The last few weeks have been the perfect weather for cooking outside and we certainly don’t need much persuading to get cooking over coals. We were delighted this week to be joined by two work experience students from a local college and we spiced things up by giving them a cook-up challenge. We asked them to look through the wonderful array of cookbooks we have for sale to find a recipe that they could make, making it their own by adding in a few special ingredients from our wide selection of spices and rubs.
The girls chose Mocha Skirt Steak Fajitas from the 65 mouth-watering recipes in Marcus Bawdon’s cookbook Food and Fire. Marcus, who runs the website Country WoodSmoke and is editor of BBQ Magazine, also runs the the Devon-based UK BBQ School so is an expert in all forms of al fresco cooking over fire. In the book he explains his techniques in a way that is clear and easy to understand, even for a beginner. He also introduces the reader to new methods of cooking, including how to cook a ‘dirty’ steak straight onto the coals!
Using a beef skirt steak is a cost-effective way of making this fajita dish. Sometimes skirt is considered sub-standard to the likes of rump or sirloin but if seared on a high heat to medium rare (this cut is likely to toughen if cooked past medium) it delivers succulent meat with excellent flavour, perhaps even better than the more expensive cut! The key is to season well with a tasty rub – Marcus’ recipe uses a mocha rub combining the flavours of coffee, chocolate, cumin and chipotle – while the girls chose the Mexican spice blend from @spicekitchenuk in order to make the recipe their own.
A side of griddled corn on the cob lathered with local butter and sprinkled with Mexican Chipotle Salt from the great range of salts from @sea_crack, alongside a homemade guacamole, made for a veritable feast! We used a packet of tortilla wraps this time, but we often serve some simple homemade flatbreads that can be quickly dry fried in a pan over the coals.
Heart, Smoke and Soal’s Holy Moly Guacamole
Making your own guacamole couldn’t be easier and is far fresher and tastier than the shop-bought variety.
3 avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon salt (Hickory smoked salt from Sea Crack)
Half a cup of finely diced onion
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice and salt. Add the onion, coriander and garlic and stir in cayenne pepper if required. Refrigerate for an hour for the best flavour or serve immediately if you just can’t wait to tuck in!
Serve with tortilla chips, meat, breads… in fact anything you like!
Top tip: keep the avocado stones and pop back into the dip until you are ready to serve. This keeps the dip from going brown, keeping it fresh at the same time. If, like us, you prefer a smoother dip, use a mini chopper which makes preparation quick and easy.
350g Natural or Greek yoghurt
350g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Simply combine the ingredients and knead for a couple of minutes until you have a soft dough. Divide into 12 pieces and roll thinly. Cook in a hot dry griddle pan for 1-2 minutes either side and you will have gorgeous charred and puffed up flatbreads ready to be filled with steak and guacamole. These hugely versatile flatbreads can also be topped with drizzled oils, we love a drizzle of our beautiful garlic or spicy BBQ oils, with a pinch of some Sea Crack salt to taste! These flat breads also work really well when cooked in the DeliVita wood-fired oven.
Top tip: if you want to make more or less, as long as the quantity of flour is the same as the yoghurt, these work every time. You can even use a yoghurt pot as a measuring cup saving on the washing up!