Dining alfresco

BBQ season is here so get fired up! Food editor Melanie Pike says don’t forget the sides.

Cider can chicken

Serves 4-6

  • 1.5kg whole chicken
  • 375ml can apple cider, at room temp
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Olive oil spray


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 1½ tbsp chicken salt
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar


Mix all the rub ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the chicken to the bowl and use your hands to rub the mixture all over it. Any leftovers can be rubbed into the cavity and under the skin. If you have time, do this step the day before and let it marinate, uncovered, in the fridge.

Preheat the barbecue to hot.

Gently pour 50ml of cider out of the can to make room. Holding the can over a bowl, add the garlic clove, bay leaf and salt to the can. If it erupts in a froth, pour any escaped cider back into the can.

Keeping everything upright, shove the can into the cavity of the chicken, working the fit to make a solid base that can support the chook when standing upright. Spray the chicken skin all over with oil, then transfer to the barbecue. Lower the hood and set a timer for 50 minutes — even though it’s tempting to open the lid and look, don’t.

After 50 minutes, check to see if your chicken is cooked by piercing it with a skewer in the thickest part — if the juices run clear, it’s ready (if not, lower the lid and try again in another 5 minutes).

Once it’s cooked, allow the chicken to rest sitting upright on the can for 10 minutes before removing and carving. There will be juice left inside the cider can which you can drizzle over the top, although the full amount is probably too much. Serve with a simple salad, some barbecued sweet corn and bread.

Zero F*cks Cooking: Endless Summer by Yumi Stynes is published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $39.99. Photography by Chris Chen.



Sweet and sour broccoli salad

Serves 4

  • 80ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely grated
  • ½ tsp sumac
  • 1 large broccoli (about 400g), cut into florets, then thinly sliced
  • 1 handful almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 1 handful coriander leaves, torn
  • 1 handful mint leaves, torn
  • 1 small handful dill fronds
  • 5 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1-2 long red chillies, halved, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp black tahini


In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey and ginger until well combined.

Add the sumac, broccoli, almonds, coriander, mint, dill, dates and chillies to a bowl. Toss to combine and then season with salt and pepper.

Smear the tahini over a serving platter or plates, top with the broccoli salad and serve.

Eat Your Greens by Pete Evans is published by Plum RRP $39.99. Photography by William Meppem.



Jerk-spiced ribs with pineapple rum salsa

Serves 4-6

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño chillies
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 racks baby back ribs, each 1-1.1 kg




  • 375g fresh pineapple, finely diced
  • ¼ red capsicum, finely diced
  • ½ small onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp hot chilli sauce, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp dark or spiced rum


In a food processor, combine paste ingredients and process. Using a blunt dinner knife, lift and loosen the membrane on the back of the ribs and remove. Spread the paste evenly all over the racks. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

To make the salsa, combine the pineapple, capsicum, onion, coriander, salt and hot sauce. Cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, stir in the lime juice and rum.

Let the racks stand at room temp for 45 minutes before cooking. Prepare barbecue for indirect cooking over very low heat, 93-130°C.

Cook the racks, bone side down first for 2½-3 hours, with the lid closed, turning the racks, rotating them and switching their positions about every 40 minutes. Baste them occasionally with water to keep moist.

The racks are done when the meat has shrunk back from the ends of the bones by 5mm or more. To test if done, lift a rack bone side up at one end — if it bends so much in the middle that the meat tears easily, it’s ready; if not, continue to cook until it does, up to 1 hour more. Transfer racks to a serving plate and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Cut each rack in half or into individual ribs and serve warm with the salsa.

Weber’s Greatest Hits by Jamie Purviance is published by Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99. Photography by Ray Kachatorian.



Lamb kofta

Serves 6

  • 900g boneless lamb shoulder, fat on
  • 1 small red capsicum, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp hot paprika
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground sumac
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Vegetable oil, for drizzling


  • 80ml lemon juice
  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 180g tahini
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • Hot water, for thinning


Ask your butcher to coarsely mince the lamb. Put in a bowl with capsicum, spices and salt. Mix well, cover and refrigerate 3-4 hours.

