Sumac gives this onion salad plenty of zing, which goes nicely with the rich beef kebabs.
Skewered meats and vegetables make a great barbecue dinner, and here I've matched each recipe with a supporting salad, plus given a bread suggestion, to round out a simple, balanced summer meal.
You can use either metal or wooden skewers – metal are great as they don't burn and also conduct the heat to help cooking from the inside; while wooden are cheap and convenient and can hold more slippery items onto their rough surface. If you remember, soak wooden skewers overnight – this really helps stop them burning.
I put them in an empty bottle filled to the very top with water, lid on, so they remain submerged. If your barbecue has lost its non-stickablity (i.e. it's very dirty like mine), you can quickly sear skewers that are more likely to stick, like the cut eggplant or minced beef, either on the hot plate or in a non-stick pan.
Alternatively, sometimes I start them off on a piece of baking paper that usually catches fire, but it gets the surface sealed so it's less likely to stick.
* Recipe: BBQ Pork Ribs with Potato Salad and Slaw
* Recipes: Best foods for celebrating an orphans' Christmas
* Recipe: Apple syrup-glazed ham
TURKISH BEEF KEBABS WITH ZUCCHINI, TOMATOES & SUMAC ONION SALAD
A true Turkish mince kofta kebab would be hand chopped, very finely, to a mince. You can use ready-ground mince, but I like to start with a combination of sirloin and brisket – this gives you a nice balance of flavour, fat and texture – that I ask my butcher to coarsely grind.
I finish off the chopping to a fine mince by hand. It is best to use a wide skewer for these, so the mince has more surface area to hold on to.
COQ AU VIN KEBABS WITH CARROT & CORIANDER SALAD
Coq au vin need not be reserved for cold winters.
These chicken skewers are based on the ingredients of the classic French dish coq au vin, using white wine instead of the more traditional red.
I like to serve them with a classic grated carrot salad, with the addition of coriander to really lift the flavour. If you don't like coriander, use parsley. You can save the marinating liquid and veges to make a risotto.
Be sure to have plenty of bread to mop up the delicious meaty juices.
TUNISIAN SPICED LAMB SKEWERS WITH HERB, LENTIL & RICE SALAD
I like to use lamb shoulder here as it has great flavour, but it is a bit chewy – if you prefer, use butterflied leg.
When I'm making a salad like this to take with me to a barbecue or even just to have it all prepared in advance, I place the fresh greens on top without tossing, then toss it all together just before serving. This helps avoid soggy greens.
These wee peppers are perfect for stuffing, not to mention grilling.
SICILIAN STUFFED PEPPER SKEWERS WITH FENNEL, ORANGE & OLIVE SALAD
In New Zealand, mini capsicums are sold under a few names, including Little Sweeties and Vine Sweet.
They're perfect to stuff for vege kebabs, holding in a filling nicely.
Eggplant is perfect, and cheaper, at this time of year.
EGGPLANT & HALOUMI SKEWERS WITH TOMATO & ANCHOVY SALAD
If you have good-quality anchovies such as Ortiz, you can use more as they have a very smooth flavour. Cheaper anchovies are fine, but use about 20g as the flavour is bolder.
If you're not keen on anchovies, substitute with another umami-rich condiment such as fish sauce or miso paste.