Brilliant barbecue sauce

20140626-190337.jpg The weather has been glorious (never a given in the UK, even in the summer!) – perfect for picnics and barbecues. I think a barbecue needs more than the grill and a few salad sides, it also needs a great sauce! Used to marinate, baste or as a condiment this sauce delivers all the punch and power required. In my mind a barbecue sauce needs to be sweet, salty, sour, tangy, spicy with tons of umami – this sauce certainly has that flavour profile! It also keeps well for a few weeks in the fridge – perfect! So fire up that barbecue and enjoy! Barbecue Sauce (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian, vegan) 20140626-190316.jpgMakes a small jar ful, multiply as necessary

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (or use 1 tsp marmite if avoiding soya)
  • 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder (leave out if mustard a problem)
  • 1 tsp vegetarian Worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Dried herbs of choice, I used herbs de Provence
  • Chilli (optional)

– Sweat off the onion in the oil until soft but not coloured – Add the garlic and continue to cook until fragrant. –  Add all the other ingredients and cook for a few minutes. – Taste and adjust as desired. – Store in a sterilised jar in the fridge 20140626-190251.jpg

Smoked Paprika and Parsley Falafel Patties (with Lemon Egg-free Mayo)

For some reason I got to thinking about the combination of smoked paprika and parsley (I do think about food a lot on my long, gruelling commute!) and pondered how I could combine them in a interesting way. Obviously smoked paprika works perfectly in stews or sauces, but I had a feeling that some kind of patty would also work well. In fact these little burgers of chickpeas, parsley and smoked paprika work a treat and will make a good choice for a picnic or barbecue. They work especially well with the lemon and garlic mayo. The only question is what to call them – they’re a kind of falafel as they’re made of chickpeas, a kind of burger, patty, cakes – in the end I opted for falafel patties to cover as many bases as possible!

Smoked Paprika and Parsley Falafel Patties (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan – to make gluten-free use gluten-free flour)

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makes 6

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsps smoked paprika, use the sweet variety unless you like it HOT!
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained (or use soaked and cooked dried beans – I just didn’t have the time!)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • big handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp smoky chipotle sauce (optional)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

– Fry the shallot in the oil until soft

– Stir in the garlic and paprika and cook until fragrant, set aside

– Blitz the chickpeas in a food processor until resembling breadcrumbs.

– Add all the other ingredients and pulse until well combined

– Turn into a bowl and place in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour to firm up

– Form into 6 patties and leave in the fridge until ready to use

– Fry in a little sunflower oil until golden brown

– Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the lemon and parsley mayo.

Lemon and Garlic Egg-free Mayo

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  • 2-3 tbsps egg-free mayo
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • salt
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced

– Combine all the ingredients

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Salsa Verde

We seems to have been eating a lot of wintery, stodgy fare this January – but the sight of some welcome sun and snowdrops popping up has inspired a hint of spring in my cooking. What better way to add some sunshine to a meal than heaps of fresh herbs in a brilliant bright green sauce? And with piquant gherkins and capers you have something truly vibrant.

Normally served with meat or fish, I think this rustic salsa is perfect with roasted Mediterranean vegetables. It also makes an awesome potato salad.

Salsa Verde (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

IMG_4267Makes plenty for 4 people

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp capers, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup gerkins/cornichons, finely chopped
  • 2 large handfuls of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch of basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2-3 tbsps red wine vinegar
  • 6-8 tbsps extra virgin olive oil, depending on desired consistency
  • salt and pepper

– Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.

– Taste well, adjusting the vinegar, seasoning and olive according to how you like it.

– Cover until ready to use.

– Best eaten on the day it’s made.

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