Christmas bring lots of celebration meals with lots of people. In a place as ridiculously warm and sunny as Australia, this means utilising the BBQ to its full potential.
Cooking on a BBQ is amazing. You can create a fantastic feast for many people with simple, fresh ingredients and very little preparation time. To top it off, the act of cooking itself is beautifully social. It’s the perfect way to make a celebratory meal. Merry Christmas!
Half of our family is Greek, so Christmas time in our household involves eating a lot of BBQ lamb, octopus and haloumi cheese. We’ve collected some of our recipes here to share. Feel free to use them during your own BBQ feast this Christmas season.
You Will Need
- 1kg baby octopus, cleaned.
- 400g lemons, juiced
- Olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- salt and pepper, coarsley ground
- 4 cloves garlic
- optional – 50g Greek basil leaves, chopped
- optional – chilli to taste
Prepare The Octopus
Octopus needs to be cooked before you BBQ it, so that it’s not too chewy. It’s best to start preparing the octopus the day before you eat it, or 4 hours beforehand at least.
Put your octopus in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, stand for 5 minutes and drain.
In a large bowl, combine lemon juice with olive oil in a 2:1 ratio (twice as much lemon juice as oil). Add oregano and season with salt and pepper. If you like you can also add Greek basil or chilli.
Mix octopus through the lemon/oil marinade, cover and refrigerate overnight/for a few hours before cooking.
Cook The Octopus
Octopus only takes a few minutes to BBQ, and should be eaten fairly quickly after cooking because it tastes better hot!
When you are ready to cook crush the garlic and stir through the marinated octopus. Transfer octopus to a hot BBQ and cook until the edges of the tentacles are charred.
This recipe cooks enough octopus to serve 4 people as a main or 8-10 people as an entrée
Matthew’s Haloumi Salad
You Will Need
- 150g baby spinach leaves
- 1 avocado
- 1 lebanese cucumber
- 1 tomato
- 100g haloumi
- 1/4 cup parsley, choppped
- 1 lemon
- olive oil
- dried oregano
Make The Salad
Cut the haloumi into thin strips and fry in small amount of oil for a few min on each side until golden brown (you could use the BBQ for this step for bonus charred flavour, but you’ll have to have quick reflexes to make sure they don’t burn!). But the cooked haloumi up into bite-sized pieces.
Dice the tomato, cucumber and avocado into large pieces and toss with the haloumi and spinach.
Dress the salad with lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of oregano.
Other BBQ Feast Ideas and recipe notes
- Cook haloumi on the BBQ! Buy a big block of haloumi, cut it into 1cm thick slices and grill it to golden brown on the BBQ plate. Mmmm. Banana Joes in Marrickville sells large packets of haloumi at reasonable prices. If you don’t live anywhere near Marrickville you can try your closest Greek deli, or Woolworths if you are really stuck.
- Vegetables are delicious good cooked up on the BBQ either as sides or mains. Our favourite vegetables to cook up are asparagus, field mushrooms and capsicum cut into strips.
- Baby octopus is available at most seafood stores, it generally costs about $10/kg, which is a bargain for something that tastes so delicious! It should already be cleaned and debeaked. Check with the fishmonger if you’re not sure.
- What is Greek Basil? It’s a hardier plant then regular basil with smaller, hairier leaves. It doesn’t taste as sweet, and it doesn’t die in the winter. It’s still definitely basil though, and it’s good to cook with.