Tag Archives: BBQ

Memphis Dry Rub Ribs and ‘slaw

20 Nov

Love Me Tender

It’s only been a few weeks since Josh and I were expanding our waistlines in the Deep South but our cravings for wholesome, beautiful soul food have not diminished one jot.  If anything my hankering for smoky sweet pulled pork or heavenly barbecue beans or killer rum cocktails or tender spicy fried chicken has only intensified.

This weekend we did the only thing we could do.  We recreated a slice of the Deep South in the Deep South of England, in Winchester.  We bought four fine racks of pork ribs at the Good Life Farm Shop put some Howlin’ Wolf and bluegrass on the stereo, made a dry rub and slowly, slowly slowly baked the ribs. Oh my. They were incredible.  Soft, hot and spicy, juicy goodness.  Perfect with creamy slaw.  Get the best ribs you can, put aside an afternoon to potter about in your kitchen, leave your airs and graces to the side and prepare to get smudgy and devour these finger lickin’ tender ribs.

To buy (for 4 greedy people):

* 4 lovely racks of ribs   *1/4 cup paprika   *2tbsp salt   *2tbsp freshly ground black pepper   *2 tbsp onion powder   *1tbsp cayenne pepper   *2 tbsp garlic powder   *2 tbsp soft brown sugar

*half a cabbage   *2 small red onions   *a few small carrots   *splash of white vinegar   *125g mayo   *50g salad cream   *pinch of sugar   *salt and pepper

To make:

1. Mix the various spices in a bowl.  Wash the ribs and place, still damp, on a baking tray.  Sprinkle and pat the ribs – front and back – with the rub until it appears moist and fully covers the ribs.  Any rub you don’t use can be kept in an airtight container.

2. In a pre-heated oven (150OC) bake the ribs for 3 hours, or longer if you like (just turn down the oven if so).  The ribs will be blackened on the outside but soft, pink and juicy inside.

Rub a dub dub.

3. Once the ribs are in the oven make your coleslaw so that it has time to soak together and taste extra special.  With a knife or a processor shred the cabbage, onion and carrots.  In a large bowl combine and mix them then add the mayo, vinegar and salad cream.

4. Season with the salt and pepper and add a big pinch of sugar.  Give it all a good mix and leave covered in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.  Tinker with the ‘slaw and add more mayo or seasoning as you like.

5. When your ribs are ready serve with a number of napkins or paper towels, a light salad (if only to make you feel a little saintly)  your ‘slaw and then beans or sweetcorn if you feel like it.  Enjoy.



Review: Bodean’s BBQ

28 May

Pork fest


10 Poland Street, London, W1F 8PZ

020 7287 7575

At the end of summer Josh and I will embark on another American Roadtrip but this time, we will leave behind the ochre New England forests and salty Cape Cod beaches for the sticky, soulful South.  Already my tummy rumbles at the prospect of beignets and po’boys in New Orleans, pulled pork in Memphis, slow burning tamales in Clarksdale, meat and three in Nashville, crab and shrimp in Charleston and stacks and stacks and stacks of sweet, smoky barbecue.

Today, we were treated to a preview of these waist-expanding delights when we accompanied Josh’s parents to Bodean’s in Soho.  Upstairs the floor is laid-out like a diner – all white tiles, stools at the counters and baseball on the telly.  Downstairs it’s dimly lit, tartan carpets and green leather straight back booths – to my eternal shame I’m yet to set foot in an Angus Steakhouse – but I imagine the decor is broadly the same; and this is no bad thing.

Our service was quick, friendly and eager to please.  We began with cocktails.  Josh had the dubious sounding ‘largerita’ – a concoction of beer and tequilla which I promise was better than it sounds – whilst Howard plumped for a trusty mojito and I nursed a short cocktail made with apple juice and Kraken black spiced rum – lipsmacking.

Sweet smoky goodness

We ordered a plate to share to whet our appetites and quickly tucked into sticky chicken wings, pork fajitas, crab cakes and ribs, which we drizzled with blue cheese sauce.  Very nice all of it.  But then the main act arrived on the stage and was simply “ribs ribs, RIBS!”  I was given a platter larger than my face, piled high with babyback ribs, slaw, pulled pork and spicy, crisp fries.  Leonie had ribs, Howard had ribs, Josh had burnt ends – spicy, sweet, chunky beef – pulled pork and cheesey, chilli fries.  I am exhausted just typing it.  Napkins were deployed, bottles of smoked hickory BBQ and hot chipotle sauces flowed and we ate, pulling meat of bone with our fingers and teeth.  Indeed ‘need no teef to eat my beef’ is the slogan of Bodean’s owner and the soft pork fell away from the bone with ease.  The table weighed heavy with our plates and also held bowls of lemony-fresh wipes and tooth picks – essential tools of the trade when you’re elbow deep in ribs!

