We’ve been having fun cooking on the barbeque. We fire up the grill at every opportunity. I have to say that even though the flavour of food cooked over charcoal or wood is far more delicious, the gas barbie is mighty tempting, particularly when you want to snatch a moment between the showers.
It’s not the same magic of course as cooking over fire but one needs time and a deal of advance planning. This group of 12 Week students built a ring of fire on the gravel in the courtyard with some large rocks. They’ve had some super fun sitting around the camp fire cooking up big pots of stews or just grilling. It’s all the more exciting because they collect their own timber (they walk around the farm with a wheelbarrow to stock up with lots of wood and twigs that have fallen from the trees). They couldn’t raid the wood shed so they’re having a bit of gas practicing sustainability. Double bonus, clearing up and free timber.
There’s something about cooking over fire that seems to connect with our inner hunter-gatherer and it particularly appeals to men, even wily chaps who can’t boil an egg for themselves fancy their chances on the barbeque, the aroma of the good food sizzling on the grill certainly fuels the appetite. Steaks and chops, sausages and chicken breasts are still the favourites but don’t forget vegetables and of course fish. We’ve been catching some fresh mackerel and pollock in Ballycotton and cooking those on the barbeque — wow, how delicious.
Sauces are super important for a barbeque. Some béarnaise or a punchy mustard aioli add magic to a simple steak. Romanesco sauce is addictive with grilled chicken thighs and of course a good barbeque sauce is always a favourite.
We also love our new season onions split in half, tossed in a little extra virgin olive oil with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and grilled. They char deliciously on the outside and become melting tender and sweet. A little zucchini either whole or thickly sliced are also great, sprinkle them with chopped marjoram. Young beets can be wrapped and roasted and buried in the coals or just grilled.
But best fun of all is barbequed pizza, you’ll need a Weber type barbeque with a lid to cook them properly but it’s a really easy way to feed lots of people deliciously in a short time. An accompanying salad and a glass of something delicious is all that’s needed.