To all my barbecue friends, welcome to the first issue of the Chargrill Chat, the newsletter of The Barbecue Hut. My personal thanks go to everyone who's subscribed to this newsletter.


*May 08, 2004, Issue 0001*

In this issue:

  • Barbecue Bites/Barbecue Buzz/Gossip at the grill
  • Spanish Prawns
  • Tomato Salad
  • Catalan Tomato Bread
  • Closing Thoughts


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First, I must apologise for everyone that subscribed to The Chargrill Chat before early April. I should have published this newsletter about 4 weeks ago but I've been extremely busy as there's been a number of celebrations over the last couple of months: birthday parties, including a fortieth and my father's seventieth, three barbecue parties and, oh yes, I got married to, now my wife, Maresa.

For our honeymoon we went to Barcelona, the capital city of Spain's Catalan region. We couldn't have asked for a better time, brilliant weather, an excellent location, and really important to Maresa and I, good food and wine. The wine in the bars left more than a little to be desired, but in the Spanish restaurants and tapas bars it was very good.

The Spanish people have an early breakfast and their next main meal is in the early evening after work. Tapas are served as a snack to keep people going through the day and practically every Spanish bar has a selection of tapas. We couldn't resist them and on a number of occasions we ate such a large variety of tapas that we felt like we'd had a full meal. The selection of tapas is huge, with some bars having up to 30 choices, including chicken, pork, fish, shellfish, bread, cheeses, sausages, salads, and vegetables.

The week after we returned home from Barcelona we arranged a barbecue and produced a selection of tapas on our barbecue. Three of them are included in this newsletter.


Spanish Shrimps (Prawns)

Barcelona is renowned for it's fresh seafood restaurants. There are numerous Spanish recipes for shrimps (prawns) and in this recipe they are served with a hot tomato and chilli sauce. If you prefer a milder flavour, reduce the number of chillies. If you don't have any sweet chilli sauce, replace it with half a teaspoon of sugar.

Serves 6

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of flat leaved parsley, chopped
  • 36 large shrimps (prawns) peeled and deveined but with the tail left on
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 lemons cut into quarters

    For The Sauce

    • 6 fresh red chillies
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
    • 1 pound (450g) chopped, tinned tomatoes
    • 2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce
    • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Deseed and chop the chillies and put into a food processor with the onions, garlic, tomatoes and olive oil. Process to a puree.

    2. Place the puree on a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes, ensuring that the sauce does not boil. Transfer the sauce to a large bowl and place on the side of the barbecue to keep warm.

    3. Rinse the shrimps (prawns) under cold running water and then pat dry.

    4. Mix the parsley and olive oil in a dish and then add the prawns. Toss well to thoroughly coat.

    5. Cook the prawns over medium hot coals for 3 minutes each side until the shrimps (prawns) have changed colour.

    6. Place the shrimps (prawns) in the sauce and serve topped with the lemon wedges.


    Tomato Salad

    Only simple salads are served as tapas dishes and this tomato salad couldn't be easier to make.

    Serves 6

    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking Time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 6 large, firm, red tomatoes, thickly sliced
    • 1 large red onion, sliced
    • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
    • Green and black olives
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Place the tomatoes, onion and olives into a large shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.

    2. Pour over the olive oil and toss well.

    3. Serve.


    Tomato Bread

    The foundation of Catalan cuisine is pa amb tomaquet. In it's simplest form, this comprises of slices of rustic bread rubbed with garlic and fresh tomatoes, doused with olive oil, and sprinkled with coarse salt. There are many variations from the basic recipe shown here, in fact some restaurants specialise in serving this bread. The recipe shown here allows one slice of bread per person. It's worth considering allowing two slices per person as it's so good.

    Serves 6

    Preparation time: 5 minutes
    Cooking Time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 6 large slices of rustic bread
    • 3 fresh, very ripe red tomatoes, cut into halves
    • 3 large cloves of garlic cut into halves
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • Coarse Sea Salt
    • Black pepper

    1. Grill one side of the bread on a hot grill for 2 to 4 minutes until nicely browned. Remove from the grill.

    2. Rub the grilled side of the bread with garlic and then the tomato. Don't be afraid to get lots of juice onto the bread.

    3. Place the bread back on the grill, un-browned side down and grill for 2 to 4 minutes.

    4. Place the bread on individual serving plates and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the sea salt and black pepper and serve.


    Closing Thoughts

    I hope that you've enjoyed this first issue of The Chargrill Chat. If you've any questions or suggestions for improving this newsletter, please drop me an e-mail. Don't forget to visit the site on a regular basis as it's been added to all of the time and I really appreciate all the feedback that I receive, good and not-so-good.

    If you like these recipes you'll be pleased to know that I've been in discussions with some top barbecue chefs and in the very near future I hope to be putting up some of their recipes on The Barbecue Hut Website

    Until next time then, have a great month and keep grilling!

    Les

 

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