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
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
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

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine