A really good beefburger has to be made from really good minced beef. If you can, ask a butcher to mince some rump, blade or chuck steak for you but make sure that it has at least a 20 per cent fat content as this will in effect make them self-basting and prevent them from drying out during cooking. Otherwise buy ordinary minced beef from the supermarket, but don't buy extra-lean mince because they will become tough as old boots during cooking. I like to serve these up in soft baps or muffins with an all-in-one lettuce-mayonnaise topping that will hopefully stay put in the bun while you eat it! 

Serves 4 


750g (11/2lb) minced beef 

2 garlic cloves, crushed 

1 small onion, finely chopped 

2 tablespoons double cream 

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 

salt and freshly ground pepper 


2 tablespoons mayonnaise 

100g (4oz) iceberg lettuce, finely shredded 

50g (2oz) cocktail gherkins, finely chopped 

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion 

1 teaspoon mild American-style mustard 


4 sesame bread rolls or baps, halved 

2 tomatoes, thinly sliced 

Simply mix all the ingredients for the burgers together in a bowl, or blitz quickly in a food processor until the meat starts to hold together 

Divide the mixture into four and shape in 10cm (4in) flat discs, either by hand or by pressing the mixture into a metal pastry cutter. 

Brush the burgers with a little oil and barbecue over medium-hot coals for about five minutes on each side for medium. 

Meanwhile for the topping, mix the mayonnaise with the rest of the ingredients and season to taste with a little salt and pepper. 

To serve, lightly toast the cut sides of the rolls on the barbecue for one or two minutes. Cover the bottom half with a couple of slices of tomato and then sit the burger on top. Drop a spoonful of the lettuce-mayonnaise on top, cover with the top half of the bun and eat straight away. 


Mix two to three tablespoons of the My Classic Barbecue Sauce into the basic mixture and serve in buns with Ainsley's Ultimate Creole Cabbage Salad. 


Bottled sauces and ketchups are always great with any grilled meats, but home-made ones are even better. This one will nicely jazz up and "wash down" almost any burger or plainly barbecued meat. 

Makes 450ml (15fl oz) 


2 tablespoons sunflower oil 

1 onion, finely chopped 

2 garlic cloves, crushed 

200g (7oz) can chopped tomatoes 

2 tablespoons tomato puree  

1 tablespoon light soft brown sugar 

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 

a few drops of Tabasco sauce 

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar  

1 tablespoon English mustard 

salt and freshly-ground pepper 

Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan. Add the onion and the garlic and fry over a medium heat for seven to eight minutes, stirring now and then, until the onions are soft and lightly browned. 

Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and leave the sauce to simmer very gently for ten minutes, giving it a stir every now and then until it has slightly thickened. 

If you want a smoother sauce, tip the mixture into a food processor and blend for a few seconds. Serve hot or cold. 


For a great alternative to your usual coleslaw this salad really hits the crunch spot, and gives your tastebuds a delightfully creamy, cool, spicy kick. 

Serves 6-8 


275g (10oz) white cabbage, cored and very thinly shredded 

2 celery sticks, thinly sliced 

1 green pepper, seeded and very thinly sliced 

4 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced 

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard 

1 teaspoon creamed horseradish  

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce 

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 

2 tablespoons olive oil  

2 tablespoons mayonnaise 

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 

pinch of cayenne pepper 

salt and freshly ground black pepper  


Mix one tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano and one tablespoon of sundried tomato paste with the minced pork and shape around 15g (1/2oz) cubes of Mozzarella. Barbecue over medium-hot coals for six to seven minutes on each side until well done, and serve in buns with salad and garlic mayonnaise. 


Cut 50g (2oz) of Cheddar into four cubes. Mix one seeded and chopped red chilli and one tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley into the basic mixture and shape around each piece of cheese. Serve in buns with Mexican Aztec Tomato Salsa and soured cream. 


The classic salsa, also called "Salsa Ranchera", always found on the table in any home or restaurant. They say the contents change as easily as the funds of an embezzled bank. But it's still delicious. 


6 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and diced 

1 medium red onion, finely chopped 

2 cloves garlic, crushed 

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice 

2 green chillies, seeded and very finely chopped 

4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander  

salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Mix all the ingredients together, spoon into a bowl and chill in the fridge for an hour. 

Mix the cabbage, celery, green pepper and spring onions together in a large bowl. 

Mix the mustard, creamed horseradish, Tabasco sauce and vinegar in a small bowl and then gradually whisk in the oil. Stir in the mayonnaise and season well with salt and pepper. 

Stir the dressing and chopped dill into the vegetables just before serving so that the cabbage stays nice and crunchy. 


This dish needs to be made with those small, individual goats' cheeses with a rind. Crotin de Chavignol is a name to look out for. The vine leaves provide a protective coating, hold in all the marinade flavours, and impart a lemony flavour to the cooked cheese. If you are lucky enough to be able to get hold of fresh vine leaves then great, but otherwise use vine leaves which have been vacuum-packed in brine, which are available from most delicatessens and larger supermarkets. This dish is quite rich (the quantities below will make two small parcels per person) but do double the quantities if you'd rather do this dish as a main course instead of a starter. 

Serves 4 


8 large or 16 smaller vine leaves 

4 x 100 g (4oz) individual goats' cheeses 

4 tablespoons olive oil 

2 red finger chillies, seeded and finely chopped 

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano 

12 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded 

1 garlic clove, finely chopped 

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, coarsely crushed 

8 small fresh bay leaves 

coarse sea salt 

Bruschetta-style bread to serve 

cocktail sticks soaked in cold water for 30 minutes 

If you are using fresh vine leaves, remove the tough part of the stem, drop them into a pan of lightly salted water and cook for about four minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. If you are using preserved vine leaves, soak them in hot water, rinse in cold water and drain. 

