BBQ Pig tails


BBQ Pig tails

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I currently live in the Waterloo Region of Southwestern Ontario Canada . Specifically I am in the Kitchener /Waterloo area and the reason I mention this is due to the very rich German heritage this area has. In fact the city of Kitchener was originally named Berlin and the name only changed in September 1916.

With the rich food heritage the German people have it is a wonder to me, especially with my love affair with pork, that it has taken so long to try this part of the noble pig and while some people may turn up their nose at the mere thought of eating the tail let me tell you it is delicious.

As a side note I used short cut tails because this is the first time making this dish however whole tails are preferable.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 1 pound short cut Pig Tails
  • 4 Plums
  • Barbecue sauce

Putting it all together:

  1. Place the pig tails in a large pot with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and let go for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the tails and empty the pot. Put the tails back in the pot and cover with more water until just submerged.
  3. Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 90 minutes.
  4. Heat your grill to 350° and add the tails.
  5. As the tails get crispy baste with your BBQ sauce turning every couple of minutes.
  6. Split the plums and lightly grill them.
  7. Pull off the heat and enjoy.

Cooks note: Simmering the tails is necessary in order to render down the fat and ensure the tails do not get chewy or rubbery.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time……….

                            Bon Appetit





Chimichurri Steak flat bread

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Chimichurri Steak flat bread

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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I’m not on chef level, but I’d make a good line cook. That’s not too shabby.

Jon Favreau

I’ve worked as a line cook at various establishments over the years and most if not all have had a flat bread of some kind or other on the menu and the one common denominator has been that they all resemble Pizza… you know, basic tomato sauce, some kind of topping and melted cheese. Pretty humdrum fare which is why I have taken two of my favourite things, Steak and Chimichurri, and combined them on a flat bread.

If you are not familiar with Chimichurri it is a condiment that is believed to have originated in Argentina in the early 1900’s and its base is Parsley and Garlic and pairs wonderfully with grilled meats. In my version I have added a couple of other ingredients that I think give it an extra layer of flavour.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 1 8 ounce Flat Iron steak
  • 2 9 inch Flat Breads
  • 4 tablespoons Chimichurri (recipe to follow)
  • 4 ounces  Onions – sliced
  • 1 Leek, white only, julienne
  • 2 – 4 ounces Goat Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • Small bunch of flat leaf Parsley
  • Small bunch of Cilantro
  • 4-6 Garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Oregano (can substitute 2 teaspoons dried)

Putting it all together:

  1. Preheat your grill to 400°
  2. In a food processor combine the parsley, cilantro, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and vinegar and pulse until blended. With the motor running add the olive oil in a steady stream and continue blending until smooth. Refrigerate.
  3. Lightly season the steak with salt and pepper and slice thinly.
  4. Saute the onions with salt, pepper and the butter for about 15 minutes.
  5. To build your flat bread: Smear the chimichurri on the flat bread and top with the steak, onions and leeks. Put on your grill for about 10 minutes or until the steak is done to your liking being careful not to burn the crust.
  6. Crumble goat cheese on the top, slice and enjoy.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time……….

                          Bon Appetit

Grilled peach and prosciutto


Grilled peach and Prosciutto

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: easy
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“Look up in the sky it’s a bird it’s, a plane it’s a…….. Baseball?”

Yup it’s that time of year again….. the ALCS and NLCS games are on (that’s baseball for those who don’t know)to see who goes to the World Series to play for all the marbles and since my home town team The Toronto Blue Jays are playing in the ALCS I am more interested than I normally would be.

Now I know that the norm for a baseball game is chicken wings, popcorn, nachos etc. but since I did that last week I thought I would do something a bit different this time around— at least as far as an appetizer is concerned and since I wanted to watch the game as well I opted for something simple.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping List:

  • 1 Cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1 Semi ripe Peach
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground Black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon granulated Garlic
  • 9 Half slices of Prosciutto
  • 1 small loaf of French bread

Putting it all together:

  1. Preheat your grill to 350 degrees
  2. Slice the peach into 9 equal parts
  3. In a mixing bowl combine all remaining ingredients, except the bread, and mix well
  4. Grill the peaches for approximately 5 minutes
  5. When cooled enough to handle wrap a half slice of Prosciutto around each peach slice
  6. Slice the french bread on the bias and spread the Ricotta cheese mixture on each slice
  7. Place a grilled peach slice on each piece of bread
  8. Enjoy

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time………

                          Bon Appetit

Grilled marinated chicken thighs


This past weekend we had a party to celebrate my grandsons fourth birthday and as is customary at such events there is food…….. usually lots of food and most times that leaves us with leftovers for close friends and family to take home with them. Well such was not the case here since my son, daughters new boyfriend and a buddy of mine from out of town where there. These three would put Locusts to shame so needless to say there was not much leftover and what there was bit the dust at lunch the next day.

