Australian Women’s Weekly Barbecues and Grills: Ginger Squid

When we go to the library (sometimes we get into a routine of going once a week, sometimes it’s more sporadic) the small child chooses his books and toys extremely quickly. Books in particular. Super quick. No browsing here.

But that means there’s no tolerance for my own browsing and so I end up letting him choose a cookbook. So it was that we ended up coming up with the AWW Barbecues & Grills when the weather at the time was far from suggestive of barbecues.

Obviously, a grill or a griddle pan does a perfect approximation of a bbq for indoor purposes but I think it’s also true that you feel a bit less like summery grilled foods with salads in the middle of winter.  This made choosing a dish from this out of season book somewhat tricky … but I settled finally on an easy grilled squid dish.  In the book it is served with an apple and celery coleslaw but we choose noodles with stir fried Asian greens.

Like many of the dishes in the book (and, perhaps, like many of the best BBQ dishes) this is extremely simple.  I bought whole squid which we then had to clean and chop but it would work perfectly with squid rings.  And if cephalopods aren’t your thing then the marinade would work well with barbecued or grilled chicken, pork or even some meatier fish.

Ginger Squid

This cook book is actually one I would seek out to add to my collection.  From a design point of view, the recipes are laid out with plenty of space, there are beautiful pictures and the recipes themselves are easy to follow with step by step instructions.  Yes, some things are a little basic if you spend any time in the kitchen – Cajun chicken burgers, for example, is basically a case of take chicken breast and rub with Cajun seasoning – but the recipes are a good spread from the very basic and quick through to more novel and labour intensive ideas.  And quite a few of the accompaniments or side dishes do put a new twist on things.  While this book won’t turn you into a Michelin starred chef, it will enable everyone to put something tasty and quick on the barbecue and give you few new ideas as a bonus.

Ginger Squid


  • squid hoods (or rings, or perhaps sliced chicken or pork) enough for two
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 generous tsp grated ginger
  • sambal oelek to taste (anywhere up to and beyond 2 tsp!)


  1. Create the marinade by mixing the sesame oil, grated ginger and sambal oelek.
  2. Prep your meat - if using the squid hoods, score them and chop into generous bite size pieces. Slice finely pork or chicken.
  3. Combine the meat with the marinade and set aside for a little. This is not a dish which needs a long marinade.
  4. Heat your cooking surface to a good high temperature. Cook the squid until just opaque - you will most likely need to do this in small batches and use tongs to turn the pieces. Don't overcook the squid!
  5. Serve immediately as a starter with an apple and celery coleslaw (that's the book's suggestion) or with stir fried Asian greens and noodles.

Cooking Through the Year: a Smoky Aubergine and Lamb Stew


I’m ludicrously tardy in posting this recipe … the book from which it comes is due back at the library today (even after an extension) and Spring has landed here in Adelaide.  But yesterday’s wild and woolly weather reminded us that we are not quite out of the woods and there might yet be a chance to indulge in a bit of slow cooking.

The recipe comes from Cooking Through the Year. It’s a big book: big in dimensions, a solid cover and hefty. It is densely packed with recipes that are divided by season, with Summer and Winter both being split in two. Each section has a ‘recipe chooser’ covering vegetables, fruit, seafood and meat, as well as an overview of produce at its best at that time of year. It is an English book so not everything listed is going to be readily available (guinea fowl is pretty hard to come by as a rule, and the fish selections are, necessarily, regional) but it will give you an excellent starting point for creating interesting, seasonal dishes.

This is the type of recipe book I love. Lots of recipes: four to six recipes on a double page and light on pictures. This doesn’t mean there are no pictures – it’s just that the beautiful images there are are generally well chosen and add something to the recipe. Where the book is, appropriately, image heavy is in the instructive sections. There are clear shots of different types of lettuce or cherries or squash and step by step photos for butterflying a leg of lamb. The book is published by DK which always seems to have incredibly high production standards, so the paper is smooth and thick and the layout is easy to read.

So I feel I’m doing this book a disservice by having tried only one of its 1000 recipes but a scary back log of blog posts means that we’ll have to make do.

I chose the smoky aubergine and lamb stew because it was simple, one-pot-ish and used Sherry vinegar and we have some left over dry Sherry hiding in a cupboard. The recipe contains lots of our favourite ingredients (cumin, chickpeas, chorizo) and it would be the perfect thing to make early in the week for a complete meal on one of the days I work.

And it did not disappoint. One mistake I did make was that, so keen was I to not overcook the aubergine and turn it to mush, I slightly undercooked it.  Andy, who is not a mushy aubergine fan, said he preferred it that way, but had I been serving it to others I definitely would have cooked it a little longer.

I don’t consider this dish ‘one-pot’ as you have brown the lamb and so dirty a plate but it is easy and you don’t need to worry too much about complicated sides.  The book suggests couscous but you could easily go with mash, pasta or even a salad.  Naturally, left overs were marvellous for both lunch and a small, hungry person’s dinner.