We ate and ate and ate.  The fries were really very good, the coleslaw better than expected, but my goodness it was the pork that sung the loudest.  Soft and juicy, plump and sweet. Just delicous and lots of fun.  When we could eat no more we checked with the waitress that we could carry out our leftovers, we could!, and as I type this, I can’t stop thinking of the doggy-bag of meat in my kitchen, waiting for me to attack later on tonight as soon as my stomach does the gentlest of murmurs.

Whilst Bodean’s may not be the perfect place for a first date – I am not sure if chewing on ribs has ever attracted a sweetheart? – it is a great meaty treat.  Vegetarians beware, ditto weightwatchers, barbecue lovers wear loose pants.  Bodean’s will leave you smiling ear to ear and begging for more.

Burnt ends and chilli cheese fries

I just ate my entire body weight in pasta – a trip to Sicily…

8 Jun


Last week I was lucky enough to spend a week’s holiday in Sicily – land of the slow food movement – and if I didn’t just spend the entire 7 days doing my best foie gras duck impression. Turns out, those Sicilians really know their onions. And tomatoes… and coffee, chocolate, cheese and ice-cream…

Drive or wander through the island – avoiding the other scooters and crazy motorists to a cacophony of honking horns and dire Italian radio – and you can’t help but be struck by the incredible natural abundance.  As the hot hot sun beats down on lemon and orange trees and olive groves the air is scented with fresh sage and lavender and the roadside stalls heave with swollen, ripe tomatoes, you realise, this is going to be tasty. Bloody tasty.

Even a trip to Carrefour (full disclosure: mooching in foreign supermarkets is one of my ultimate nerdy pleasures) reveals piles of fresh, wonderfully misshapen fruits – surrounded by greedy buzzy flies – and stacks of grana padano, mounds of shiny jellyfish and squid and giant swordfish jutting into the aisles. Whole baby rabbits – their little blue eyes staring glassily through the clingfilm peek at you. And there is row upon row of wine and coffee and olive oil.

World's LARGEST garlic.

Our barbecues – beef, pepper and chilli kebabs – and lamb chops marinated for days in oil and rosemary, huge langoustines grilled over the coals and pasta dressed in a lemon and thyme dressing (fresh from the garden!) with tomatoes and olives in lashings of oil – were intense. From the peach and ham salad to the peppers stuffed with garlic-y, cheesy risotto, everything was fresh and everything was bursting with flavour.

In Noto, a stunning Baroque town, we went for ice-cream at the famous Cafe Sicilia. there we scoffed on granita (in mouth-tingling lemon, juicy blood orange and punchy espresso), smooth hazelnut and rich chocolate gelato and I wolfed down a cassata, made with ricotta, candied fruit and pistachio.

In Modica we bought chocolate from Antica Dolceria Bonajuto – a stunning little artisan chocolate shop where they have made chocolate the same way for six generations. And the chocolate was flavoured with nutmeg or orange peel, pepper or vanilla. Amazing. We were offered and duly tried (more than once) ‘mpanatigghi – a South American empanada – which was filled with meat and chocolate. It was sweet, spicy and slightly metallic. Not entirely lovely but you know, interesting…

Gelato in Syracuse

At dinner in slow-food tavernas we feasted until we could barely move (seriously, it was filthy) on pork gelatine, arancini – deep fried rice balls – juicy olives, local cheese and salami, mussels, swordfish, homemade ravioli, huge snails, grilled courgette and peppers, so juicy and tender, lasagne cacate, sausages cooked in red wine, giant calzones and tender tomato salads. And that was just for starters!

We ate in bustling squares and in peaceful terraces,  we were served with grace and panache and we washed down our food with gallons of punchy red wine.

