What is it about white hot coals that turn even the most modern, new age man back into a caveman?

I live in a household where we share the chores - meal preparation, cooking, washing up, clearing up – yet when it comes to a barbecue, “it’s a man thing” and equality goes out the window.

There’s the old joke about the guy who makes a family barbecue – the wife buys the food, makes the salads, prepares the table, clears up, washes up and puts all the leftovers away in the fridge.

The guy then asks, “How did you enjoy your night off?”

But here in Israel it doesn’t have to be like that. Summer entertaining is casual, the weather is guaranteed, produce is bountiful and this leads to more relaxed, casual entertaining. Barbecues are a great way to host guests without any formality.

Here are my favorite accompaniments to go with any grilled meats. They are healthy, bursting with flavor and will even satisfy any vegetarian guests!

Gazpacho

This is my Israeli version. It gives your guests something delicious whilst the meat is being cooked.

Ingredients

1 kg ripe tomatoes

4 peeled cucumbers

2 cloves garlic

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

100ml olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 stale pita

½ cup cold water

Method

  1. Put the veggies in the blender and blitz until smooth.
  2. Add the liquids and the pita bread.
  3. Pulse until everything is blended.
  4. Pour into a jug and chill.
  5. Serve in glasses with ice

Green bean salad

Ingredients

500g green beans, trimmed

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 red onion, finely diced

1 ripe avocado

1 cup pitted black olives

Dressing

Juice 1 lemon

¼ cup olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2cloves garlic

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Method

  1. Cook the green beans in salted water until just tender, drain
  2. Halve the tomatoes.
  3. Cut the avocado into rough chunks.
  4. Start assembling the ingredients in a large bowl and toss together
  5. For the dressing, shake up the ingredients in a screw top jar.
  6. Pour over and serve.

 

This is a delicious refreshing end to any summer meal.

Watermelon granita

Ingredients

½ watermelon

3 tbsp sugar

Juice 1 lemon

Method

  1. Cut the watermelon into chunks.
  2. Blitz in the food processor with lemon juice and sugar.
  3. Pour into a container with a lid.
  4. Freeze for 3 hours – then fork through.
  5. Freeze for another 3 hours and fork through
  6. Serve in cocktail glasses.

 

Chimichurri sauce

Ingredients

½ cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp coarse sea salt

4 cloves garlic

½ red onion

1 green chilli

1 bunch coriander

1 bunch flat leaf parsley

¾ cup olive oil

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients into a screw top jar.
  2. Using a stick blender, blend the ingredients until combined.
  3. Screw the lid on and shake
  4. This can be used as a marinade or a sauce
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About the author

Janine Levy

Janine Levy was born and schooled in Leeds, UK. She studied to be a Home Economics teacher in Manchester and taught Home  Economics in High schools. She and her husband Arran lived in Manchest...
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