UK BBQ Mag Autumn 2016 - Page 45


Genevieve Taylor

What are your favourite things to cook outdoors?

To me, pretty much everything tastes better cooked, and preferably eaten, outdoors, but what I really relish doing on the barbecue are things that people might not expect. I cook a mean barbecue brunch, complete with cheesy smoked paprika drop scones and fried eggs cooked on a cast iron plancha that sits on my grill. Barbecued mussels with pesto and grilled vinaigrette little gem lettuces were another recent success. Other than that, you can’t go wrong with a great bit of meat, properly seasoned and cooked to simple perfection - skirt steak is my favourite cut for cooking hot and fast, fat chunks of belly pork my favourite for cooking low and slow. And most vegetables improve when grilled……

Please tell us what equipment you like to cook on?

I have a Napoleon Grills kettle barbecue that I love. It's a real heavyweight kettle, built to last, and with a solid cast iron grill that creates a fantastic even heat. The grill has hinged flaps on both sides so you can lift and access all round to add more fuel or spread the embers about. And there are 3 different notches round the inside of the drum so you can raise or lower the grill bars to alter the temperature which is really handy - most other kettles only seem to have a fixed cooking height and I really like this feature.

I am slightly addicted to fire in all its forms and often cook on a fire pit using wood. I have a tripod I hang over that has a grill attached for cooking on. Its a great bit of kit, one of my favourite things to do is to take it to the beach and gather dry driftwood for cooking over.

And, as a busy working mum with two young kids, I’m not ashamed to say I have a gas grill too which I love almost as much as my charcoal one. The best thing about gas is the utter convenience of it. I can fire it up and be cooking with minutes, and I know for a fact I barbecue more, and all year round too, because I can cook on either gas or charcoal or with wood. Even in the depths of winter I can be found grilling a bit of fish or steak, or shoving a joint of meat onto the rotisserie of my gas grill, whereas I probably wouldn’t light up the charcoal then. In part because out of season charcoal can be a nightmare to buy.

On the subject of charcoal - there is cheap charcoal and there is decent, expensive charcoal. Time and time again I have been convinced it's worth splashing out on the expensive stuff - properly made ‘artisan’ charcoal burns way hotter, so you need to use less of it (therefore it's not actually that much more expensive, BBQ for BBQ) and it has way better eco-credentials than the bags you buy in the garage forecourt.

Any favourite BBQ techniques?

I’m learning new techniques all the time - there is certainly a lot to learn when it comes to barbecue!! As a general rule I like to keep my cooking simple, without too many gadgets and faffy techniques. Marinading is the best way I know to add layers of flavour to meat, fish and vegetables - I’m a huge fan of herbs and spices and they get used liberally in my cooking.

Which is your favourite BBQ style/country?

I was lucky enough to spend last Christmas travelling about Cambodia, such a fab country full of beautiful, friendly people. Barbecue is a big deal in Cambodia, and on every street corner there’ll be someone grilling something delicious. I’ve been writing a book on global street food this year, which will be published in March 2017 and Cambodia was certainly a great inspiration.

BBQ in the UK is growing massively, how do you see this going?

Well, its just great isn’t it? Its particularly great to see the rise of women barbecuing, its no longer seen as a ‘man’s domain’. Why should the guys have all the adventures? Girls like fire too!!

What BBQ projects have you been working on this summer?

I’ve made a few more barbecue films cooking different recipes that will be over on my YouTube channel, but mostly I’ve been hanging out with my kids, being outside as much as possible, and of course, being a food writer, that involves lots of making nice things to eat.

Here at UK BBQ Mag we love your book How to Eat Outside, please tell the readers a little more about it.

How to Eat Outside is a book about celebrating how amazing food can be when you are out in the fresh air. It started when I pondered one day about my favourite meals of all time (the sort of thing greedy people like me do in idle moments!!) and it struck me that of all the most memorable meals of my life, probably 90% of them were eaten outside. And so, a book of outside cooking was borne. I have a lifelong love of fresh air and nature - I am certainly miserable if I stay inside for too long - and for me cooking outside adds a bit of mini-adventure to cooking. We all need to cook day in day out, and even if you love food as much as I do, it can get monotonous and dare I say it tedious. So its great to ring the changes. Barbecuing is a bit of cookery theatre too, it makes cooking more sociable. Light a barbecue and your friends will gather around you - thats got to be more fun than slaving away in a kitchen by yourself, hasn’t it?

Best tip for those new to BBQ?

My best tip is to not cook over too high a heat - with the exception of a beautiful bit of rare steak, which needs very hot for a little amount of time - most things are better cooked for longer over a more moderate heat. So make sure you let the charcoal die down enough before you start cooking, or you’ll get the dreaded burnt outside and raw in the middle that British barbecue can have a bad reputation for.

Also, if you are a novice, try to make sure you cook in the daylight!!! It goes without saying its much harder to judge whats going on once the suns gone down and you’ve had a few beers…….

And here is a recipe for you:

Cambodian pork ribs

Here meaty pork ribs are given a spicy Asian twist with a heady mix of ginger, garlic, lemongrass, honey and soy. In Cambodian cooking its common to use plenty of black peppercorns in place of chilli to give a fiery heat to many dishes. For extra zing, I garnish these with sliced birds eye chillies but feel free to leave these out if you prefer. Ideally, leave the ribs marinading for 12-24 hours in the fridge before you want to cook to allow all those lovely flavours to soak in.

Serves about 4 depending on greed

1.3kg meaty pork ribs

for the marinade:

80g fresh root ginger, roughly chopped

1 whole head of garlic, cloves peeled & roughly chopped

2 sticks lemongrass, outer leaves discarded, inner roughly chopped

4 tbsp honey

4 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp black peppercorns, coarsely ground (or a little more if you like things hot!)

to serve

lime wedges to squeeze over

birds eye chilli, finely sliced, to garnish

Hang a ziplock bag into a bowl to hold it open and place the pork ribs inside. Add all the marinade ingredients to a deep jug and pulse with a stick blender until you have a smooth paste. Alternatively, place everything in a food processor and blitz to a paste.

Scoop the marinade into the bag and squidge the bag about to mix it through. Seal up tight and leave in the fridge for as long as possible. If you can, turn the bag over a few times to keep the marinade circulating.

When you are ready to cook, fire up your barbecue to give you a low, indirect heat. Because of the honey in the marinade you want to cook the ribs slowly for a long time - they will take a good hour, turning every now and then. If they are colouring too quickly simply move a little further away from the heat source.

Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over and a little scattering of red chilli for an extra fiery kick!

We were lucky to catch up with Genevieve in the middle of her busy summer season to ask a few questions, and to hear about her favourite BBQ. Genevieve is a food author, her book "How to eat outdoors" is a great read if you want outdoor cooking and dining inspiration from all over instead of just the usual places...