Honey & Co BBQ Recipes and Summer School

Patricia Niven

We’ve slowly been working our way through Honey & Co’s latest cookbook, Chasing Smoke: Cooking over fire around the LevantIt reads in part like a recipe book and in part like a wonderful travel book, and as with everything the Honeys (AKA Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich) touch it spills over with love. There are stories from Alexandria in Egypt, Amman in Jordan, Acre in Israel, Adana in Turkey and Thessaloniki in Greece as well as recipes gathered and inspired by each place. The Middle Eastern flavours make for perfect heatwave cooking whether you’re a BBQ fanatic or a novice. Speaking of which, Honey & Co are launching a back-to-basics Summer School this August where a new topic will be covered every Wednesday. Hone your knife skills, learn about spices, perfect your homemade dips, and the one we’re most keen on – cookie week where you can learn the secrets of their irresistible chocolate fudge pistachio cookies. Sign up for all 4 or book an individual class.

These three recipes are taken from Chasing Smoke: Cooking over fire around the Levant by Sarit Packer Itamar Srulovich with images by Patricia Niven.

Tahini BBQ lamb chops with fresh plums and spiced plum sauce

If you can, buy nicely trimmed lamb racks without too much of a fat cap, so that you don’t need to worry about rendering fat off them before dividing into individual chops. Be forewarned, though: there will be a fair amount of smoke while cooking these, so they are best grilled outside. We use tahini in a few different versions of BBQ sauce, as the sesame paste lends itself so well to roasted meats, adding a rich nutty note. Here we include anchovies for a savoury touch and pomegranate molasses for sweetness.

The accompanying plum sauce is like a chutney or Chinese plum sauce, with its sweet, sour and spicy flavours. It partners perfectly with these rich BBQ chops, and also works amazingly with a simple roast chicken or duck. The BBQ and plum sauces can either be made shortly before grilling the chops, or up to a couple of days in advance.

2 racks of lamb, divided into 12–14 single chops 100 g / 31⁄2 oz baby red chard (or lamb’s lettuce 4 plums, halved and stones removed)

A feast for 4–6

For the tahini BBQ sauce

150 g / 51⁄4 oz tahini paste
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
2 salted anchovies, chopped
1 tsp pul biber chilli flakes (or Allepo)
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
100 ml / 31⁄2 fl oz water, plus more if needed 1 tsp flaky sea salt

For the spiced plum sauce

6 plums, cut into eighths and stones removed
50 g / 13⁄4 oz sugar
1 clove of garlic
1 whole dried chilli, cracked in half and seeds shaken out
1 tsp Szechuan pepper
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses 1⁄2 tsp flaky sea salt
1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Use a stick blender or a small food processor to blitz the BBQ sauce ingredients to a smooth, thick paste. You may need to add a little more water to reach the desired custard- like consistency, depending on the variety of tahini. You can use the BBQ sauce straight away or keep it in the fridge for a day or two until needed.

Put the plum wedges, sugar, garlic, spices, bay leaf and pomegranate molasses in a small frying pan, place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes until the plums soften and start falling apart, then remove from the heat and stir in the salt and vinegar. You can use this straight away, or cool and store in the fridge for a few days.

When you are ready to cook, brush half of the BBQ sauce over the chops, coating both sides. You will need the rest of the BBQ sauce to brush on the chops as they grill. Place the chops one by one on the rack above a hot BBQ. Grill for 2 minutes, then turn them over and brush with some more sauce. Grill for another 2 minutes before turning them back over and basting again. Repeat the grill-turn-baste process until the chops have cooked for a total of 6 minutes on each side. Remove to a serving platter with the baby chard spread over it.

Pop the plum halves on the BBQ, cut-side down. Grill for a minute or so just to warm a little, then add to the platter with the chops. Serve with the plum sauce on the side.

To cook without a BBQ

Use a lightly oiled, preheated griddle pan on your stove and cook just as you would on the fire. But have your extractor fan on full blast, as it will get very smoky!

Tuna shish with chermoula and preserved lemons

Makes 4 skewers – allow 2 per person for a meal

Tuna is a very robust fish so it cooks beautifully on a BBQ, it retains flavour and moisture and the slight smoke works so well with the oiliness of the fish. The chermoula paste is a spicy lemony number that adds real zing – it will keep well in your fridge for a few days, so if there is any left over or you are inclined to double the amount you make, it will work well in a tinned tuna salad or in a sandwich with salted or cured beef. Serve the shish with baked potatoes for a hearty meal.

2 good quality, thick tuna steaks (about 400 g / 14 oz in total)
a drizzle of olive oil, for brushing
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
juice of half a lemon

For the chermoula

2 preserved lemons, skin only (pulp and seeds removed)
1 clove of garlic
1⁄2 red chilli
1 bunch of coriander, top part only
1⁄2 bunch of parsley, leaves picked
freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 tsp ground coriander
about 50 ml / 13⁄4 fl oz olive oil

We like to make this chermoula by hand, chopping everything until very fine, then mixing it with the oil in a small bowl. You could use a pestle and mortar instead to pound the ingredients, in which case add the oil at the end once everything else is well-combined.

Cut each tuna steak into four large cubes and thread two on each skewer. Brush well with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place on a very hot grill to cook and char nice lines. Turn the skewers after a minute and repeat twice more to char the tuna cubes for a minute on each side. We rather like the interior a little raw, but if you don’t, simply cook for 30 seconds more on each side. Remove from the grill, douse with the lemon juice, then top with the chermoula.

To cook without a BBQ

Use a lightly oiled, preheated griddle pan on your stove and cook just as you would on the fire. Or you could simply use a non-stick frying pan.

Whole baked red onions with  sage, honey and walnut dressing

Serves 6–8 as a starter or side salad

4 large red onions, skin on olive oil for brushing
flaky sea salt, to finish

For the dressing

80 g / 23⁄4 oz walnuts
10 sage leaves, rolled up and cut into really thin strips 1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp mild chilli flakes
1⁄2 tsp salt
a little freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
a few sprigs of mint, leaves picked (about 15 g/ 1⁄2 oz)

Halve the red onions through the core, keeping the skin on. Brush the cut faces with oil and place cut-side down on a hot grill. Roast for about 12 minutes till the cut surface is black and charred, then flip to skin-side down and leave to cook for 5 minutes more. Remove to a plate to chill till they are cool enough to handle.

Make the dressing while you wait. Roast the walnuts over the fire for about 8 minutes in an old sieve or dry frying pan, stirring occasionally. Slightly crush them and mix with all the other dressing ingredients apart from the mint leaves.

Break the cooled onion halves into petals, discarding the outer skins. Set the petals with their charred rims upwards on a large serving plate. Just before serving, thinly shred the mint leaves and mix into the dressing. Drizzle all over the onion petals and sprinkle with a little sea salt to finish.

To cook without a BBQ

Use a lightly oiled, preheated griddle pan on your stove top and cook just as you would on the fire, but beware, your house will get pretty smoky!

Chasing Smoke: Cooking over fire around the Levant by Sarit Packer Itamar Srulovich, published 13 May 2021 by Pavilion Books.


Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around The Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich
— Daisy Allsup
20th July 2021

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