Grill power: female chefs share their best recipes for barbecue season

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Jenny Tregoning
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Dust off those tongs and pray for sunshine: barbecue season is here. Stylist brings you the best recipes by female chefs to get you grilling like a pro

Photography: Nassima Rothacker, Jonathan Gregson, Paul Winch-Furness, Jack Mathews, Liz and Max Haarala Hamilton, David Munns, Martin Poole

  • Sticky, spicy Korean pork ribs

    Preparation time: 5 minutes 
    Cooking time: 2 hours

    Ingredients (serves 6) 

    • 500g pork spare ribs
    • 50g fresh root ginger, roughly chopped
    • 5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
    • 125ml light soy sauce
    • 2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped, to garnish

    For the sauce:

    • 1 tbsp sesame oil
    • 4 tbsps gochujang (Korean red chilli paste)
    • 4 tbsps apricot jam
    • 1 tbsp regular soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
    • 1 tbsp white rice vinegar
    • 8 garlic cloves, minced
    • 5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and very finely chopped

    Step 1: Put the ribs in a large saucepan or stockpot with the ginger, garlic, soy sauce and enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and leave to cook gently for 1½ hours, until the ribs are tender.
    Step 2: Meanwhile, combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix together well. Line an oven tray with foil (this will make everything a lot easier to wash up later) and preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
    Step 3: Place ribs on the tray and brush with the sauce to coat evenly. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, turning and basting the ribs halfway through cooking. Meanwhile, light the barbecue.
    Step 4: Take the ribs out of the oven, brush with the remaining sauce, then place on the barbecue for 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce is sticky and beginning to char. Scatter with spring onions and serve.

    From K Food: Korean Home Cooking And Street Food by Da-Hae
    and Gareth West (£20, Mitchell Beazley)

  • Grilled seafood with Goan masala paste

    Preparation time: 20 minutes
    Cooking time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 4) 

    For the masala paste:

    • 6 Kashmiri or dried red chillies
    • 60ml boiling water
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds}
    • 1 tsp ground turmeric
    • ¼ tsp ground cloves
    • ¼ tsp cinnamon
    • ½ small onion
    • 2cm piece ginger, peeled
    • 5 garlic cloves
    • 1 tbsp tamarind puree
    • 2 tbsps malt vinegar
    • 1 tbsp sugar

    For the seafood:

    • 1kg mixed seafood, including raw prawns in their shells, halved raw lobster tails and deboned fish fillets with skin such as salmon, rainbow trout or redfish
    • 2 tbsps vegetable oil, for grilling
    • Lime wedges
    • Coriander sprigs
    • Chopped pineapple
    • Mango chutney

    Step 1: To make the recheio masala (masala paste), remove the stems and seeds from the chillies. Put the chillies in a heatproof bowl and cover with the boiling water. Stand for 10 minutes, then transfer them and the water to a blender with all of the remaining ingredients and a good teaspoon of salt. Purée until smooth and set aside.
    Step 2: Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut through the shell down the back of the unpeeled prawns and remove the vein. The shell will protect the prawns during cooking and the cut makes it easier for guests to pull the shells off. Spread a bit of the masala paste on all of the seafood including the fish but not the prawn shells.
    Step 3: Brush the shells with oil so they don’t stick to the barbecue. If you like, you can thread the prawns onto metal skewers or wooden ones that have been soaked in water for 15 minutes.
    Step 4: Light the barbecue, then grill the seafood for 5 minutes or until the flesh is cooked. Bigger pieces may take longer. Serve with lime wedges, coriander sprigs, chopped pineapple and the chutney.
    Get ahead: The masala paste can be made up to 1 week ahead of time, covered and refrigerated. Prepare and clean your seafood earlier in the day and refrigerate until ready to cook.

    From My Street Food Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce (£20, Murdoch Books)

  • Spicy marinated bavette steak

    Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus at least one hour marinating
    Cooking time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 4-5) 

    • 20g brown sugar (or pomegranate molasses)
    • 2g chilli powder
    • 4g ground cumin
    • 2g cayenne pepper
    • 2g ground coriander
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 4g dried oregano
    • 1 lime, zest and juice
    • 30ml soy sauce
    • 40ml olive oil
    • 1kg bavette or onglet steak, divided into four portions
    • Fresh coriander

    Step 1: Mix the sugar or molasses with the spices, garlic, herbs, lime juice and soy sauce. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
    Step 2: Put the marinade and steaks in a ziplock bag. Ensure the meat is completely covered. Marinate overnight or for no less than 1 hour. Turn the steaks to ensure even coverage.
    Step 3: Make sure the barbecue is searing hot before cooking as these are thin cuts of meat that are best served medium rare. Cook on each side for around 90 seconds, then cover in foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes in a warm place.
    Step 4: Slice the steak against the grain. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with chips or, alternatively, slaw and tortillas quickly grilled on the barbecue.

