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
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
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

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone