Marinades and spice rubs pack your food with flavour without the gut-busting kilojoules of heavy sauces.

SOAK

RED MEAT

THE BOOZE HOUND

Best for: Big cuts of lamb or beef

2 cups heavy red wine (Cabernet or Merlot) , 3 cloves garlic, crushed, 2 tbsp chopped fresh, thyme or rosemary, 1 tsp black pepper

THE CHAMELEON

Best for: Pork, chicken or beef

1/2 cup balsamic, vinegar, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, 2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 tbsp chopped fresh, rosemary

FISH

THE CATCH OF THE DAY

Best for: Fish

1 cup olive oil Juice of 1 lemon 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme 2 cloves garlic, chopped

THE EASTERN EXPRESS

Best for: Salmon, tuna or pork

1/2 cup rice-wine vinegar 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger 2 tbsp brown sugar 

RUB

RED MEAT

THE MEXICAN SLATHER

Best for: Steak

Juice of 2 limes, 2 cloves garlic, chopped, 2 tbsp pureed, smoked jalapeno, chilli peppers, 1/2 cup chopped, coriander

THE ODYSSEY

Best for: Lamb

2 cups plain yoghurt, 1/2 cup fresh mint, 1 tsp cumin, 4 cloves garlic, chopped

FISH

THE HEART OF DARKNESS

Best for: Fish and poultry

1 tsp each cumin, paprika, cayenne, oregano, black pepper and salt (This is not a marinade, since there’s no acid, but a blackening rub is a healthy way to liven up white meat.)

FLAVOUR SAVERS

CHEF’S TIP

Florence, the author of Tyler’s Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time says “Make sure you give the marinades enough time to work: delicate fish like sole need no more than 30 minutes, but a hearty cut of beef or lamb benefits from an overnight plunge.” The best marinades consist of three parts:

ACIDS

“Acid breaks down the muscle fibres and gives you a tender, moister piece of meat,” says Florence. Expand your horizons with different vinegars: wine, sherry or apple cider. Citrus juice, wine and yoghurt also do the trick.

ROLE PLAYERS

These flavour builders add depth and character to a marinade. Olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, fresh ginger, smoked jalapeno, soy sauce and others give your meat and fish an identity.

ACCENTS

Fresh or dried herbs impart subtle notes, while assertive spices like cayenne and curry powder can shape an entire flavour profile. But beware of salt in your marinades. “Early salting creates osmosis, which pulls important moisture from your food,” says Florence