    Recipe by Jessica Simmons, head chef at Beef & Brew, Kentish Town, London (

  • Cachaça grilled chicken

    Preparation time: 5 minutes, plus 4 hours’ marinating time
    Cooking time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 4)

    • 500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
    • ½ tsp dried or fresh chopped oregano
    • 4 tbsps cachaça (a Brazilian spirit)
    • 2 tbsps olive oil
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • ½ tsp black pepper
    • Few sprigs flat-leaf parsley
    • Lime wedges, to serve

    Step 1: Open out the chicken thighs and place them on a chopping board. Cover with clingfilm and lightly bash them with a meat mallet or rolling pin until the meat is of even thickness. Place in a shallow dish and add the garlic, oregano, cachaça, olive oil, salt and pepper. Use your hands to work the marinade into the chicken flesh. Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least 4 hours.
    Step 2: Remove the chicken from the fridge half an hour before you start cooking. Light the barbecue and let the flames die down before starting to cook. If you like, thread the chicken onto metal skewers, which will make it easier to turn them. Cook on the barbecue for 3-5 minutes on each side until just cooked through – the chicken should feel firm when lightly pressed. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving with chopped parsley and lime wedges.

    From Carnival! by David Ponté, Lizzy Barber & Jamie Barber (£10, Quadrille)

  • Grilled courgette and grains

    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 30 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 4-6) 

    • 850g butternut squash
    • 2 tsps rosemary
    • ½ tsp caster sugar
    • 2 tbsps olive oil
    • 125g barley couscous
    • 700ml stock
    • 50g amaranth
    • 2 courgettes
    • 50g rocket
    • 2 tbsps toasted pine nuts
    • 2 tbsps chopped mint leaves
    • Salt and pepper

    For the dressing:

    • 2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1½ tbsps balsamic vinegar
    • Juice of ½ lemon
    • 2 tsps honey

    Step 1: Combine the butternut squash, rosemary, sugar, olive oil and roast for 20 minutes.
    Step 2: Make the couscous with 200ml of stock. Put the amaranth in a pan, cover with the rest of the stock, simmer for 20 minutes, drain and rinse. Brush courgette slices with oil, season and barbecue.
    Step 3: Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix the dressing and toss.

    From Grains Are Good by Ghillie James (£16.99, Kyle Books)

  • Charred celeriac steaks with crispy sweet potato fries

    Preparation time: 20 minutes
    Cooking time: 30 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 2) 

    • 2 sweet potatoes
    • Rapeseed or olive oil
    • 1 tbsp polenta
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1 celeriac
    • 25g Parmesan cheese (or vegetarian alternative)

    For the marinade:

    • 1 red chilli
    • Zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
    • 1 tbsp maple syrup
    • A few sprigs of fresh thyme

    For the salsa verde:

    • 3 cornichons
    • 1 tbsp capers
    • 1 small bunch each of fresh mint, basil and parsley
    • Zest and juice of ½ an unwaxed lemon
    • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

    Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas Mark 6. Fill and boil a kettle and get all your ingredients together.
    Step 2: Carefully cut the sweet potatoes into thin sticks about 1cm thick. Place them on a baking tray, drizzle with the oil, season with salt and pepper and scatter over the polenta. Crush the garlic cloves with the side of a knife, add them to the tray, toss the whole lot together and put into the oven for 25 minutes.
    Step 3: Fill a medium saucepan with hot water from the kettle and bring to the boil. Thickly peel the celeriac, then slice it into 2cm thick steaks and blanch in the boiling water for 5 minutes, until just tender.
    Step 4: Finely chop the red chilli and mix it with the lemon juice, maple syrup, thyme leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper to make a marinade.
    Step 5: Once the 5 minutes are up, drain the celeriac and put it into the marinade. Prepare the barbecue. Remember to keep an eye on the sweet potatoes and turn them from time to time so that they brown evenly.
    Step 6: To make the salsa verde, roughly chop the cornichons and capers, then add the herbs and chop everything together. Scoop into a bowl, grate in the lemon zest, squeeze in the juice and add 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of the marinade from the celeriac. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
    Step 7: Place the celeriac on the barbecue for 2–3 minutes on each side, until charred and cooked through, basting with the remaining marinade every minute or so.
    Step 8: Five minutes before the sweet potatoes are ready, turn the oven up to its maximum temperature. Take the fries out, grate over the Parmesan, then pop back into the oven to crisp up.
    Step 9: Serve the steaks with the fries and a generous spoon of salsa verde, and, if you like, with a green salad.

