Summer Menu of Grilled Delights

Mark Egan — 7 December 2010

THESE CRAFTY RECIPES are about as gourmet as you can get while on the road. Simple methods, easy-to-find ingredients, and a splash of local produce make these delights ideal for travellers. Grab some skewers from the town market, have a chat with your local fish monger, gather some crisp summer veges and fire up the barbie for a spread that will impress, wherever your summer sojourn may take you.

Family-friendly ingredients guide:
(V) = Vegetarian

(GF) = Gluten free

(DF) = Dairy free

Surprise satay sauce (V) (GF) (DF)
The brilliant thing about this recipe is that it combines ordinary ingredients, that are already staples in your van’s pantry, and turns them into a sauce that’s as extraordinary as it is versatile. You can either lather the sauce on broccoli and barbecue for a tangy side dish, or serve on seafood or meat for mains with an exotic touch.

You will need:

  • 2½ tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste/sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Tabasco sauce or chilli powder

In a large mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and tomato paste (or tomato sauce will pass, for a slightly sweeter version), then add Tabasco or chilli powder to taste. Our tip is if you don’t mind the heat, this sauce will benefit from having a bit of bite. Add a tablespoon of oil and stir to make a paste.

>> with Broccoli (V) (GF) (DF)

For a delicious meal accompaniment, cut a generous bunch of broccoli lengthways into half inch thick slices, add these to your mixing bowl of satay sauce and toss through until the broccoli is evenly covered. Grill on medium to high heat until charred, then serve hot.

>> with Prawns (GF) (DF)

Seafood and satay is a sure winner, especially in warmer months. When in possession of juicy, Australian grown prawns, toss four prawns per person through the satay sauce to cover evenly, add to skewers, and barbecue on the hotplate on medium heat for about two minutes each side.

>> with Chicken (GF) (DF)

Satay chicken skewers among a carnivore’s barbecue spread add some variety of flavour between steak and sausage. Take a chicken breast fillet for every two people, slice into one-inch cubes, and cover evenly in satay sauce. Add to skewers and grill on medium heat until cooked through. Check the chicken with a fork to avoid pink meat, and remember that barbecue goers generally don’t mind a bit of charred meat.

Lightly battered fish salad (DF) and burrito
Fish with salad is always great, but fish in salad is even better! With this recipe, you can swap fish for squid or chicken, or leave it out completely to change up the centrepiece of this refreshing dish.

Tip: Use pure maize cornflour for a gluten free alternative

You will need:

  • 3 medium-sized fillets of fish (when on the road, ask a fish monger to recommend a good, fleshy white fish so your specimen will be local and fresh)
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 iceberg lettuce
  • ½ punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 2 spring onions
  • Handful of crispy snow peas
  • Mexican-style burrito tortillas and salsa (optional)

>> the fish part

Clean and fillet your day’s catch or, falling short of bagging yourself dinner, grab some firm white fish of your choosing from the local fishery. Slice the fish into finger-sized pieces, cutting, as best you can, with the grain of the fish’s flesh.

In a clean plastic bag (freezer bags work fine) add flour, salt and cracked pepper. Trapping a handful of air in the bag, seal off the open end and shake to combine the ingredients. Open the bag, add the fish pieces, seal off and shake once again, until the fish is well coated.

Barbecue fish pieces on medium heat on the hotplate, turning regularly. Remove when the fish is golden, and the skin crispy. Leave to stand.

>> the salad part

Wash and cut your favourite garden salad ingredients. My favourites are crisp iceberg lettuce, cut into strips; fresh cherry tomatoes, halved; red capsicum, very thinly sliced; chopped spring onion and whole snow peas.

Combine your salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and dress with olive oil. You can use your favourite salad dressing, but make sure it is mild so it doesn’t overpower the fish. Transfer salad portions to plates or bowls, top with fish slices and serve.

Tip: For a sweet kicker, add some fruit to your salad. If you’re travelling up north, you can’t beat a fresh sliced mango. Further south, some local apples, tinned lychees or pears will liven your salad up nicely and keep to the summer theme.

>> a Mexican twist

Try something a little different by transforming this dish into single-serve burritos. Wrap some burrito-style tortillas in aluminium foil and warm on the hotplate. Serve alongside fish and salad, with a generous scoop of tomato salsa, for roll-it-yourself wraps.

Tip: Once you become confident in your ability to stuff and wrap burritos without too much mess, grill the formed burrito, pressing it softly down with your barbie spatula until it is warm and starting to brown (see image)

Tantalising BBQ corn (V) (GF) (DF)
For this recipe, you’re going to need a sharp knife and a heatproof cup. A basic tin cup, available from most camping stores, will come in very handy when preparing warm sauces to accompany grilled delights. A sharp knife is also imperative for quality cooking, so the sooner you get one, the sooner you’ll be ripping in the camp kitchen.

You will need:

  • 1 cob of corn per person
  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Dash of olive oil
  • Salt
  • Spices to taste (optional)

Using a sharp knife, slice the cobs of corn across ways into 2in thick slices.

Add butter to your heatproof cup and place it on the hotplate. Be careful to remove the liquid from the heat if it starts to boil – it only needs to be warmed through. Crush and finely dice a clove of garlic and fry it on your hotplate, with a dash of oil, on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and starting to brown.

Add the cooked garlic to the cup of melted butter and add salt to taste.

Lie slices of corn flat on the hotplate. As it cooks, baste the corn with a little bit of the marinade and flip each piece regularly. When the sides start to char, remove from heat and serve with a healthy splash of the marinade poured over the top.

>> spice it up
Swap the garlic for some dried, flaked or fresh chilli, paprika or cayenne pepper for a more tangy sidedish.

>> veg out
Using this same procedure, throw some similarly sliced zucchini, eggplant or asparagus on the grill alongside the corn. Any of these will add a splash of colour, and a whole lot of flavour.

Greek-style lamb skewers with yoghurt sauce
This impressive dish is great for cooking on the road, because it can be prepared in the morning and left in the fridge to marinate until dinner time.

You will need:

  • 4 medium lamb steaks
  • ½ cup oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic (or 2 tablespoon crushed garlic)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of dried herbs (oregano or rosemary would be perfect)
  • Black pepper
  • ½ cup Greek-style yoghurt
  • Mint (fresh or dried)

In a large mixing bowl, combine ½ cup of oil, most of the juice from one lemon, two cloves of garlic (crushed), the dried oregano or rosemary, and a generous pinch of black pepper.

Cut the lamb into inch cubes and toss it through the marinade. When the lamb is evenly covered, transfer the contents of the mixing bowl into a sealed container. Keep refrigerated and leave to marinate for up to a day.

When ready to cook, take the lamb from its marinade and thread each piece onto skewers. Cook the kebabs on grill, turning regularly until all sides are well browned. While your kebabs are cooking, combine ½ cup plain or greek style yoghurt with another clove of crushed garlic, a dash of lemon juice and some fresh or dried mint if you have any handy. Stir into a thick sauce.

Serve the sauce alongside for dipping, or drizzle over each kebabs before serving.

WORDS Mark Egan
Written exclusively for


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