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BBQ Entertaining
© Sue Courtney - text and photos
16 December 2001

It's summer, it's holiday time and it's hot. Try these hints for easy entertaining. Steak on the BBQ followed by the fruits of summer.

Filet Mignon - NZ style - with mushrooms sweated in pinot noir.
Classic 'Filet Mignon' is fillet steak, mushroom and bacon served on a round of toasted bread. My New Zealand-style filet mignon is similar, except that it is cooked on the barbecue - perfect for outdoor entertaining or just yummy barbecue food during the New Zealand summer. It has the addition of mushrooms cooked two ways - whole mushrooms on the BBQ and mushrooms sweated in pinot noir. You only need a drop of pinot noir - drink the rest with the meal.

Fillet Steak. mushrooms and bacon You will need one to 2 pieces of fillet steak per person, depending on size of steak and person.

1 rasher of rindless streaky bacon per steak.
One round of bread per steak
1 mushrooms per steak
1-2 mushrooms extra per person

First prepare the food for barbecue cooking. -

Wrap each steak with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
Cut out a circle from each slice of bread with a cookie cutter.
Butter bread on both sides.
Wash mushrooms.
Put one whole mushroom with the steak and bread, to be barbecued.

In the kitchen, prepare the remainder of mushrooms, by cutting into small to medium sized chunks.
Melt butter in a saucepan and add 1-2 cloves of crushed garlic, depending on your tolerance to garlic and the number of mushrooms you are cooking.
When garlic has turned golden, add the mushrooms. Stir well to cover with the garlic butter, season with salt and pepper, place lid on saucepan and reduce heat.
What you want is for the mushrooms to produce their own liquid. Stir a couple of times to ensure mushrooms stay moist. (For four mushrooms, I cooked for about 4-5 minutes). When the liquid they have produced starts to dry up, add a dash of pinot noir - just enough to moisten. Turn the heat off and let the mushrooms sweat in their own and the pinot noir juices.

Heat and oil the barbecue steel plate. Cook the steaks, the whole mushrooms and rounds of bread on the barbecue steel..

To serve, place a round of bread on a plate, place the steak on top of it, then the whole mushroom - the cavity of the mushroom faces up.
Drizzle with the mushrooms sweated in pinot noir, filling the cavity of the whole mushroom and spilling over on to the plate.

Serve with the pinot noir left over from cooking.

This dish was delicious with the subtle earthy flavours of the Pegasus Bay Prima Donna Pinot Noir 1999, the meaty flavours of the Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 1994 and the Wither Hills Pinot Noir 2000 (the cooking wine for my experimental dish).

Summer Fruit Salad.
It's December and berry and summer fruit is starting to flood the market in time for Christmas Day. Prices are good this week but watch them creep up as the holiday arrives.

What better than to finish the meal than with a delicious fresh berry and fruit salad? This is perfect for any time of the day - brunch, lunch or dinner. I made this salad to take to the relatives get-together for Christmas, then again for visitors at home to finish off the meal after the BBQ.

Summer Fruit Salad What I used:

3 juicy tangelos
1 punnet strawberries
1 punnet of raspberries
a handful of blueberries
3 apricots
3 zespri (yellow kiwifruit)
1 wedge of pink watermelon
2 or 3 sprigs of mint
citrus blossom sugar

2 bananas (optional)

Squeeze the tangelos. Strain juice through a sieve to catch the pith and pips.
Chop strawberries, halve the raspberries, wash and chop the apricots, peels and chop the zespri, remove seeds from the watermelon and chop.
Place all of the chopped fruit into a bowl that contains the tangelo juice, together with the whole sprigs of mint.
Mix well then sprinkle with citrus blossom sugar (this is sugar that has had the petals from citrus blossom in it - which gives a lovely aroma).
Let fruit macerate in the juices until ready to serve. The longer it macerates, the more delicious it seems to become. Just before serving add sliced banana if you like.

This fruit salad tastes just divine and is perfect with a sweet wine such as Saints Botrytis Semillon 1999 or Palliser Estate Noble Chardonnay 2000.

Bon Appetit

© Sue Courtney
December, 2001.

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