Get ready for BBQ season and sauce recipes to relish!

So far we've only had small glimpses of sunshine, but now is the time to get prepared for BBQ season.


Clean the BBQ

It's a good idea to give your BBQ a good clean and service once a year. Here are the steps to doing this yourself:

  • Remove all parts inside the BBQ.
  • Disconnect the gas supply and any electrical connections.
  • Clean the hotplates, char grill plates, flame diffusers and warmer racks by placing all parts in a tub of warm soapy water. Alternatively, you can use a BBQ cleaner.
  • Dry all parts thoroughly; coat them with cooking oil and burn off if necessary.
  • Stainless steel parts can be soaked in warm water and laundry powder for one hour before scrubbing with a scourer. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
  • You can use a pressure cleaner, but care needs to be taken to avoid burners and gas connection areas. You'll also need to use a degreaser first.
  • Leave the BBQ to dry thoroughly in the sun before assembling again.
  • Once assembled and the gas is connected, turn on the BBQ for 15 minutes and season the hotplates as recommended in the manufacturer's instructions.

Timber furniture will lasts a long time if properly maintained.  Plastic or metal setting will benefit from a hose-down with a pressure hose or just a wipe down with soap and water.

Timber furniture will lasts a long time if properly maintained.

Plastic or metal setting will benefit from a hose-down with a pressure hose or just a wipe down with soap and water.

Spruce up the Outdoor Furniture

Attractive garden furniture can make a good garden great. But without proper care, rain, wind and the baking sun can leave it looking tired and tatty. Fortunately, it’s easy to give your timber garden furniture a new lease on life. All you need are the right materials and a few simple instructions.

  1. It’s important to start with a clean, dry, even surface. Start by brushing any dirt and cobwebs off your furniture.
  2. Sand back the timber to reopen the grain, even out any discolouration, and get rid of any scratches or blemishes. Start off with a medium-grit sandpaper, before moving to a fine-grit sandpaper to finish off. It is possible to use an electrical sander to save time.
  3. Clean your furniture and workspace thoroughly. Brush off all the surrounding dust and go over your furniture with a tack cloth to pick up any remaining particles.
  4. Finally, scrub your outdoor furniture with a timber cleaning solution, wash it off with your hose and allow it to dry.
  5. While you may wish to paint your outdoor furniture or consider oiling  as it lets the natural beauty of the timber grain show through, while enriching its tones. Be sure to look for a product with UV protection and water repellent proper ties.
  6. If you’re not sure whether your furniture is ready for re-oil try this simple water test. Just spray a few drops onto the furniture. If the water beads on the surface, it doesn’t need immediate attention. But if the water soaks straight into the timber, it’s definitely time to re-oil.


Preparing jars for sauces and relishes

You can sterilise glass jars in the dishwasher on the hottest cycle, or alternatively, heat washed, dried jars and metal lids in a 120C oven for 20 minutes.

Fill jars while still hot.


Matt Preston's tomato sauce

2.5kg ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
10 whole cloves
10 whole allspice berries
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 clove garlic, sliced
½ cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons salt
1 ½ cups sugar
2 cups (clear) white malt vinegar

Place tomato, onion, cloves, berries, paprika, garlic, cinnamon and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or until the tomato breaks down and is tender.

Add the sugar and vinegar. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for a further hour and 15 minutes or until mixture reduces, thickens and is of a saucy consistency. Adjust seasoning.

Strain mixture through a coarse sieve into a large bowl, in batches, pressing down strongly to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. Pour hot mixture into sterilised bottles. Seal. Store in a cool, dark place until ready to use. Once opened, store in the fridge.

Homemade barbecue sauce

⅔ cup cider vinegar
2 cups tomato passata
½ cup treacle
⅓ cup worcestershire sauce
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard

Combine vinegar, passata, treacle, worcestershire sauce, sugar, garlic powder, paprika and mustard in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until smooth and combined.

Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Season with pepper. Cool completely. Serve.


Beetroot relish

2 bunches beetroot, peeled and grated
1 large granny smith apples, peeled and grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup caster sugar

Combine all ingredients except sugar in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 mins or until softened.

Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 mins or until reduced and thickened. Season. Spoon into warm sterilised jars. Seal tightly, then leave to cool.

Sweet chilli and capsicum relish

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1kg red capsicums, cut into 2cm pieces
400g can diced tomatoes
1 cup apple cider vinegar
⅔ cup caster sugar
⅓ cup sweet chilli sauce

You'll need a 2½ cup capacity glass jar with lid.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened. Add capsicum. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until starting to soften.

Add tomato, vinegar, sugar and sweet chilli sauce to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or until mixture is thick and syrupy. Carefully spoon mixture into a hot sterilised jar and seal.


Onion & thyme relish

1 tablespoon olive oil
800g brown onions, halved, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 dried bay leaves
Blue cheese or cheddar, to serve
Crackers, to serve
Dried fruit (optional), to serve

Heat the oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until the onion softens.

Add the sugar, vinegar, thyme and bay leaves, and stir for 2 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes or until mixture thickens and becomes syrupy. Remove and discard the thyme and bay leaves. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool.

Transfer the relish to a serving dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1½ hours to chill. Serve with cheese, crackers and fruit, if desired.


Recipe source

Spiced rhubarb relish

3 teaspoons olive oil
4 French shallots, thinly sliced
½ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons port
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
1 dried bay leaf
5 whole cloves
2 strips orange rind
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
6 rhubarb stems, trimmed, cut into 2cm lengths
Chargrilled bread, to serve
Soft cheese, to serve

Heat oil in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in shallot for 4 minutes or until soft. Stir in sugar, vinegar, port, cinnamon, star anise, bay leaf, cloves, orange rind and peppercorns and cook for 1-2 minutes or until sugar dissolves.

Bring to the boil. Simmer for 12 minutes or until reduced slightly. Stir in the rhubarb. Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes or until rhubarb is just tender. Cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a sterilised jar or airtight container. Place in the fridge overnight to develop the flavours. Stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. Serve with bread and cheese.

Knights Meats