Recipes from Feli’s Bar & Restaurant

We’ve been going BBQ bonkers down at Certainly Wood HQ lately, courtesy of the recent burst of knock-out weather we’ve had. However, our culinary skills extend to a few sausages and burgers most of the time. But what do proper chefs cook on the BBQ? Over the Malvern Hills and not far away (well, in Worcestershire, actually) is Feli’s Bar & Restaurant headed up by celebrity chef, Felice Tocchini.

When not showing off his cooking tips at food shows throughout the UK, or running cooking classes with the likes of Jean-Christophe Novelli, Felice is to be found at the helm of his restaurant. An award-winning bar & restaurant serving freshly prepared dishes with an Italian flair, Feli’s Bar & Restaurant is very much a family affair and he is ably assisted by his wife Fiorinda. Even his two grandchildren get in on the act. Felice takes up the tale:


The last decade has seen a renaissance in the ancient art of barbecuing. Although barbecues themselves have become more efficient, sophisticated and expensive, the actual cooking itself has changed very little. I prefer to cook on charcoal or wood as it imparts a much better flavour to the food.

Regarded in the past as a gift from the Gods, fire was believed to have “magical powers”; once the flames have died down, almost every kind of food can be grilled or roasted in the incandescent embers or coals.

This method of cooking still plays a big role in Italian kitchens to this day, either in the form of “al fresco” cooking, (which moves to the fireplace in winter months) or in a purpose-built bread and pizza oven. Here are some of my favourite recipes to cook on the barbecue or to serve alongside these dishes. Buon appetito.

 

Burger “Surprise”

Ingredients:

  • 600g good minced beef
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 5tsp mustard powder
  • 1 egg
  • A mixed bunch of sage, parsley, thyme and marjoram chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 100g Stilton cheese, (can be changed for cheddar, brie or any other cheese you like)

 

Method:

  • Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together.
  • Split the mixture into 4 balls.
  • Stuff the burger by pressing a cavity in the middle of it with your thumb, add the cheese and close the meat around it.
  • Shape the burger carefully.
  • Grill to your liking turning once.

 

Moroccan Kofta My Way

Ingredients:

  • 500g minced lamb
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 4tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1tsp chopped mint
  • ½tsp chopped marjoram
  • ½tsp ground cumin
  • ½tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

 

Method:

  • Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well.
  • Leave to rest for at least one hour.
  • With wet hands, split into 16 pieces and shape into ‘sausages’.
  • Skewer each sausage and drizzle with a little oil.
  • Cook 4 or 5 minutes on each side or until they are cooked.

 

 

Lemon and honey marinated belly of pork

Ingredients:

  • 400g boneless belly of pork, cut into ½ cm slices, rind removed
  • 1 lemon
  • 1sprig rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2tbsp honey
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Small bunch of thyme

 

Method:

  • Marinate the pork belly in the juice of the lemon mixed with the rosemary, half of the thyme and a little salt and pepper for a couple of hours.
  • Place the honey in a pan, add the rest of the thyme chopped and warm it up on your BBQ, but do not boil, remove from the heat and leave to infuse.
  • Place the pork belly on the grill and cook for 3 or 4 minutes on each side.
  • When the pork is nearly cooked, brush with the honey mixture and cook of a further minute on each side or until the honey is caramelised.

 

Sweet potato Salad

4 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 spring onions sliced
  • Small bunch rocket/dandelion
  • 2tsp honey
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2tsp sesame oil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Peel the sweet potato and with the help of a mandolin cut into thin little strips length-wise. (If you do not have a mandolin you can simply use the potato peeler to create thin slices.)
  2. Dress the sweet potato with the honey, a little salt and pepper, sesame oil and a little olive oil, mix well and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the rocket and onion to the sweet potato and mix before serving.