Smoky Aubergine and Lamb Stew


  • 500g lamb leg/shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 1 large aubergine, chopped into chunks
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 chorizo, chopped
  • splash dry sherry (or sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • pinch of cumin
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • sprigs of fresh thyme
  • vegetable stock (approx 600 mL, but enough to cover the meat)
  • olive oil


  1. Heat some olive oil in a casserole dish and add the aubergine and paprika. Cook, stirring, until the aubergine begins to colour. You'll probably need to add more olive oil as you go.
  2. Remove the aubergine from the casserole and set aside.
  3. Now brown the lamb, in batches if necessary. Set the lamb aside but keep it separate from the aubergine.
  4. To the casserole add the chorizo, onion and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. The chorizo will start to release its oil and the garlic and onion will soften. Add the sherry and increase the heat. Cook until the sherry has evaporated, scraping the bottom of the pan all the time.
  5. Reduce the heat and add the cumin then return the lamb to the pan, followed by the chickpeas and thyme and then cover with the stock.
  6. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook, covered, until the lamb is tender. Be careful not to boil. Check on the thickness of the gravy - you may want to cook uncovered towards the end to help thicken the gravy.
  7. About half an hour before serving, return the aubergine to the pan and cook until tender.
  8. Serve with your favourite starchy option.

Waterzooi: Flemish Stewed Chicken

The Orangerie, Bruges
Canal Scene in Bruges – the Hôtel l’Orangerie is on my bucket list

Although I have only been to Belgium twice it is one of my favourite countries. At one stage I even had a grand plan to put life on hold for a brief period of time and make a comprehensive tour of Belgium’s breweries. That never got off the ground (for which I am sure my liver is thankful).

Belgian cuisine is not really that widely known. Yes, here in Adelaide we do have the Belgian Beer Café where you can try both mussels and this dish, waterzooi. The BBC serves a seafood based waterzooi, and while it may be more traditional, you’re more likely to find chicken waterzooi in modern Flanders. Indeed the waterzooi I enjoyed in Bruges was chicken (it followed a very traditional Belgian dish you won’t find at the BBC – eel in green sauce).


So when I borrowed Tolarno Bistro: The Life, Times and Recipes of a Remarkable Restaurant from the library (that’s a whole other story) and I was flicking through it for something to cook for dinner.  I spotted the waterzooi recipe and the decision was made.

But it would be remiss of me to not give the book a review too. Tolarno Bistro was, apparently, something of a Melbourne institution which closed in 2006, after over 40 years of service to St Kilda’s dining public. The original owners were Georges and Mirka Mora and in those 40 odd years it had just three owners – the last being Iain Hewitson (now ‘as seen on tv’), who took over in 1990 with his then wife.

This book, written by Hewitson and journalist Bob Hart, is more than just a recipe book. In fact, perhaps it is more appropriate to say that it is a memoir of the restaurant first and foremost, but a memoir liberally sprinkled with recipes.

Tolarno Bistro was a French restaurant so the recipes are not heavy on the innovation front. Anyone who is already in possession of a generous collection of cookbooks will find that Tolarno Bistro duplicates, in a fashion, a lot of material. Personally, it’s not a book I’d rush out and buy simply because of that – but I am most definitely not the target market. If you ever ate at, or were even one of the couples who married at, Tolarno Bistro then the book is for you.


While this waterzooi is based on that found in Tolarno Bistro, I added carrot (for some much needed colour and extra vegetables) and cut back on the cream/sauce component. The waterzooi I ate in Belgium, after a hefty entrée of eel, had been overwhelmingly saucy and rich.  I served with brussel sprouts and bacon.

The quantities given will serve 2, with some left overs for smaller members of the family to enjoy the next day.

Waterzooi: Flemish Stewed Chicken


  • 4 chicken thighs (skinless)
  • 6-10 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 thick slices of lemon
  • chicken stock (if bought, choose low fat)
  • unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks, cut into thin rounds
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • cream
  • fresh chervil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • to serve: fresh pasta


  1. Place the chicken thighs in a saucepan with the peppercorns, bay leaves, lemon and chicken stock and simmer gently for approximately 20 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked.
  2. Remove the chicken (keep the stock) and allow it to cool slightly and then slice.
  3. In a separate pan, heat a generous knob of butter and gently fry off the onion, leeks, celery and carrot.
  4. Once the vegetables have softened, stir in the plain flour and cook (stirring) for a couple of minutes. Then add a generous ladle or two of the stock left over from cooking the chicken, and approximately 2 tbsp cream.
  5. At this stage, you really just want to get the sauce to the right consistency and richness for you. More stock and the sauce will be thinner but more of it. More cream and it will be richer.
  6. When ready to serve, stir through the chicken (if necessary, cook for a little while to ensure it's heated through) and some chopped chervil.
  7. Just before serving, remove the pan from the heat, beat the egg yolk in a separate dish, and then stir through the sauce to thicken.
  8. Serve on hot plates with fresh pasta.