Now as chances would have it I had to work until 5 p.m. the next day so that was making it a bit difficult to prepare dinner but also being a wee bit versatile…… yeah that was a blatant plug for myself……… I purchased some boneless skinless chicken breast on the way home, gave it a quick marinade (see dry rubs and marinades) and popped them on the BBQ and since they were boneless and skinless they were finished in no time and  they were also inhaled in nothing flat…… and yes, I did get some for myself…… thanks for asking.

So here is how we do this one………..


Ten to twelve boneless skinless chicken thighs

Chicken marinade (see dry rubs and marinades)- you could also go so far as to use a store bought BBQ sauce if you wish

Putting it all together:

In a sealable bag or container add the chicken and the marinade

Shake well to coat the chicken and let marinade for at least 30 minutes

Pre- heat the grill to 350 degrees

Grill the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees

Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy

Now this recipe calls for chicken thighs and I like to use them because I can lay them flat on the grill and it helps speed the cooking process but lets be realistic…….. not everyone likes the thigh so use whatever piece of the bird you wish.

So there you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”.

So until next time………..


                                                          Bon Appetit.

Cheese stuffed cedar planked figs wrapped with Prosciutto

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I thought I would continue the “simple but tasty” apps path with another one I happen to have stolen from Chef Ted Readers dynamite BBQ book and the fact that this one uses a part of the noble pig, in this case Prosciutto, is no mere coincidence. Now to be honest I have never really eaten figs other than in Fig Newton cookies and I have not really seen them outside of an old movie or two where some Bedouin sheikh is lounging on an overstuffed pillow watching some dancing girls and munching on fresh figs but over the past few months I have started to see them being sold in more and more grocery stores and they reminded me of this particular recipe and so I thought I would pass it on to you…… oh and of course this is not the original recipe in Chef Ted’s book since I have tweaked it to my own tastes.


Untreated 12 inch Cedar plank soaked overnight

1/2 cup creme de cassis

1 Tablespoon cracked black peppercorns

12 Medium to large fresh black or green figs, halved lengthwise

3/4 cup Goat cheese

3/4 cup crumbled Blue cheese

Four ounces sun dried tomatoes, chopped

1 green onion finely chopped

1/2 cup baby spinach, chopped

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon fresh Sage, finally chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

12 thin slices Prosciutto

Liquid honey to drizzle (optional)

Putting it all together:

In a small flat shallow dish put the creme de cassis and sprinkle the cracked peppercorns on top

Add the figs, cut side down, and marinade for about an hour

While the figs are marinating soak the sun dried  tomatoes in hot water until they are reconstituted (about 20 minutes)—— there is nothing like biting into a rubbery piece of sun dried tomato…. well maybe there are a few things but that’s for another day.

Pre heat the BBQ to 450 degrees

In a medium bowl mix all the other ingredients, except the Prosciutto and honey.

Take one half of a fig and place a good amount of the cheese mix on it and then top with the other half and wrap in Prosciutto. Secure with a toothpick

Repeat until all the figs are stuffed and wrapped

Place the figs on a cedar plank and place in the BBQ for five to six minutes or until the cheese starts to ooze

Place on a platter and drizzle with honey if using it.

The great thing about this recipe is that the figs can be assembled a day in advance and brought out to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.

So there you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

So until next time…………

                                                         Bon Appetit


Bangers and mash


The United Kingdom has given the world many wondrous things such as Stonehenge, The Highland games ,Knights, Castles, Damsels in distress and people such as Monty Python and the Late Benny Hill but they have also given us something else that is oft times thought of as bland, tasteless and just plain boring—— FOOD.

They have given us such things as English Fish and Chips, Yorkshire Pudding, Spotted Dick (that’s a pudding not some strange male disease) Steak and Kidney pie and one that I really like for its taste and simplicity… Bangers and Mash.

Now bangers and mash is very simply Sausage and Mashed potatoes with a vegetable, usually peas, and a beef gravy. This dish gets its name from the original type of English sausage that was used because when it cooked it would literally “bang” and pop in the pan.

