The Handbook
The Handbook

Chef, writer, broadcaster and Instagram star Gizzi Erskine has long been one of our favourites since she exploded onto the food scene back in 2010. Her ability to effortlessly flit between cooking up a fast food storm with friend and musician Professor Green (check out @GizAndGreens on Instagram if you don’t know what we’re on about) to creating one of the most tender, considered cookbooks we’ve come across in the last few years – Slow is a lovesong to a life in the kitchen.

The culinary chameleon has now turned her hand to BBQing and what with the promise of another UK heatwave coming in this weekend, it couldn’t have at a better time. While lockdown borders might be starting to reopen and holidays now a visible speck on the horizon, up to 70% of Brits still say they’d rather stay put and enjoy a UK summer than hop on the next plane. So Gizzi’s bringing the holiday to you, with her selection of Mediterranean-inspired delights – think grilled cheese sandwiches straight from the Greek Islands, South of France-esque shellfish and street food that looks plucked from the streets of Lisbon, all in your back garden.

Forget burnt-to-a-cinder sausages and disappointing burgers, Gizzi’s BBQ recipes that are sure to impress.

Gizzi's Barbecued Gazpacho

Start with… Gizzi’s Barbecued Gazpacho

Refreshing, super tasty and light, a chilled gazpacho is just what you need when the sun comes out.

Classically it’s made with bread, garlic, vinegar and oil being emulsified to which you blend in the tomatoes, peppers, onions (which Gizzi leaves out), cucumber and garlic ,and there’s no better amuse bouche on a warm day.

To get that wonderfully charred flavour, Gizzi barbeques the vegetables before blending – this not only gives that concentrated, intense smokiness but helps to remove the skins too.

I’ve never understood folks who claim to dislike cold soup. I think cold soup is my favourite.

Serves 4

Preparation time 20 minutes

Cooking time 10 minutes plus 3-5 hours chilling time

Ingredients:

  • 1kg vine ripened tomato
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 sprig fresh basil
  • 50g Hellmann’s Vegan Mayonnaise
  • 100g good quality white bread, crusts removed, soaked in water
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

  • 1 tomato (and a green too if you like), deseeded and chopped into small cubes
  • 1/4 cucumber, deseeded and chopped into small cubes
  • 1/4 red and/or yellow pepper, chopped into small cubes
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped into small cubes
  • 4 radishes, finely chopped into small cubes
  • 80g white bread croutons
  • 50g Hellmann’s Vegan Mayonnaise mixed with 50ml Extra virgin olive oil and 2 tbsp of water for drizzling

Method:

  1. First of all, we are going to concentrate the flavour of the veg and add an extra level of smoky charred flavour by barbecuing them. Place them directly on the hottest part of the barbecue around 10 minutes, (pop the lid on) and turning regularly with tongs, until all the skins are splitting and charred.
  2. Remove from the barbecue and put into a food blender with the cucumber, garlic, bread, Hellmann’s Vegan Mayonnaise, basil, olive oil, sherry vinegar and blitz until smooth. Push this through a fine sieve into another mixing bowl to achieve a completely smooth soup. Repeat this process with the second half of the ingredients.
  3. Check for seasoning, and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour so that it is thoroughly chilled. When you’re ready to serve the gazpacho, ladle it into bowls. Top each bowl with a little mixture of the chopped vegetables and a good drizzle of olive oil.

Move on to… Gizzi’s Barbecued Shellfish with Bisque Marie Rose

Take squid and giant prawns marinated in oil, garlic, chilli and thyme and barbeque until just cooked, but charry and golden. Pan-roast the heads of the prawns with oil to make a really intense bisque oil to be the base of your Marie Rose sauce and you’ll feel like you’re tucking into a lazy lunch on the Cote d’Azur in no time.

Gizzi's Barbecued Shellfish

Serves 4

Preparation time 30 minutes, plus 1-hour marinating

Ingredients:

  • 2 small squid, body cleaned and scored, and the legs trimmed
  • 12 King Tiger Prawns, heads on kept whole
  • olive oil
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges

For the Marinade:

  • 3-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small dried chilli
  • 2 tsp salt
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 80ml extra virgin olive oil

For the Bisque Marie Rose:

  • the heads of the 12 prawns
  • 50ml sunflower oil
  • 300g Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp sriracha or tabasco
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • a good squeeze on lemon juice

Method:

  1. First you need to make the prawn oil for the bisque Marie Rose. Remove all the prawn heads from the bodies. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, and then add the prawn heads and start to fry them for 3-4 minutes, until the heads go lightly golden. Crush the prawn heads to squeeze out all their juice into the oil, and then take off the heat and allow them to infuse for about 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve and allow the prawn oil to cool to room temperature.
  2. While its cooling it’s time to make the marinade. I use a pestle and mortar, but you can use a blender or even just chop the ingredients, but I pound the garlic, salt, chilli and thyme, then drizzle in the oil. Pour over the seafood and store in the fridge for an hour.
  3. Mix together the prawn oil, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, ketchup, tomato puree, Sriracha, Worcestershire and lemon.
  4. Heat the barbecue on high. It needs to be really, REALLY hot. Lay the prawns on the barbecue and then the squid. I keep the squid pushed down by putting a frying pan or even a brick on it. Put a lid on and cook for two or three minutes and then turn them all over, pop the lid back down and then finish for another minute or two.
  5. Serve the seafood on a platter with the sauce and lemon wedges.

I like to add sriracha as I love its heat, piquancy and texture, but you can stick to the old classic of Tabasco if you prefer. Then at the table you peel your prawns and plunge them into this supped up French Classique.