Divide into six equal balls. Press each ball evenly along a flat metal skewer to form a sausage shape. Lay the skewers on a tray, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. 

To make the sauce, process the lemon juice and garlic in a food processor until smooth, then strain through a fine sieve. Mix in tahini and cumin, then whisk with hot water a little at a time until drizzling consistency. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Preheat a gas barbecue to high heat or light a charcoal barbecue an hour before cooking and allow the coals to burn down to hot embers. Drizzle the kebabs with a little oil and then barbecue, turning occasionally, for 5-6 minutes until browned.

Serve with the garlic tahini sauce, pita (warmed on the hot grill while the kebabs rest), parsley, pickled chillies and lemon.

MEAT by Anthony Puharich and Libby Travers is published by, Murdoch Books, RRP $79.99. Photography by Alan Benson.



BBQ cos with boiled egg and capers 

Serves 4

  • 3 eggs
  • 4 baby cos lettuces
  • 2½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g parmesan, grated
  • 16 anchovy fillets


  • 2 tsp capers, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


Boil the eggs and then rinse under cold water and peel. Set aside.

Remove any soft outer leaves from the cos and carefully trim any brown pieces from the bases (keep bases intact so the leaves don’t separate). Cut the lettuces in half lengthways.

Preheat barbecue to medium. Lightly brush cut sides of the lettuces with oil, then place cut side down on the barbecue. Cook for 8 minutes, turning halfway through, until wilted and charred on both sides.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients in a small jug.

Lay out the lettuces on a platter, cut side up, and drizzle over dressing. Grate boiled eggs over the top, then scatter with parmesan. Drape the anchovies over the lot and serve.

Zero F*cks Cooking: Endless Summer by Yumi Stynes is published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $39.99. Photography by Chris Chen.



Zucchini, kale and avocado salad with hazelnut pesto

Serves 4

  • 100g curly kale, central stems discarded, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 zucchini, ends trimmed
  • 1 avocado, sliced


  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 handful basil leaves, torn
  • 1 handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, torn
  • 70g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp salted baby capers, rinsed well and patted dry
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place kale in a large bowl and pour over olive oil. Rub in with your hands. This removes the waxy coating and allows the leaves to absorb the dressing. Set aside.

Using a vegetable peeler, thinly slice the zucchini into long ribbons, then add to kale.

Combine the pesto ingredients in a small bowl. When ready to serve, gently toss the zucchini and kale with the pesto and avocado. Arrange a large platter and serve.

Eat Your Greens by Pete Evans is published by Plum RRP $39.99. Photography by William Meppem.



BBQ butterflied Sichuan lamb leg

Serves 4

  • 1 butterflied lamb leg (about 1.6kg), fat trimmed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 60ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
  • 12 spring onions, trimmed


  • 1 telegraph cucumber
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tsp Chinese black vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 pinch of caster sugar (optional)


Grind spices with a mortar and pestle and add salt. Set aside half. Mix the remainder in a large bowl with the oil, soy sauce and vinegar.

Add the lamb, massage well to coat, cover and set aside to marinate (if overnight, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking).

Preheat barbecue to medium-high. Cook lamb fat side down, until fat is rendered and crisp, then turn occasionally for 20-30 minutes for medium-rare, or until cooked to your liking. If you have a hooded barbecue, close the lid — the lamb will take less time to cook, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a tray, cover loosely with foil and rest for 20 minutes.

Drizzle spring onions with oil and barbecue for 3-4 minutes, until lightly charred.

Lay cucumber on a chopping board and smack along the length with the flat side of a knife until it splits. Chop and transfer to a bowl with remaining ingredients and toss to combine.

Serve the lamb sliced with cucumber, grilled spring onion and reserved spice mix to season.

MEAT by Anthony Puharich and Libby Travers is published by, Murdoch Books, RRP $79.99. Photography by Alan Benson.