Full time feasts

Peter Walters, Keele University’s executive chef, calms our World Cup nerves with some barbecue-style treats

I thought I’d ask some of the kitchen staff here at Keele if they’d be watching the World Cup this year and there was a certain amount of apathy and not much interest. I’m sure that will pass. Statistics show that more than 20 million British viewers tuned into the final in 2010, and TV spectators remained in their droves even after England got knocked out by Germany. Well it’s the blazing heat of the summer, in some countries at least, so barbecue-style food is the flavour of the month.

Baked Cheese Bread    
For 6–8 persons

  • 1 round loaf, uncut but you could use a bloomer
  • 300g cheddar, grated
  • 1 onion, small, cut into very thin slices
  • 50g parsley, chopped
  • 75g butter, melted

1.) Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut slices into the bread, about 2cm apart, stopping before you cut through to the bottom of the loaf. Turn the loaf round so that your cuts are running left to right on the diagonal, then in the same manner as before cut slices across original cuts, creating diagonal shaped cubes, taking care not to cut through to the bottom.

2.) Stuff the space in-between each cube with cheese, onions and parsley, then drizzle with melted butter.

3.) Wrap in foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Unwrap the top of the loaf and bake for 15 minutes more, to crisp up the crust. Serve immediately. Tear and share!

Finger Licking Ribs    
For 6–8 persons

  • 2 large, meaty racks of ribs
  • Rib Rub
  • 150g paprika
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder 

Barbecue Sauce

  • 2 bacon, slices
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 400ml ketchup
  • 60g dark brown sugar
  • 50g molasses
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • ½ tbsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1.) Heat the oven to 135°C. Mix together the dry ingredients of the rib rub. Lay the ribs on a large baking sheet, then cover them all over with the rib rub and pop them in the oven to bake for 3–4 hours.

2.) Make the barbecue sauce while the ribs are cooking: Fry the bacon in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the thyme, onions and garlic and cook until the onions are golden. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Remove the bacon before using.

3.) Take the ribs from the oven and spoon the ribs with barbecue sauce and then bake them for about 10 minutes turning, until the sauce glazes but doesn’t burn; the sugar will make the sauce inclined to burn, so watch them carefully and err on the side of not blackening them too much (you could do this under the grill).

4.) Use a sharp, heavy knife to cut the racks into individual ribs, and serve with the rest of the barbecue sauce and lots of napkins.

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