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Village Food & Drink

The taste of summer

Posted on May 15 2009 at 2:40:02 0 comments

You might have lost touch with the pleasures of cooking and eating outdoors after the last couple of summers – but if the forecasters can be believed, then this is the summer to rekindle your relationship with your barbecue.

Somehow, a meal eaten in the garden is always a much more relaxed affair than preparing food in the house. This could be due to the fact that it is usually the man of the house who thinks he is the only person capable of operating the barbecue and will take on the cooking responsibility. Ladies, if you have any sense, allow him to take over completely; prepare a simple salad, open a bottle of wine and wait to be served!

Over the last few years, there has been a big increase in the number of people choosing a gas barbecue and certainly, for speed and convenience, they are an excellent choice.

However, the traditional charcoal barbecue is still popular and the fact that you have to wait a little longer before cooking after lighting the coals only adds to the feeling of relaxing and enjoying the occasion. There are many products that will cut the time between lighting and being ready to cook – instant lighting barbecue briquettes and lighting gels will make things quicker and easier.

Cooking will be all the easier if you have a few good barbecue tools as well. The main advantage of specialist barbecue tools is their longer, heat-proof handles, which means less burnt fingers and a few less swear words from the chef!

There are some excellent gadgets for cooking chops, burgers and sausages currently on the market. They allow you to cook and turn several items at once and stop them from slipping between the grill bars.

The majority of barbecues are only one-course meals, but don’t limit your choice of food to the traditional sausages, burgers and chicken legs. Wrap salmon or mushrooms in foil, add a dash of flavoured oils, some herbs, seasoning and garlic and place on the grill to cook – a delicious meal prepared in minutes.

Lamb or pork steaks marinated in herbs and oil and eaten with fresh salad (which will taste even better if you have grown it yourself!) and flavoured bread makes the simplest of meals that can’t fail to impress friends and neighbours.

Don’t forget that dessert can also be prepared on the barbecue. How about bananas wrapped in foil with demerara sugar and orange juice, or a peach with sugar and brandy, served with ice cream or creme fraiche – what could be more delicious?

So let this summer be the time that you get back out into the garden, not just to work but to enjoy the outdoors with friends and neighbours. Add a touch of sparkle with garden flares or lighting, and forget eating out – start eating outside.

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