Food: Barbie dazzlers 

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Bring your A-game to the barbecue this year with award-winning food writer Helen Graves’ sizzling hot recipes.

Panzanella with blackened zucchini

Panzanella with blackened zucchini

There are two main barbecue cooking techniques you need to be aware of: direct cooking and indirect cooking. When preparing the barbecue, I almost always set it up for what is called “two-zone cooking”. This means that there is the direct zone with lit coals and the indirect zone without. There are different ways to arrange the coals to achieve this, but I often do mine the easiest way possible, which is to place the hot coals on one side, leaving the other empty.

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The reasons behind this are that dual zone cooking allows you to: sear food for color and flavor before moving it to the cooler side to finish cooking more slowly; move food to cooler area if fire flares up; keep food warm on the cooler side while you finish cooking something else; or simmer something on the colder side with the lid on. Simply think of your grill as having a range of temperature zones that run horizontally: the closer to the embers, the hotter it will get. Simple.

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Our recipes come from Live Fire: Seasonal BBQ Recipes and Stories of Old and New Live Fire Traditions by Helen Graves (Hardie Grant, £26). To order a copy for £22.10 with free postage until May 19, go to or call 020 3176 2937. privacy policy

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