Cut the goats' cheeses in half horizontally into two smaller discs. Mix the olive oil with the chopped chilli, oregano, basil, garlic, crushed pepper and a little salt. 

Place a vine leaf on a plate (overlap two leaves if they're quite small) and put a bay leaf and a little of the marinade into the centre. 

Place a disc of goats' cheese on top, rind-side down, and then spoon over a bit more of the marinade, making sure that lots of the bits are covering the cut face of the cheese. Fold over the sides of the leaves and secure in place with one or more cocktail sticks. Repeat three more times. 

Place the vine leaf parcels in a shallow dish, pour over any oil left on the plate, and set aside for one hour 

Brush the outside of the vine leaf parcels with a little more olive oil if necessary and barbecue over medium-hot coals for about two and a half minutes on each side. 

Lift the parcels on to plates, remove the cocktail sticks and fold back the leaves. Serve with Bruschetta-style bread. 


The spices in this dish are very typical of those found all over Northern Africa. Harissa paste is a fiery red chilli paste from this region but you can replace it with minced red chilli from a jar if you wish. This one really creeps up on you - an absolute winner every time. 

Serves 4 


900g (2lb) boned shoulder or leg of lamb 

3 tablespoons olive oil 

2 tablespoons lemon juice 

1 teaspoon ground cumin  

1 teaspoon ground coriander 

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric  

1/2 tablespoon paprika  

1 garlic clove crushed 

1 teaspoon harissa paste 

1 small red onion 

1 small lemon 

salt and freshly ground black pepper 

4 x 30cm (12in) flat metal skewers 

Trim any excess fat off the outside of the lamb and then cut it into roughly 5cm (2in) chunks. 

Place it into a bowl with the olive oil, lemon juice, spices, garlic, harissa paste and some seasoning, and mix together well. Cover and leave to marinate at room temperature for two hours or overnight in the fridge. 

Peel the onion, leaving the root end intact and then cut it into eight wedges, so that the slices of onions stay together at the root. Cut each lemon into eight wedges. 

Thread the chunks of lamb, lemon and onion wedges alternately on to the skewers and barbecue over medium-hot coals for about ten to 15 minutes, turning them now and then, until they are nicely browned on the outside but still pink in the centre. These would be nice served with either a spicy couscous dish or a mint salad. 


The finished texture of this very light and refreshing dessert should be like large flakes of sea salt. Once in your mouth, close your eyes and capture the taste of the Caribbean. 

Serves 6-8 


600ml (1 pint) water 

100g (4oz) granulated sugar  

50g (2oz) Blue Mountain coffee beans or ready-ground Continental Roast coffee 

150ml (5fl oz) double cream 

1 teaspoon drinking chocolate powder 

12-16 coffee beans to decorate 

Put the water and sugar into a pan and leave over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. 

If you are using whole coffee beans, grind them to a powder in a coffee grinder. Stir the ground coffee into the sugar syrup and leave to infuse for five minutes. 

Strain the coffee through a filter paper or a fine sieve lined with a piece of muslin into a shallow plastic container. Leave until cool and then cover and put into the freezer until the mixture begins to freeze around the edges. 

Scrape all the ice away from the sides and break it up into smaller crystals with a fork. Return it to the freezer and continue to do this every 30 minutes or so until you have a frozen but still grainy mixture. 

To serve, whip the cream into soft peaks. Spoon the granita into glasses, top with a spoonful of cream, and decorate with a sprinkling of drinking chocolate powder and a couple of coffee beans. 


These are so easy to prepare yet so colourful and visually appetising. The Thai fishermen were so impressed that they wanted me to share some of the local "Hard Stuff". Needless to say, that was the end of the day's filming. 

Serves 4 


450g (1lb) raw, headless tiger prawns 

1 stalk of lemongrass  

3 limes 

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 

120ml (4fl oz) canned coconut milk 

6 tablespoons light soy sauce 

2 teaspoons palm or light muscovado sugar 


1 baby cucumber or a 5cm (2in) piece of ordinary cucumber 

50ml (2fl oz) rice wine or white wine vinegar 

1 tablespoon caster sugar  

1 red birdseye chilli, seeded and finely chopped 

2 teaspoons chopped roasted peanuts 

8 x 15cm (6in) bamboo skewers that have been soaked in cold water for 30 minutes 

Peel the prawns if necessary, leaving the last tail segment in place. 

Remove the tough outer leaves from the stalk of lemongrass and finely chop the tender core. Finely grate the zest from one of the limes and squeeze out the juice. Cut the remaining limes into small wedges. 

Put the lemongrass, lime zest, lime juice, garlic, coconut milk, soy sauce and sugar into a non-metallic dish. Add the prawns, mix together well and set aside to marinate at room temperature for about 15 minutes or for up to two hours in the fridge. 

For the dipping sauce, cut the cucumber in half and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut the remaining cucumber into very small dice. Mix with the vinegar, sugar and chilli until the sugar has dissolved and then spoon into small serving bowls. Sprinkle over the peanuts. 

Thread several prawns on to each skewer with two lime wedges. Pierce through the tail of one prawn, add a lime wedge, and then skewer the head end of the prawn so that it wraps itself around the lime attractively. Do this once more and repeat for the rest of the skewers. 

Barbecue the skewers over medium-hot coals for about one minute on each side or until just cooked through. Serve at once with the dipping sauce, and garnished with the remaining lime wedges.