Though it has been 15 months since I moved back to Melbourne from London, I still suffer the occasional bout of homesickness for the UK. Pictures, visitors, even particular music can set me off.
But one thing that I don’t miss about the UK, one thing that Melbourne has over London, is the guarantee of a summer. We have just had more than a week of 30C+ weather, and though it can get a little too warm at times, balmy nights lend themselves beautifully to … you guessed it: barbecues.
Until now, I’ve never been much of a barbecue connoisseur, but this year I’ve realised that the biggest benefit of having one is that you don’t need to turn the oven on in the kitchen, thereby keeping the house cooler. Plus, for some strange anthropological reason, men who have no trouble sitting back while I cook at the stove can be counted on to flock to the barbecue, offering their services, which means I get to outsource quite a bit of the cooking.
(For a very amusing overview of the inherent barbecue hierarchy, ruled over by the “Tongmaster”, read this piece written by The Age’s Danny Katz.)
Each season I generally develop a few favourite dishes, some easy crowd-pleasers to pull out when I have a bunch of people coming for dinner. For summer 2012/13, I have two favourites, a main and a dessert: marinated barbecued pork fillet (thanks to Mum for her recipe) and, in a nod to those soggy UK summers with their boundless supplies of berries, summer pudding.
Both are healthier than counterparts, cheap to buy the ingredients for and easy enough pre-prepare, so you can sit back, relax and watch the Tongmaster exert his authority over the grill.
BARB’S BBQ PORK FILLET
2 pork tenderloin fillets
1 tbspn lime juice
1 tbspn sweet chilli sauce
1 tbspn soy sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 tbspn fresh ginger, chopped
1. Mix marinade ingredients together and add pork fillets. Allow to soak for minimum 30 minutes, up to 4 hours.
2. Heat barbecue grill on HIGH.
3. Heat olive oil or vegetable oil. Add pork fillets and sear both sides, then cook for 3-4 minutes each side, until slightly pink in the middle.
4. Slice into 1-inch pieces and serve with sweet potato salad, green salad or Asian vegetables.
(Serves 6, ideally prepared the day before)
4 punnets fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and cranberries are my favourites) or 500g frozen berries
1 loaf white bread, fresh or stale
160g caster sugar
cce cream to serve
1. Line six ramekins or wine glasses with cling wrap, right to the top.
2. Using one of the ramekins cut circles from each piece of bread and rip the rest of the white bread from the crusts.
3. Blitz together the berries, leaving aside some for garnish. Add some water if the mixture is not runny at all.
4. Soak the bread in the berries, ensuring it is all nicely coated.
5. Using the bread circles, line the bottom of the ramekin. Stuff more berry-soaked bread as needed into the ramekin, pressing down hard. Fill the middle with 1 tbspn berries, then stuff more soaked bread into the top.
6. Wrap cling wrap over the ramekin, ensuring the bread and berry mix is pressed down tightly and no bits of white are showing through.
7. Place a heavy board on top of the ramekins and refrigerate overnight, or for a minimum of 6 hours.
8. To serve: remove top layer of cling wrap; pull on inside layer of cling wrap, turn ramekin upside down and drop into a bowl. Serve with ice cream or Greek yoghurt and a single cherry or berries on top.
(Written by Julia)