    From A Modern Way To Cook by Anna Jones (£25, Fourth Estate), out now

  • Grilled asparagus with za’atar and almonds

    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 4)

    For the za’atar:

    • 7 tbsps fresh thyme leaves  
    • 2 tbsps dried thyme
    • 1 tsp dried marjoram
    • 2 tsps sumac
    • Salt 
    • 3 tbsps sesame seeds, toasted

    For the asparagus:

    • 1 large bunch green asparagus, trimmed (about 20 spears)
    • Olive oil
    • 1 tbsp za’atar
    • Salt and pepper
    • Flaked almonds, toasted

    Step 1: To make the za’atar, preheat the oven to 150ºC/ 300ºF/Gas Mark 2. Dry the fresh thyme leaves in the oven for about 10 minutes. Once cool, crumble the thyme with your fingers. Add to a mortar with the dried thyme, marjoram, sumac, and sea salt and crush with the pestle. Once an even consistency is achieved, add the sesame seeds and stir.
    Step 2: Heat your barbecue. Toss the asparagus spears with olive oil. Grill for a few minutes until they start to char. Sprinkle with za’atar and season generously. Serve warm, with the toasted almonds.

    From The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook by Salma Hage (£24.95, Phaidon)

  • Nada’s koftas with pomegranate hummus

    Preparation time: 15 minutes
    Cooking time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients (makes 12 skewers) 

    For the koftas:

    • 500g minced lamb
    • 25g coriander leaves and fine stalks, finely chopped
    • 25g flat-leaf parsley leaves and fine stalks, finely chopped
    • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
    • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp Maldon sea salt 

    For the pomegranate hummus:

    • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and sliced
    • Sea salt and black pepper
    • 50ml water
    • 2-3 tbsps lemon juice
    • 75g tahini paste
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve 2 tsps fresh clementine or orange juice
    • ½ large pomegranate, seeds only
    • 12 wooden skewers, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes

    Step 1: Combine all the ingredients for the koftas in a large bowl. Remove a small handful of the mixture, approx. the size of a walnut, and mould it around one end of a skewer, closing your hand around it and squeezing to form a little sausage shape. Repeat to form two koftas per skewer, leaving a 1cm gap between each. Arrange the prepared skewers on a plate, cover with clingfilm and set aside in the fridge while you make the hummus.
    Step 2: Place the chickpeas in a food processor with the garlic and some salt and whizz to a paste, gradually adding the water through the funnel until you have a thick creamy puree. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and the tahini, and whizz until really creamy, and then add the olive oil and the clementine (or orange) juice. Taste for lemon and seasoning. Spoon the mixture into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and set aside in the fridge until needed.
    Step 3: Heat the barbecue and cook the koftas for 7–10 minutes in total, turning to colour them on all sides. Step 4: To serve, spoon the hummus into a little bowl, drizzle over a liberal dousing of olive oil and garnish with the pomegranate seeds. Serve the koftas separately with warm pitta bread.

    From How To Cook by Annie Bell (£25, Kyle Books)

  • Portobello sliders with pepita pesto

    Preparation time: 10 minutes 
    Cooking time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 4)

    For the burgers:

    • 8 small portobello mushrooms
    • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
    • Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
    • Tamari, for drizzling
    • 8 slider buns, toasted
    • 1 tomato, sliced 125g microgreens (or rocket)
    • Freshly ground black pepper

    For the pepita pesto:

    • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 500g coriander
    • 125g pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
    • ½ tsp ground cumin
    • Drizzle of honey
    • ​Sea salt and black pepper

    Step 1:
    Remove the mushroom stems and clean the caps. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tamari and pepper. Toss until well coated. (Use your hands to rub it all over until they are fully coated.)
    Step 2: Place the mushrooms, gill side down, on the barbecue. Cook for about 10 minutes per side, or until the mushrooms are tender.
    Step 3: Blend all the pesto ingredients in a food processor.
    Step 4: Place the mushrooms on the toasted buns and top with tomato, microgreens and the pesto.

    From The Love & Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio (£25, Avery)

  • Grilled fruit with salted brown sugar

    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 25 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 6)

    • 3 peaches
    • 3 bananas
    • 4½ tbsps dark brown sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • ¼ tsp flaky salt
    • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
    • 3 tbsps demerara sugar 

    Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Halve the peaches and bananas (still in their skins) lengthways. Place on a baking tray cut-side up. Stir together the brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon. Spread over the fruit, then cook for 20 minutes.
    Step 2: Sprinkle the fruit with the demerara sugar then barbecue for 2–5 minutes, until caramelised.

    From Everyday Delicious by Izy Hossack (£16.99, Hardie Grant)


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Jenny Tregoning

Jenny Tregoning is deputy production editor and food editor at Stylist, where she combines her love of grammar with lusting over images of food