I think most of our summer memories revolve around the head of the family drenched in sweat in front of a charcoal grill, orchestrating a magnificent barbecue feast with arrays of side dishes.

Well, I can’t really say sides, as I vividly remember an endless spread of oven dishes and trays of all shapes and forms which in all honesty can make several meals on their own – not part of a 10 kg barbecue feast!

Well things have moved on now both economically and socially; in terms of time and financial constraints. So, I hereby present to you the modern and much easier version of this glorious irreplaceable summer meal with more diverse ingredients and less hassle.

However, we still need a BBQ male maestro just for the kids’ memorabilia, nothing to do with us not being able to handle the heat nor our hair and attire!

To plan a simple yet presentable BBQ, in my opinion you need to have; 2 meats, 1 seafood, veggie skewers and 1 unusual surprise.

Important tip! Take the meat, chicken or seafood out of the fridge at least 40 minutes before grilling; allowing it to cool down to almost room temperature – This makes a massive difference in cooking and texture.

Brazilian Churrasco (Beef) with Chimichurri Sauce:

Shopping Basket: 3kg beef sirloin– 1 ½ tbsp sea salt –2 minced garlic cloves– ½ cup orange juice –½ cup hot water – 1 tsp crushed peppercorn.

1. Cut the beef fillets into 2 inches chunks, skewer then place on grill – marinating is not needed.

2. Stir all ingredients together in a cup.

3. When meat starts to cook, baste it with the liquid mixture, keep repeating until meat is browned and cooked.

Chimichurri Sauce Ingredients:

1 small onion – 1 red chilli pepper –3 garlic cloves – ½ cup vinegar – ½ cup finely chopped cilantro – ½ cup finely chopped parsley – ½ tsp salt – 2 tbsp dried oregano – ¾ cup extra virgin oil.

1. Put all ingredients in the food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Voila, your sauce is ready.

2. Serve it as a side dip with the beef platter.

Persian Chicken Kabobs:

Shopping Basket:  2 kg of boneless chicken breasts or thighs – 1 cup full fat yoghurt – 1 large onion, thinly sliced – 2 garlic cloves, crushed –1/3 cup olive oil – juice of 1 lemon – 2 tbsp saffron – 1 tsp salt.

1. Cut the chicken into 2 inches cubes then smother in all above ingredients.

2. Put in a tight container in the fridge and either leave overnight or at least 4 hours before grilling.

3. Skewer the chicken cubes and grill until cooked through.

Butterfly Tiger Prawns:

Shopping Basket:  2 kg Tiger prawns, slit opened along the back, cleaned & flattened –3 garlic cloves – 1 cup of soft butter –½ cup finely chopped parsley – ½ tsp salt.

1. Season the butter and mix with herbs and garlic, then smear it over the opened back of the butterfly prawns.

2. Leave for about 30 min before grilling. No need to marinade for long hours as nothing beats the fresh flavour of the sea.

Grilled Veggies Skewers:

Shopping Basket:  4 large courgettes –3 large onions –3 red bell peppers–3 large eggplants – 500g mushrooms.

1. Cut all vegetables into medium cubes, brush with olive oil and season well.

2. Grill until charred and cooked. You can either distribute them among your skewers or opt for having them as separate veggie skewers.

Cherry Kebab ‘Kebab bel Karaz’:

It may sound a bit unusual! But this is the grilled version of a well-known Syrian and Armenian specialty. The sourness and sweetness of the cherries work wonderfully well with the barbecued meat.

Shopping Basket:  2 kg minced beef or lamb –2 tsp Levant spices –1 tsp ground coriander –1 tsp ground cinnamon – 1 jar sour cherry, pitted –

¼ cup olive oil – salt & pepper.

1. Mix the meat with spices and oil, leave for few hours or overnight in a tight fridge container.

2. Shape into medium balls and skewer them; with one cherry in between every 2 balls.

3. Grill until charred and cooked.