On a silly level I loved polishing off my meal and then troughing on a crème brûlée vienetta (why why why can’t we get them in the UK?!) and I loved the gorgeous vanilla wafers with my morning espresso. I loved the way that on every corner adults of every persuasion ate icecream at all hours – quite rightly in my opinion. And I jolly well adored seeing the “let’s pizza” hot pizza dispenser in the airport. That’s right. A machine that dispenses slices of pizza. Holy macaroni! The only downside was that it was broken when we rushed to use it but still, a country that has pizza dispensers is all right by me…

Sicily is without question a bombastic place. The dramatic history, the stunning and some times dreadful architecture, the mountains and coastline, the noise and the fuss, the sheer drama of the place is incredible. For those that like to eat and drink and eat and drink again – go. Wear loose fitting outfits and buy a bigger swimsuit. Worry about your diet when you get back. Feast. You won’t regret it! 

As fresh as it gets.

Guilty Pleasures: Summer Barbecues

24 May


Dr Dre once rapped about making it large, about driving fancy cars and no more living hard. He rapped about having barbecues every day. And wow. When I make it I am going to have a Barbecue every day. Every day.  Every day I will wake up and the air will smell of sweet blossom, the sky will be a blistering azure and pretty girls will be cycling in their summer dresses.*

Until then, a barbeque is a fantastically rare and insanely exciting event. Whether it’s an illicit tesco-burgers-and-cans-of-cider-bbq-in-the-park, the soggy blitz spirit & brollies-out get-up or the full-on family affair, highly professional, replete with salad(!) and all of the neighbourhood Dads competing to see who can be most manly and master the flames, I love them. The smell of smoke in your hair and the smeared ketchup on your fingers. Nostalgic and silly, just wonderful.

With all of this balmy weather in London I leapt at the chance to cook, nay burn, my dinner outside. Rum and coke on ice? Check. Boom boom beef burgers ready to griddle? Check. Naughty cheesy coleslaw ready to scoff? Check. Halloumi kebabs (spiked with courgette and red onion, drizzled in a thyme, lemon and mustard glaze) assembled? Check. New freckles busily growing in the blistering sunshine? Check. Awesome summer playlist (we’re talking Paul Simon, Modest Mouse and a slice of Vampire Weekend..) on my iphone for some happy beats? Check.

Rock and roll! This was textbook BBQing. It was a little tipsy, I was a smite sunburnt, dare I say it the burgers were a tad overdone. I, perchance, ate more than I should have. Ahem. Yes, yes. This is how you do it. And isn’t it just the best. Maybe not for every day. I am no Dr Dre. But in the meantime even just once in a while is amazing. x

*Incidentally, when I make it large, in my fantasy, ALL men will keep their tops on in public – outside a lido – no matter if they have a real or imaginary gym hardbody. Ok fellas, just keep your shirts on yeah? Thanks.

Recipe: Boom Boom Beef Burgers

22 Apr

Boom - here it is!

Burgers. I love them. They taste like summer and hangovers and sometimes a little bit of both. Home-made burgers are just so juicy and chunky and so much fun to make and here’s a recipe for a couple of beef burgers that take little effort and deliver lots of BOOM BOOM taste!

To buy:

*1 very small onion or a handful of shallots   *sunflower oil   *big pinch of oregano   *small pinch of chilli   *big pinch of cumin   *big pinch of paprika   *250g good quality minced beef   *1tsp Worcestershire sauce   *1 egg, lightly beaten.  Serve with: coleslaw and chips and on a bun with loads of lettuce, mayo, ketchup and lovely sliced cheese.

To make:

1.Chop the onions really finely and cook in the oil with the oregano, cumin, chilli and paprika until it’s super soft. Then pop into a bowl and leave to cool.

2. When the onions are cold add the minced beef, salf and pepper, Worcestershire sauce and just enough egg to keep it all together, with sparkling clean hands, bind together to make two juicy beefburgers. Wrap each burger in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for at least half an hour but for as long as you like.

3.  When you’re ready (and if you’re having chips then they only have around 10 minutes left to cook) heat oil in the frying pan and on a medium heat fry the burgers, only turning once or a couple of times, for about 10 minutes so that they’re cooked and sizzling on the outside but still pink and juicy inside.

4. To serve, slice your buns and make towers of cheese and sauce, ketchup and mayo. Gherkins and relish are good. Beer or milkshake too.

Easy. If I were trying to woo a chap I would serve him this for dinner. Fun, easy and jolly good. Makes me very excited for summer!!