Ditch the burgers in favour of… Gizzi’s Mediterranean Sandwiches

From Greek Island hopping to street food eating in Portugal, let Gizz’s pimped up sandwich recipes usurp any bog standard burger.

Gizzi's Portuguese Prego Sandwich

Gizzi’s Portuguese Prego Sandwich

Serves 2

Preparation time: 10 mins plus 1-2 hours marinating time

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 150g rump steaks, cut thinnish (about 6mm) and long about 25cm
  • 2 Prego or ciabatta rolls
  • 2 tbsp Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
  • Salt

For the Marinade:

  • 2 tbsp Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or a few sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 2-4 tbsp red wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Mustard Mayonnaise:

  • 2 tbsp Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp English Mustard

Portuguese food doesn’t get enough airtime as far as I’m concerned, but this roll is incredible.

Method:

  1. Mix together the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and place the steaks into them. With your hands massage the marinade thoroughly into the steaks, before placing in the fridge and leaving to marinade for a minimum of 1 hour, but no longer than 8 hours as the steaks will begin to get tough.
  2. To make the mustard mayonnaise simply mix together the Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, English mustard, vinegar and salt until well combined.
  3. Ideally you want to be cooking you steaks on charcoal to get an authentic flavour, so get your barbecue on a good hour ahead of time. Once the coals have got white hot, remove the steaks from the marinade. Season with a good sprinkling of salt on each side of the steak and carefully place on the grill. Allow to cook for 2 minutes on each side, allowing a good caramelisation and char to develop. Remove them from the grill and set aside to rest. You can of course do this in a smoking hot frying pan.
  4. Cut the rolls in half and spread half a tablespoon of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise on each side. Place on the grill, cut side down, for a minute each to toast until crisp and beginning to char a little.
  5. To construct the sandwich, take the rested steak and with a sharp knife, slice into 1cm thick strips and layer on top of the bottom half of the roll. Next dollop a good spoonful of mustard mayonnaise onto the top half of the bun and spread into an even layer, place on top of the beef and eat immediately.

Gizzi’s Mediterranean Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Serves 1

Preparation time 5 minutes

Cooking time 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • A handful of fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 slices of white bread, crusts removed
  • 1 whisked egg (for brushing)
  • 150g saganaki or 75g hard mozzarella cheese, grated with 75g crumbled feta
  • 2 tbsp Hellman’s Mayonnaise
Gizzi's Mediterranean Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan, melt together the honey with the oregano leaves for a few minutes on a low heat. Set aside to infuse whilst you construct the sandwich.
  2. Take one slice of bread and place the cheese on top. Brush the whisked egg around the edges of each slice of bread, and then place another slice of bread on top. Push down with your fingers to create a firm seal all around the edges.
  3. With a pastry brush, liberally brush each of the outside surfaces of the bread with Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. Carefully place on the grill and cook on each side for 1-2 minutes, until the bread has become golden, a little charred and crispy.
  4. Remove from the grill and pour over the oregano honey across the sandwich. Cut in half and eat immediately.

One of the best uses for a BBQ is a grilled cheese sandwich and the best grilled cheese in the universe is on the Greek Islands. MY WORD, there is nothing like it.

Don’t forget the sides… try Gizzi’s Romesco Spiedini

This sauce is so good it goes with everything from vegetables to seafood. Gizzi uses the Italian method of Spiadini which is spearing veg with skewers and grilling the on the barbeque. The perfect side to the heartier mains.

Gizzi's Romesco Spiedini

Ingredients:

Serves 4

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 20 minutes

  • 180g jarred roasted red peppers,
  • 75g tomatoes, whichever you like
  • 50g blanched almonds
  • 50g Hellmann’s Vegan Mayonnaise
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely grated
  • 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • rounded 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • a good pinch of cayenne
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 4 large spring onions
  • 125g asparagus
  • 2 little gem lettuces, cut in half lengthways
  • 1 green or yellow courgette, cut into thin slices lengthways
  • 150g pea pods
  • 50g of Vegan Hellmann’s mayonnaise

You will need long thin wooden or metal skewers

Method:

  1. Begin by barbecuing your peppers and tomatoes. Brush them with a little olive oil and place them on the cooler part of the grill. Allow the skins to char and the flesh to soften for about 10-15 minutes, turning the peppers round with tongs so that they cook all over. Once they have got a good deep charring all over and feel soft, set aside and allow to cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, the skins will peel away easily, so remove the skins and the seeds inside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200C, and once hot, put the almonds on a baking tray and place in the oven for a 4-5 minutes to toast until golden brown, but be careful not to let them burn. Remove from the oven and transfer to a food processor. Now add the peeled and deseeded peppers, tomatoes, Hellmann’s Vegan Mayonnaise, garlic, sherry vinegar, salt, smoked paprika, cayenne, tomato puree and olive oil. You don’t want the Romesco to be super smooth so I recommend using the pulsing function until everything is well blended but there is still a little bit of texture from the almonds.
  3. Now for ease of barbecuing I recommend piercing the vegetables onto skewers, so they are easier to handle. So, with the asparagus for example, take one skewer and pierce it through one end of the asparagus, and a second skewer and pierce it through the other. Repeat this process until you have a rack of asparagus along the lengths of the two skewers.  Repeat this for the rest of the vegetables. With a pastry brush, brush the vegetables with the vegan mayonnaise. It will give the most incredible caramelisation and seasoning.
  4. Now place the vegetables onto the barbecue, and allow to grill for about 10 minutes, turning regularly, until they are nicely charred.
  5. On the base of a large platter, pour out the sauce out in an even layer. Once all of the vegetables have been barbecued, remove them from the skewers and arrange them on top of the Romesco with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.

To find out more about Hellmann’s, visit:  hellmanns.co.uk  or follow @HellmannsUK on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook


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