So we’ve had a lovely bank holiday and obviously we have a fantastic summer to look forward to. What? I can dream can’t I?! So we can’t guarantee the weather is going to be anything other than, well, not completely miserable at all times, but let’s be honest that won’t stop people firing up the barbecue and ‘cooking’ some meat so that it’s raw on the inside and burnt on the outside.
One of my favourite memories is from when I was about 11 and we went to Lincolnshire on holiday to a very small holiday park, with only 12 log cabins and no entertainment except the weekly barbecue. I can vividly remember going along to it feeling very nervous but making friends with a girl from Scotland and the two of us nibbling bits of overcooked chicken while trying to avoid the pink bits and picking burnt pieces off the jacket potatoes. I was allowed to stay up late and the two of us walked back to our holiday homes starving but giggling as my dad and her dad sang ‘Irish Eyes are Smiling’ very loudly while being shushed by their wives. The food was terrible but he memory is great!
I’ve never been a big fan of barbecues and to be honest being vegetarian at one is a right pain – unless the person in charge is veggy in which case it’s time to celebrate! The last one I went to had no veggy food at all and I ended up eating a roll while everyone around me munched on hot dogs and burgers. Now I do understand it can be hard to cater for everyone, I really do and it doesn’t actually bother me that much. But when we are at home or on holiday we have barbecues quite a lot and I love them! This is probably because my husband is in charge of the barbecue (the meat) and I do pretty much everything else, including my food. This makes me happy! There would be no point in me doing the meat it would be thoroughly overcooked and taste awful. My bit of the food, which I reluctantly share, is cooked in the oven so it doesn’t actually go near a barbecue but I’m fine with that! So if you have a vegetarian coming to a barbecue – dont panic! Here are a few tips
* Don’t cook veggy food on the same barbecue as the meat – we don’t eat it and the majority of us don’t want our food in close proximity to it.
* The same goes for knives and cooking utensils – please use separate ones!
* Veggy burgers are great, as are veggy sausages but they don’t always cook well on a barbecue. I think it’s to do with a lack of fat. They are fine in the oven.
* Here are a few of my favourite veggy barbecue recipes
Veggy kebabs: These are really easy, chunks of peppers, mushrooms, onions, Quorn sausages and whole cherry tomatoes on skewers and grilled or barbecued. You can coat them in a barbecue sauce or just cook them as they are with a little drizzle of oil.
Halloumi: I absolutely love this cheese. It is salty and chewy and just gorgeous. All I do is slice it and grill is on both sides. You can add it to the veggy kebabs too or just chop it and add it to a salad. Beautiful.
Homemade coleslaw: I know it’s easy to buy in the supermarket but this is so easy and much cheaper and you can make it as creamy as you want (or as healthy as you like) Finely chop or grate white cabbage, red onion and carrot. Mix mayonnaise and Dijon mustard together and add the vegetables. Stir and add more mayonnaise as required. Delicious!
Ridiculously simple ideas can be delicious – large beef tomatoes sliced. Sprinkle on salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Heaven!
Dips and crudités are fab all year round – try mixing soft cheese with chives or spring onions for a creamy dip or dicing tomatoes, onion and chilli for a hot spicy salsa. Add some sticks of celery, carrot and cucumber – or breadsticks and tortilla chips – and away you go.
So whatever the weather this summer don’t be scared if a vegetarian comes round for a BBQ – we’re just like you – we don’t like the burnt bits either!