The other great thing about this dish besides its simplicity is it is relatively inexpensive to make. The ingredients at the market I use would run about $15.00 and depending on the number of sausage in the package, usually 6, I could feed a family of 3 and they would be rather well fed.


–         One package sausage— English bangers if you can find them or if not mild Italian will do

–         5 or 6 Medium Yukon Gold potatoes

–         4 Tablespoons butter

–         ¼ Cup Milk

–         2 Tins of No Name peas

–         2 Tins of beef gravy


–         Pre heat your grill to 350 degrees. If you don’t have a grill then pan fry on medium heat until done

–         While the sausage is cooking boil your potatoes on medium high until fork tender

–         Mash the potatoes and add the butter and milk and incorporate well

–         Heat the peas and the gravy in separate pots

–         When the sausage is cooked put some mashed potatoes on part of your plate and top with the sausage and gravy

–         Add the peas and enjoy

If you feel ambitious and the budget can handle it you may also wish to add some mushrooms to the gravy or sauté some onions.

In any event this is a “simple but tasty” recipe that also happens to be inexpensive.

Until next time…………

            Bon Appetit

Grill pan


When I originally went looking for a Grill Top to be used on my stove I went with a 10” Cast Iron because not only did it give me the grill marks I wanted on my meat or vegetables but it could also be put right into the oven to finish off whatever I was grilling.

After a few uses I decided it was not the right fit for me so I gave it to my son and it has enjoyed a happy home since that time. What I bought instead was a dual purpose Grill Pan where one side was a Grill and the other is a Flat Top and this combination is just perfect since not only can it be popped in the oven to finish off the grilling but when it’s not being used for grilling you can turn it over and use the Flat Top side to make eggs, pancakes, hash browns  and even sandwiches. Just remember to place it on two burners and turn the burners to the same heat level otherwise you will get uneven heat distribution.

My big caution is NEVER and I mean NEVER put it in the dishwasher or you can say bye bye to Mr. Grill Pan. Simply wash it with mild soap and water, dry and wipe some Olive Oil on it to help protect it.

If you happen to purchase one of these must have kitchen gadgets then I hope you find many “simple but tasty” dishes for it.

Bon Appetit

Hello and welcome

Hello, my name is Paul Sinclair and welcome to Gardens and Grills the site that will bring you simple but tasty recipes for the grilling season and beyond.

Now why “Gardens and Grills” you might ask?  The idea came from the days when my wife and I would spend all day outdoors. Her gardening—- me grilling. Now “grilling” to me is more than a hobby which is evidenced by the fact that at one time I had FOUR BBQ’s and ONE CHARCOAL GRILL/SMOKER.  Regrettably those particular grilling days are gone and I’m down to One Propane BBQ and my Charcoal Grill/Smoker but that has not diminished my enthusiasm, passion, or whatever you wish to call it when it comes to cooking or grilling and I still spend as much time with the BBQ’s as is possible.

Now I started cooking a little later in life, early 40’s to be precise, and to be quite honest when I started I didn’t know a food mill from a grocery bag but with five kids to feed and a wife sick with Cancer I had to learn in a real hurry and somewhere over the last 16 years I found I really enjoyed cooking. In fact the kitchen has become my Fortress of Solitude and if my wife is looking for me she usually looks there first.

The recipes I will be sharing are not all my own creations but they definitely are time proven, tasty and simple and if you are like me you will take these recipes and add your own little twists and tweaks until they are yours. You may notice when going through the ingredients list of the recipes I will post that I try to use as much non pre- packaged food as is possible. That is due to my close proximity to a Farmers Market which makes it easier to get fresh ingredients  and besides, it gets me out of the house and my grandson loves the outing and the “cookies”.

When I’m not in the kitchen I may be found on a golf course or in a pool hall playing in one of two pool leagues that I and my daughter belong to. I guess that’s one of the benefits of being semi- retired and having time on my hands. Oh and…. some day I hope to cross a few items off my “bucket list” and they are to enjoy a culinary tour of Tuscany, or do a CIA Boot Camp (that’s Culinary Institute of America—- not the “other” CIA) in Napa Valley or the East Coast of Canada.

With all that has been said above my goal for this blog, time permitting, is to post one or two recipes a week along with a photo of the finished product and I hope that someone, somewhere, will find their inner foodie and begin their own culinary journey.

I would also like to point out that the awesome header picture for this blog was found in a Homes and Gardens magazine and is not my garden or grill so kudos to Homes and Gardens for such a great shot.

Thank you for visiting and I hope to see you in the future.

Bon Appetite