 

Fragrant BBQ sauce

Ingredients

  • Tomato puree
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ vanilla pod
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 clove
  • 1cm of cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 sprigs of thyme

 

Method 

  • Warm up a cast iron non-stick pan and add all the spices; shaking the pan, cook them for a minute or so to release the flavours.
  • Add the tomato and with a spatula stir well, crush the garlic and add to the sauce together with the thyme.
  • Carry on stirring to reduce down the sauce. Make sure that it does not burn on the side of the pan; if it does, remove with the spatula and discard.
  • The puree is ready when the tomatoes are almost dry (but still red) and it starts to look like a paste.
  • Remove from the BBQ and leave to cool down before removing all the spices, thyme and garlic.

 

Sweet Potato Pizza

 

For the dough

  • 150g cooked mashed sweet potatoes
  • 5g Fresh yeast
  • 200g Plain flour plus extra for rolling and dusting

For the tomato sauce

  • 100g chopped tomatoes
  • handful fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Salt and pepper

For the topping

  • 125g ball mozzarella, chopped (grated cheddar will also do)
  • handful baby tomatoes, halved optional

To finish

  • Sprinkle of oregano (optional)

 

Method

  1. Crumble the yeast into the potatoes, add the flour and mix together until you have a soft, fairly wet dough.
  2. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Cover with a tea towel and set aside. You can leave the dough to rise if you like, but it’s not essential for a thin crust.
  3. Make the sauce: Mix the tomato, basil and crushed garlic together, then season to taste.
  4. Leave to stand at room temperature while you get on with shaping the base.
  5. If you’ve let the dough rise, give it a quick knead, then split into two balls. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into large rounds, about 25cm across, using a rolling pin. The dough needs to be very thin as it will rise in the oven.
  6. Top with the tomato sauce, add the cherry tomato, oregano and finally the cheese
  7. Bake on top of your BBQ for about 7- 8 minutes until crisp, covering with a lid. You can even make this out of tin foil.

Tips

  • Any left-over dough, roll down to 1cm thickness, leave to rise, poke a few holes, top with olive oil, rock salt and rosemary for a tasty focaccia.

 

 

Caviale di melanzane

Ingredients (6/8 people)

  • 3 medium aubergines
  • garlic cloves
  • 1tbsp wine vinegar
  • 1tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

 

Method

  • Roast the aubergines on the BBQ, turning them over regularly until they are soft and their skins have charred and blistered (20 minutes approximately).
  • Peel and finely chop the aubergines while still hot.
  • In a food processor, chop the garlic and parsley, add the aubergines and continue to process until smooth.
  • Place into a bowl and stir in the vinegar and the oil: adjust for seasoning.

 

This dish can either be used as a “dip” for bread, or can be spread as a sauce over char-grilled meats.

 

Banane alla griglia

Ingredients 

  • bananas just ripe
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 5cl Rum/Kirsch/ or your favourite tipple

 

Method

  • Cut the skin of the banana lengthwise being careful not to damage the flesh and remove half of the skin.
  • Place the banana, skin side down on a medium hot BBQ and cook for 5-6 minutes
  • Sprinkle the flesh with the sugar and leave to cook for a further five minutes or until the bananas is nice and soft and the skin has blackened.
  • Remove the bananas from the BBQ and place on a serving dish.
  • Warm up your favourite tipple, pour over the fruit and set alight, serving immediately

 

Brochettes de fruits

Ingredients

  • 2 oranges
  • 1 small pineapple
  • 2 bananas
  • 2tbsp rum
  • 100g sugar
  • Pane pugliese/sandwich loaf/any large bread loaf
  • 75g melted butter

 

Method

  • Cut the fruit into large chunks making sure that you have 8 pieces of each.
  • Place in a large bowl with the rum and 1-2 tbsp of sugar and mix well.
  • Cut thick slices (about 2cm) of bread, remove the crust and cut to create 12 rectangles.
  • Brush the bread with butter and coat with sugar.
  • Make the skewers starting with the bread, banana, orange, pineapple.
  • Repeat step six and finish the skewer with a piece of bread
  • Cook them for about 10 minutes, or until caramelised, turning them occasionally. Serve immediately.