This week, Celebrity & Master Chef Steven Saunders, proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala cooks perfect spare ribs, ideal for the BBQ!
Designed by Alexander McQueen!
MY father has always loved to barbeque and as a boy, we had many BBQs with friends and neighbours but dad was always in charge. In fact, most of my fun memories as a boy are attached somehow to a BBQ! Dad still Cookson the barbie and he is 84. But 8 + 4 =12 and he has the mental age of a 12-year-old when it comes to living life! My mother passed away almost seven years ago and left a huge hole. However, he insists on enjoying life (and why not!) especially with his 50 something girlfriend Sandra, who he says Mum would approve of! I am not so sure about that dad, but yes, your BBQs are legendary!
Some years ago, when I was doing the TV cookery shows, I was approached by a company that manufactures chefs uniforms. They asked me to help design a new range for them to make chefs gear a bit more fun especially for the event companies that had loads of garden parties. I wanted to make them more stylish, lighter with lots of pockets, easy to take off, easy to wash and quick to dry. Most chefs jackets were uncomfortably heavy cotton in those days and took ages to dry. It was to be called the Steven Saunders Gourmet Chefs Collection. But in the background, someone special had a hand in.
My close friend David Emanuel who is a famous wedding dress designer, had introduced me to a designer colleague of his called Lee McQueen, you might know him as Alexander McQueen. I met him with David in Quo Vadis in London, one of Marco Pierre Whites restaurants. They were drinking upstairs in the bar with the legendary Bob Geldof who looked a bit worse for wear! I got Lee’s number after chatting enthusiastically about my new chef’s clothes range and then I asked my PR lady Vicky, to give him a call. We met in London to discuss ideas. It was 1994, I had just started the Ready Steady Cook show and Lee was working in London (that was before Givenchy poached him).
Lee wasn’t that interested to be fair. He said that he wanted to help and could see the market for work clothes evolving but he had loads on, preparing for a fashion show and had recently been approached by the Spice Girls wanting a new look, but had turned them down. But what he did do was sketch what he thought the chef’s jackets should look like. It was a basic but beautiful pencil sketch of a shirt with vegetables, carrots with tops, artichokes and asparagus featured on them. The sketch of an artichoke coming from someone who couldn’t cook was remarkable! Afterwards, Lee and I went to a local bar somewhere near Savile Row where he was excited to tell me about his Jack the Ripper designer collection for the forthcoming fashion show.
I left thinking great guy, friggin’ weird designs, but hey that’s fashion, I guess! So, I had a sketch of a fun looking chef’s jacket in my pocket and some ideas (I wish I had kept the sketch!) I remember saying to the company’s manufacturing designer team, we must have carrots, bright orange carrots with their greens. They thought I was bonkers! But they were manufactured as requested and then heavily marketed and advertised throughout various catering journals. A few weeks later, I called the company and asked about the sales of the range. Not much they said about 25 sets that’s all. I ordered my dad a jacket and had David Saunders Executive Chef inscribed onto it. He was over the moon when he got it and said he would wear it at every BBQ!
That was about 26 years ago, he still wears it and loves it, for sure it has survived the test of time. But one thing I never told him was who was behind it. Not because I was hiding it, but because Lee wasn’t all that well known back then and dad wouldn’t have known him. Then recently, I watched a video of my dad that he sent me and he was wearing the jacket, I thought… crikey I should tell him the story! I am really pleased that you still wear the jacket Dad, and here is the story behind it and a great recipe for fantastic spare ribs!
The key to this recipe is that the ribs are partly cooked in stock to soften and flavour them, but finished on the BBQ for that fantastic crusty and smoky finish. It’s a really easy recipe to follow and everyone will love them!
Steven ́s easy but perfect Sticky BBQ Ribs
1 full rack back pork ribs (approx.1.5kilos)
1 heaped tablespoon of chicken bouillon granules (or 2 chicken stock cubes)
Approx .1.5 litres of chicken stock
3 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
For the Sticky Glaze:
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp barbecue sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp sweet chilli sauce
To make the glaze simply mix all the ingredients well together.
Preheat oven to 160c in a fan oven
Preheat the BBQ
Pour the chicken stock into a deep saucepan enough to cover the whole rack of ribs folded to fit the pan. Add the garlic.
Bring to the boil and keep on a rapid simmer for at least one hour
They should feel tender but not be falling apart.
Cut the full rack into halves between the bones.
Now put the two halves of pork ribs onto your BBQ and colour both sides generously, turning every minute or so.
Get a nice crusty colour to them which gives them a great smoky flavour
When the ribs are brown, carefully lift off the BBQ and put them onto a roasting tray.
Coat with the sticky glaze neatly all over with a spoon and roast for 30 minutes in the preheated oven.
Serve with a salad or some new season asparagus and garlic crushed new potatoes.
Follow Steven on Instagram… saunderschef
The Little Geranium, Winner of Best International Restaurant Spain…2020