightly. Return the skewers to the bowl, cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 hours for best results.

To make the walnut sauce

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside until ready to serve.

Heat the barbecue grill to medium.

Place the kebabs on the grill, close the lid and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning once or twice, until the meat is golden brown and caramelised around the edges and cooked through.

Transfer to a platter, top with the walnut sauce, scatter over the red onion and walnuts and serve with some lemon cheeks for squeezing over.

Middle Eastern snags

Gone are the days of boring snags wrapped in bland bread! These easy snags are flavoured with baharat spice and served on cauliflower hummus. What’s not to love?

Serves 4

1 red onion, finely sliced

finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 wooden skewers, soaked in cold water for at least 20 minutes before using

1 tsp sumac, plus extra to serve

2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus extra leaves to serve

Middle Eastern snags

500g beef mince

½ onion, finely diced

½ tsp ground allspice

3 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 tsp Baharat spice mix (see below)

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted, plus extra to serve

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Baharat spice mix

3 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

¼ tsp ground cloves

Cauliflower hummus

1 large head of cauliflower, broken into small florets

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing

3 Tbsp hulled tahini

finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 garlic clove, crushed

¼ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp ground coriander

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Heat the oven to 200degC and line a baking tray with baking paper.

To make the cauliflower hummus

Place the cauliflower florets on the prepared tray, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and toss well to coat. Roast for 15–20 minutes or until cooked through and softened, then transfer to a food processor and blitz with the remaining oil, 2 tablespoons of water and all the other ingredients until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Place the onion, lemon zest and juice and apple cider vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Leave to soften for 15–20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the barbecue grill to hot and brush it with a little oil.

For the baharat spice mix

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.

For the Middle Eastern snags

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, season well and mix to combine. Divide the mixture into eight even-sized portions and roll each into a sausage shape. Thread the meat on to the prepared skewers. Place on the barbecue, close the lid and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until charred on the outside, cooked through and juicy.

Spread the cauliflower hummus on to serving plates and top with the snags. Stir the sumac and parsley through the onions, then pile them over the snags. Sprinkle over a little extra sumac, then scatter over some parsley leaves and a few more pine nuts. Drizzle over a little olive oil and serve immediately.

Note: Make a big batch of this baharat spice mix as it is an awesome seasoning, spice rub or marinade for a wide range of proteins and veges and a great addition to soups and salads.

Leftovers can be stored in a jar in the pantry for up to 3 months.

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