Simple sides with great flavours

Everyone loves a good barbecue… so you need at least three sensational starchy sides to go alongside.

And with some top tips on becoming a BBQ legend in my last post, you should be set for the summer season.

Except a good barbecue isn’t just about the meat.

The sides can also make-or-break your barbecue status.

Don’t fret. I’m doing a series on ‘sensational sides‘ to whip up to have alongside your barbecue (or just a group gathering at home).

So, check out my first three starchy winners, below.

Oh, and don’t forget to look up the post for Mexican Street Style corn and grilled cos lettuce – both simple and taste great!

Part 1: Three sensational starchy sides

1. Nigella’s Tuscan Fries

When it comes to sensational starchy sides, you can’t go wrong with fries!

I mean who doesn’t love fries?!

SERVES: 4 – 6
PREP TIME: 5 mins
COOKING TIME:  15 – 30 mins

  • 1 kg waxy potatoes
  • 1.5 l flavourless vegetable oil
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
  • 8 sprigs thyme, rosemary or sage
  • sea salt flakes, to taste


  1. Leaving the skin on, slice your potatoes into approx. 1 cm thickness – think chip size from a chippie
  2. Place on a clean tea towel to get the moisture and excess starch off them
  3. Put the fries into cold oil in a large saucepan
  4. Turn to a high heat and bring to a boil – approx. 5 minutes. (*Keep a careful watch on the pan at all times).
  5. Continue to cook the fries, without stirring them, for another 15 minutes.
  6. Keep the fries cooking between 150-160C. The pan will be bubbling vigorously. If the oil gets too hot, reduce the heat a little.
  7. Now, add the unpeeled garlic, gently, and cook for another 5-10 minutes (make sure the garlic doesn’t burn so watch the oil temp)
  8. At the point when the chips are pale gold, but crisp, add the herbs, then after a few minutes scoop the fries and herbs out and onto a tray/plate (with some parchment/paper towels to absorb any extra oil.
  9. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes to taste and serve

2. Stuffed sweet potato

Next up in the three sensational starchy sides… the great sweet potato.

SERVES: 4 – 6
PREP TIME: 5 mins
COOKING TIME:  10 mins
IDEAL FOR: sides


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 175 C
  2. Rub the sweet potatoes with olive oil and a good pinch of salt
  3. Put into the oven (or BBQ) in a dish with a lid and cook for 1 hr or until soft and crisp on the outside
  4. Fry the bacon in a pan until nice and crispy and set aside.
  5. Now take your potatoes and slice down the middle to open up.
  6. Sprinkle the bacon pieces over the potato, grate cheese over top and place the dish (lid back on) into the oven for approx. 5 – 10 mins or until the cheese melts.
  7. Finely chop your spring onions and chilli and sprinkle over the potatoes, then add a generous spoon of soured cream.

3. Jalapeno cornbread

SERVES: 6 – 8
PREP TIME: 15 mins
COOKING TIME:  30 mins

  • 280 g fine semolina (or polenta)
  • 85 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 150 ml milk
  • 425 ml buttermilk (or natural yogurt)
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped


  1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.
  2. Generously butter a baking tin or roasting tray (approx 25 cm x 16 cm).
  3. Mix the semolina or polenta, flour and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl and season.
  4. In a jug, combine the egg, milk, buttermilk/yogurt and jalapenos.
  5. Pour the mix from the jug into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir in lightly. *Don’t over stir, it will make the bread tough.
  6. Pour into the tin and bake in the oven for 35-40 mins until firm and golden on top.

Enjoy your barbecuing and now enjoy your new three sensational starchy sides!

And if you want more ideas.

Then check out Part II: Sensational veggies sides and Part III: Sensational sides