It’s time to dust off the barbecue, scrub the grill and enjoy cooking al fresco. Besides producing fabulous flavoursome foods, I find barbecues encourage family togetherness and conversation — it's difficult to watch television dining under a sun umbrella!
Barbecue cooking has become sophisticated: marinades and spicy rubs add exotic flavours to meats and fish; minced meats combined with Asian ingredients make tasty burgers; fresh herbs add interest to fish and shellfish; and popular vegetarian recipes have been created to cater for non-meat eaters. 

One of my standbys is thickly sliced eggplants, capsicums and courgettes combined in a large bowl with whole mushrooms, a generous slosh of olive oil, plenty of crushed garlic and freshly ground black pepper. Move the vegetables around to ensure they are well coated. They can be marinated — covered — in the fridge for several hours. Barbecue in batches until just tender. 

Tip: When barbecuing chicken, use a low to medium heat to prevent burning. If possible, grill poultry with the skin on to retain moisture and flavour. To test chicken for doneness, make a small cut in the meat with the point of a sharp knife. There shouldn't be any trace of pink in the flesh and juices should run clear.


I used a Bird & Barrow naked butterflied chicken ie it was marinade-free. It’s also antibiotic free, free-range, tender and flavoursome.

1.3kg butterflied chicken
1/2 cup piripiri sauce
1/4 cup each: olive oil, lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, crushed

Place the chicken in a shallow dish. Combine the piripiri sauce, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Brush the chicken generously all over with the mixture. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, turning over once.

Preheat a barbecue with a cover to about 180°C. 

Place the chicken on the hot plate or in a shallow baking tray, cut-side down. Cover and cook for about 50-60 minutes until the juices run clear or the internal temperature is 82°C. 

Serve with the skewered barbecued taewa. Serves 6.


Taewa or riwai are potatoes with purple flesh and skin. I’ve chosen small ones. They heat through quickly on the barbecue.

500g small purple potatoes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary

Boil or steam the potatoes until they are just tender. Don’t overcook as they will break up when skewered. Cool.

Thread onto metal skewers. Combine the garlic, olive oil and rosemary. Brush over the potatoes. Barbecue for 8-10 minutes, turning often. Serves 6.


Chickpea Burgers: 2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon each: ground cumin, paprika, cinnamon
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 cup each: chopped parsley, mint
finely grated rind and juice 1 small lemon
240g baby spinach leaves, steamed, squeezed dry and chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking
Fennel & Feta Salad: 200g low salt feta
1 small fennel bulb
1 teaspoon diced chilli
finely grated rind and juice 1 small lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Extras: 6 burger buns, halved and toasted
1/2 cup mayo
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced

Place the chickpeas, garlic, spices, chickpea flour, tahini, lemon rind and juice and herbs in a food processor and mix well. 

Combine the cooked spinach with the chickpea mixture. Form into 6 equal patties about the dimension of the burger buns. Chill.

To make the salad, drain the feta and cut into 6 equal pieces.

Thinly slice the fennel into rounds. Place the feta and fennel in a shallow dish. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the top. Marinate until ready to cook.

To cook, brush the chickpea burgers with olive oil. Barbecue for about 3-4 minutes each side depending on the thickness.

Drain the feta and fennel and barbecue on a hot plate for about 2 minutes each side.

Spread the bottom half of each burger buns with mayo. Top with the chickpea burgers, tomato, feta, fennel and red onion. Serves 6.


1kg skinned and boned fish fillets or steaks, about 2cm thick
spray olive oil
freshly ground salt and black pepper to taste
1-2 teaspoons finely grated root ginger
1 cup chopped fresh mixed herbs eg basil, mint, parsley and coriander
1/2 cup coconut cream

Cut the fish into six serving-sized pieces. Cut six pieces of baking paper and six pieces of foil large enough to wrap the fish in.

Spray the baking paper with oil. Place the fish in the centre of the paper, season with salt and pepper and top with the ginger, herbs and coconut cream. Wrap the fish in the paper then wrap each serving in foil.

Refrigerate, until ready to cook (up to 2 hours). Place the packets on a medium-high heat grill. Barbecue for 5-6 minutes, until sizzling and cooked. Serves 6.


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