Friday, May 12, 2006

Al fresco

I love cooking and eating outside. Now, I know that to many of you lurkers and commenters from the US, and certainly those from Oz, BBQing in summer is a way of life, not an occasional party. Slap a steak (or some shirmp) on the BBQ and dinner is served.

In the UK, it's a different matter. A BBQ is a sort of astounded, hurried celebration of unexpected sunshine. Or a sort of rain dance. It usually involves family and friends and neighbours, and the eternal promise of everyone piling into the house when it starts to rain half way through.

The food? Well, underdone chicken with burnt skin is traditional, and you have to have scorched burgers AND charred sausages. Maybe ribs. Sometimes steak, but more likely something made from the sweepings of butchers' floors shaped into the SHAPE of a steak. Other cheap cuts of meat soaked in some toxic waste designed to enhance flavour and create a nice, healthy, neon colour are often included. Seeded burger buns (white - because it would be a terrible thing if some fibre were to work its way into this veritable meat feast), limp lettuce, an ocean of ketchup and usually some gummed and processed version of coleslaw swimming in a milky liquid mendaciously called mayonaise.*

For someone who is aspiring to maximum healthy intake of red meat being once a week (I said aspiring, not achieving) and who strives for her 5 A Day, (again, note the strive) the BBQ as interpreted by many Brits is viewed with something approaching horror.

BUT. I love cooking over charcoal. I love parties.

So, here and now, I make two exceptions:-

ONE. A proper party. I have one coming up that I'm really looking forward to!

TWO. USING the BBQ, as opposed to HAVING a BBQ like the one outlined above.

And when I am USING the BBQ (lumpwood charcoal from managed Cumbrian woodlands, mark you *waves finger*) two of my favourite things to cook are fillet steak marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic (with a little bit of dark brown sugar) and fillets of salmon basted with hoi sin sauce.

What are your favourite BBQ specials? And side dishes? No blackened raw chicken, if you please!

* I would like to say that in spite of all my food views, I do, occasionally, enjoy a traditional British BBQ as much as the next woman. ;-)


At 9:08 pm, Blogger Loreth Anne White said...

OMG, you've made me hungry. I'm going to try that marinade this weekend. TY :). One of my favorites is lamb (yes, I am rather 'afeared' of Mad Cow) -- a butterflied leg of lamb, with the fat side on the grill over the flames ...cook nice and slow with lots of crushed fresh garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and plenty of dried oreganum -- plus some pepper and salt. Serve with homemade organic tsatsiki and rice ... or greek-style pototoes ... or warm pita bread with tomato salad (yep, preferably from someone's garden :))

Melt-in-the-mouth delicious.

LOL at the UK BBQ scene. We live in a rainforest climate, so keep the BBQ under some form of cover. I've been known to BBQ in minus 20 C, while trying to step around snowdrifts. I love the charcoal flavor THAT much.

Enjoy your partay.

At 11:17 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I am going to say - is bananas + chocolate buttons = BBQ ecstacy.

And August bank holiday weekend is reserved for you sweetie


At 1:40 am, Anonymous Anna Adams said...

Yesterday, you made me want to move in, and tonight you're talking about feeding the multitudes! :-)

I don't actually care for meat very much--but I love a blackened hot dog (that would also be butcher's leavings, the worst possible meat--product). And for a side, my aunt's amazing cole slaw. That stuff is a little bit of heaven. I keep trying to be home with enough free time for a lesson, but she swears she doesn't do anything special to it. She must have the magic hands.

Have fun at the party!

At 12:40 pm, Blogger Anna Lucia said...

Ah, I've seen that recipe somewhere, Loreth, but never yet found a good place to buy a butterflied leg of lamb... must keep trying, because Husband would weep at my feet in gratitude for that one... ;-)

YAY Bear! I've tried strawberries and banana in rum, in foil parcels... delicious!

Now a proper cole-slaw I can really enjoy... I put apple and pumpkinseeds in mine. Mmmmm.

At 12:45 pm, Blogger Sadhbh said...

Anna - I have a couple of great WeightWatchers recipes for kebabs, one for chicken in a tandoori marinade with mint leaves, another for duck and king prawn with apricots and prunes, there again it's the marinade that's gorgeous (tabasco and honey in it)
Haven't started on the BBQ yet this year, but those will undoubtedly be on the menu if I can unearth the recipes.

The word verification is
what is being proved here? ;-)


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