This summer is just going on and on, isn’t it? I love the al fresco lifestyle, but the huge heat? Not so much. If a hat was invented with a massive fan rotating lazily on top, like a helicopter, I’d be wearing it!
Which makes it a bit odd that we have embraced our new hobby so enthusiastically… barbequing! Monsieur Peskytarian hasn’t been that keen in the past. Have a listen:
Me: Oooh, I love the Summer! Let’s have a BBQ!!
M.P.: I can’t see the point meself ( grumpily)
Me: Oh, but it smells so nice and we could have salad and…
M.P.: What am I? A rabbit??
Me: Well, I thought I could grill some veggies and do some veggie burgers and
P.: Ah, there you see. You fire up the BBQ, chuck on a veggie burger and bouf! It’s cooked in a second and that’s it, you’re all done, BBQ over.
That was then. This is now’s Barbie Time:
P.: Can’t wait for our next BBQ. When shall we have one? Thinking tonight? Shall I put the coals on??
The difference is incredible and is down to two things.
We found a rickety old BBQ lying unloved and unpriced in the undergrowth (we have a massive garden that is like a jungle in places).
It was missing a wheel, was as unsteady as a new born horse. A lick of wood restorer, a judicious screw or two and it’s as good as new (ish).
We have discovered Beyond Meat products! Made from pea protein, soya free and 100% vegan, these sausages and burgers are delicious! We first heard about these when we read about them online, how they ooze beetroot ‘blood’, taste like real meat and, to be honest, we were faintly repelled at the thought of all that realism. We first saw them in Finland, where the food is quite cutting edge. And then M.P. spotted you could order a box of sausages online in France! There was big excitement in our house the day the sausages arrived. We huddled round the stove, marvelled at the amber oil that oozed out (they are quite greezy), snuffed the ‘meaty’ smell and ate them with a reverent expression on our faces.
Then, one day, M. P. spotted that you can now buy Beyond Meat products in Casino supermarkets! We’ll, that’s it! We are officially ‘sorted’.
Our obsession with BBQs and Barbie Time is running rampant, despite the soaring temperatures.
We start with cocktails. Currently we like Royal Tea. This is simples to make:
Chill a pot of Earl Grey tea. Add a couple of spoonfuls of sugar, a squeeze or two of lemon, some good slugs of gin and serve over ice with a sprig of mint.
Then we grill/ char/ blacken corn cobs and serve with icy butter and salt and pepper and a sprinkle of Old Bay (buy from Amazon, it’s so versatile).
Then, new discovery, we unwrap a camembert, stud it with garlic, put it into a small foil tray and place on the bbq and prod occasionally, so you look like you are doing something. Only when the cheese has completely lost its shape and looks ruined do you remove it and devour with hunks of the rest of the bread you bought that morning from the boulangerie. Dollops of homemade chilli jelly can be applied at regular intervals too.
This is blissfully easy to make:
Chuck in chopped up fresh chillis ( to taste), 2 punnets of cherry tomatoes, a diced red pepper, 1 kg of jam sugar, 600 ml of wine vinegar. Bring to a violent boil, then allow to gently boil for 10 minutes. Switch off and decant into presterilised jars after 40 minutes. This is the important thing to note though…DO NOT stir your sugar/ vinegar/ chilli mixture at all!!! Seriously, not even a teensy stir. It’s like magic. Follow these instructions and you will create the most delicious, set jelly ever!
You might want to move onto red wine now, to complement the ‘meat’ course.
Make sure you have all your condiments ready: thinly sliced onions, cucumber slices, gherkins, lettuce, then chuck on the burgers and sausages. I meant to say that you keep them in the freezer and simply take out what you need a few hours before, so you cook them defrosted.
I just need a minute to rhapsodise here… the smell of the burgers and sausages cooking is to die for (only, nothing had to die). The charcoally, savoury, rich, mouth watering smell lights up the evening sky as if it was a gateway to the best restaurant in the world! We get why people love the smell of roast meat, we really do!
It’s important to only eat brioche rolls too, with your BBQ ‘meat’. They just work extremely well.
After all this feasting, you will have room for nothing, and will simply sit in silence, awed at the mastery of the team at Beyond Meat. Their products are really that good!
The best thing about our new hobby is that we can keep going all year. We could have a Halloween themed BBQ with zombie cocktails and grilled pumpkin. We could even have a Christmas Day BBQ and drink snowballs and grill parsnips and sweet potatoes. I think my family might draw the line at barbequed brussel sprouts though.
Meanwhile, I am sitting in the shade, hiding from the sun, planning our next Barbie Time!