Time to fire up the barbie

Annette Sym
Annette Sym Cade Mooney

NOW that the weather is warming up it's a great time to use your barbecue.

Often ignored over the winter months, summer is the perfect time to get back to doing what Aussies love to do most, fire up the barbie and enjoy those sizzling steaks and snags. Barbecuing is easy, everyone loves it and if done the right way it can be healthy and low in fat. Here are some tips:

1. First, buy good quality meat as it has less fat. Cut off all the white stuff (fat) on the side of the meat.

2. Remove any skin from chicken. Forget cooking drumsticks as it takes way to long on the barbeque and you can end up with burnt on the outside raw on the inside. Chicken breasts are better; they are lower in fat and cook quicker.

3. Barbequing on an open grill is a healthy way to cook as it allows the fats to escape.

4. Throw some seafood on the grill as it cooks up beautifully on a barbeque, but be careful as seafood cooks very quickly and when overcooked will be dry. Fish only needs a few minutes on each side.

5. Everyone's favourite is fried onion so a low fat way to do this is use cooking sprays on the flat top. Make sure you do the onions first before you cook any meat, this way the fat from the meat doesn't soak into the onion. Keep the onion warm in the oven while you cook everything else and just be careful when using cooking spray that it doesn't go anywhere near an open flame.

6. Add some variety to your barbeque by throwing on some sliced banana or pineapple and whole mushrooms and tomatoes cut in half taste great. I also like fresh asparagus, grilled capsicum, zucchini and slices of sweet potato as well.

7. Make up some of my fabulous sauces to pour over your steak, your guests will be very impressed. My favourites are Dianne and Pepper in book 2.

8. When making salads to go with your barbeque use the 97% fat free mayonnaises and no oil dressings.

9. Sausages are very high in fat so make rissoles with lean mince or do my Spicy Chicken Plum Kebabs in book 6 instead, the kids will love them, and so will the big kids:-)

10. And finally never turn a steak more than once. Continually turning the meat will make it dry and hard, so step away from the barbeque and don't keep turning the meat as you chat to your guests.

Annette's cookbooks SYMPLY TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE 1-6 are sold in all good newsagencies.

Visit Annette's website for more tips and recipes, and join Annette's Facebook page at Symply Too Good.


Spicy Plum Chicken Kebabs, Recipe from Symply Too Good To Be True, Book 6

Serves 6


  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic (in jar)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon grass chopped or (in jar)
  • ½ cup plum sauce (SPC)
  • ⅓ cup Hoi Sin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Pad Thai paste


  • 800g skinless chicken breasts
  • 12 wooden kebab sticks
  • cooking spray

Combine all marinade ingredients. Cut chicken into large dice. Thread chicken pieces onto kebab sticks, dividing an equal amount to make 12 kebabs. Place into a large flat plastic container that has a lid and pour marinade over chicken. Place lid on and refrigerate overnight if possible or for at least 4 hours. Turn occasionally. When ready to cook, remove kebabs from marinade and either BBQ or grill, turning so all sides cook evenly. Pour marinade over chicken while cooking.

Variations: Replace chicken with very lean pork, lamb or firm tofu.

Suitable to be frozen.


Nutritional Information



























1030 (cals 246)




















Note from Annette
This simple but oh-so-delicious recipe is one of my family's favourites. Instead of going to the supermarket you can now make this one yourself. Just remember not to overcook the chicken so you keep it moist and tender.

Dietitian's Tip
I really enjoy how Annette provides recipe variations. Here she introduces a vegetarian protein option using tofu. Tofu is lactose free, and low in calories, sodium, fat and cholesterol. This dish is suitable to fight chronic diseases including diabetes, cancer and heart disease.


Nutritional Information



























878 (cals 210)






















Topics:  annette sym barbecue easy eating recipes

Peter Garrett's opinion on shark netting might surprise you

Minister for School Education Peter Garrett visited Leichhardt State School on Wednesday.
Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

Balance is needed... "when humans and animals find the same place"

Children under the age of 10 accused of lighting 20 fires

FIRE SPREE: The Rural Fire Service sat the fire near Tabulam was one of a string of blazes lit in recent times.

Police suspect children behind fires at Tabulam

New G'bah affordable housing units revealed

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: North Coast Community Housing's opening of Rainforest Creek was attended by NCCH Chairman John Stone and NCCH general manager Fiona McConnell.

New units will offer tenants the option to buy

Local Partners

Top 5 in entertainment this week

FULL VOICE: Dorian Mode performing the Nat 'King' Cole Tribute Show.

Here's what's happening across the Northern Rivers this week

Tom Cruise credits success to Scientology

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise credits his success to Scientology

Hacksaw Ridge leads AACTA Awards nominations

Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

MEL Gibson's wartime drama opens in cinemas next week.

Top 5 events at Tropical Fruits 2016

IT'S ON: Tropical Fruits Festival over New Years.

Festival guide hits the streets this weekend

ABBA to reunite for virtual live experience


ABBA have confirmed they are to reunite - in virtual reality form

Hugh Laurie receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals