A realist’s barbecue
Let’s have a weather reality check – accept the barbecue is staying in the shed and make other plans
Delicious oven-baked barbecue ribs. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Perhaps my “Plan B” approach to some of the recipes this summer reek of pessimism, but hey! My barbecue is still in the shed and very unlikely to make an appearance unless my husband decides to get all hunter-gatherer on me. An unlikely occurrence I can safely say after six years of marriage. There may have been a flurry of coal-burning activity in 2007. But since then? Nada. What’s worse is he convinced me to get rid of my battered gas barbecue, with its layers of sticky, charred greasy barbecue debris, and trade it in for a natural type of barbecue which is an utter pain to get going, especially in drizzly weather. I don’t think we’ve bought charcoal since 2009, so maybe all this Plan B stuff isn’t quite so pessimistic but rather more realistic. Gas barbecues are great impromptu events and let’s face it, entertaining in the summer is more about the four seasons than rigorous adherence to strict planning.
Lean but tasty, these ribs are marinated in rich, black stout made fragrant by spices, and roasted to caramelised deliciousness in the oven. They would also work very well with the marinade from last week’s column (iti.ms/1yhpxoC). Either way, the ribs could certainly be cooked with some foil covering them in the oven for an hour and then finished on a barbecue if the sun is shining.
Accompanying them is a nutrient-packed slaw inspired by Dale Pinnock, whose book The Medicinal Chef showcases recipes that demonstrate the healing powers of good nutrition. Here, the sweet earthiness of beetroot is combined with shredded red cabbage and red onion to create a purple feast of flavour. It needed a bit more welly in terms of vinegar and oil than Pinnock would tolerate and I also seasoned the leftovers with some sesame oil and sesame seeds for a bit of a change. Plus some dried seaweed to boot. It became a lunch and dinner staple for me for the week – and although I am ashamed to say it – it still tasted good on day five, although the Safe Food police wouldn’t want you to keep it longer than three days. This is a dish I will be rolling out again and again this summer, and is a good contender for the shredding blade on your food processor.