Thrill of the grill: Mark Hix gets creative with skewers

We're really warming up for the barbecue season now and it's time to start thinking about getting creative with what you can put on your bamboo or barbecue skewers and how you can serve them.

Skewered food doesn't always have to be cooked on the barbecue, either – you can introduce the concept at a dinner party by either serving skewers cooked under the grill, or on a ribbed griddle pan, as a separate course, or part of a selection of dishes.

The Japanese are past masters when it comes to serving simple but sophisticated skewers – yakitori – and on my trips to Tokyo I've been pleasantly surprised to discover delicious little bits and pieces such as duck hearts or fish collar on bamboo sticks.

Veal meatballs with morels and leeks

Serves 4

Finally, British-reared veal really seems to be taking off and that poorly-reared meat from the past which had no flavour is almost forgotten, thank goodness. Your butcher may stock British veal – we buy our veal from Bocaddon Farm down in Cornwall (bocaddonfarmveal.com) and Brookfield Farm in Dorset and it has an absolutely fantastic flavour. Down in my home town in Bridport, Philip Frampton has a great butcher's shop under the town hall and he sells various cuts from Brookfield Farm.

You will find that just a little minced veal actually goes quite a long way when you cook it in the form of a kebab, on an open charcoal grill or a griddle pan for maximum barbecue flavour.

400g minced veal shin or flank
6 large spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 bamboo skewers
A little vegetable or corn oil
2 large leeks, halved, roughly chopped and washed
50g butter
100-150g morels or any other seasonal wild mushrooms, halved and washed, cut into even-sized pieces and cleaned
200g double cream
2tbsp chopped parsley

Mix the spring onions with the veal and season. Mould the mixture into 16 flat meatballs and skewer 4 meatballs onto each skewer.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and gently cook the leeks with a lid on for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the cream, season and simmer for 4-5 minutes, until the cream is just coating the leeks.

Meanwhile, preheat a barbecue or griddle pan, season the meatballs and brush with a little oil. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side, keeping them slightly pink.

To serve, spoon the leeks on to serving plates and lay the meatballs on top, either on or off the skewer. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Chicken teriyaki with wild garlic

Serves 4

This is a really easy and quick barbecue dish to rustle up, especially as there are plenty of good-quality teriyaki marinades available in local Asian shops, markets and supermarkets.

I have also used some end-of-season wild garlic leaves for a base; they just need to wilt briefly in a frying pan, but you could serve them with some Asian greens like pak choi or choi sum.

8 boned and skinned free-range chicken thighs

4-5tbsp teriyaki marinade
4 bamboo skewers
A couple of handfuls of wild garlic leaves or Asian greens
1tbsp light sesame oil
A few sprigs of coriander

Cut the chicken thighs into 4 pieces each and marinate them in the teriyaki sauce for a couple of hours in the fridge. Thread the chicken on to the skewers. Preheat a barbecue or griddle pan and cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with the sesame oil and quickly cook the wild garlic leaves for a minute or so (the greens will need a little longer).

Spoon the wild garlic on to serving plates and serve the chicken on top, either on or off the skewers and scatter the coriander on top.

Grilled peppered pineapple with coconut rice

Serves 4

Pineapple lends itself to grilling and serving with piquant flavours such as pepper or chilli. I've served this as a dessert with coconut rice, a perfect match for the sweetness of the grilled pineapple.

1 small pineapple, peeled, quartered, core removed and cut into 2cm chunks
1tbsp cracked black peppers
4 bamboo skewers
60g pudding rice
800ml-1ltr milk
80g caster sugar
1 x 400ml can coconut milk

First make the rice. Put the rice, two-thirds of the milk and the sugar in a thick-bottomed saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer gently (preferably on a simmer plate) for about 20-25 minutes. Halfway through, add the rest of the milk, stirring every so often and adding more milk if the rice is getting dry, until the grains are tender. Add half of the coconut milk and continue simmering for a few minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the rest of the coconut milk and stir every so often until the rice is cool. The rice should be a fairly creamy consistency; if not, you can adjust it with a little more milk.

Meanwhile, preheat a griddle pan or barbecue. Thread the pineapple pieces onto the bamboo skewers and season with the black pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, turning the pineapple as it's cooking so it gets nicely caramelised. To serve, spoon the rice on to serving plates and arrange the pineapple on top.

Suggested Topics
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick