It’s Barbeque Season and I love it. We have a guest blogger today and he has some great tips for you to read.
Planning a Barbeque – Don’t Panic
Well, spring seems to have sprung rather promisingly this year, though the British weather is notoriously grumpy and likes to play tricks on us. Hopefully, however, the summer will live up to the promise of April, and continue in a similar manner. The British seem to have evolved some strange habits when it comes to outdoor cooking and eating. To some extent it’s probably because it’s not in our nature to cook outdoors. Unlike our European cousins, for us, al-fresco often means al-wetto and al-coldo. Barbeque cookery and campsite cookery have evolved into a burnt meat-fest and a quick dash for cover. The main problem is that thanks to the uncertain nature of our climate we have to really think on our feet when it comes to planning a summer get together. Often we end up eating on our feet and having to run with our dinner during the event!
Al-fresco or Al-wetto?
But there is something that appeals to us about outdoor cooking and leisurely meals in the evening sun. I remember being incredibly jealous of my cousin’s in-laws in Provence, who had an outdoor kitchen and actually got to use it most of the year. I also have happy memories of spending a month in Spain and cooking in the garden. I mean real cooking, not just cremating dinner. At the time it didn’t occur to me that I was supposed to be on holiday yet still I was cooking! The sun must have got to me.
For us Brits though, outdoor cooking and summer barbeques tend to require a certain amount of planning and then sudden and swift action. Keeping a weather eye out helps, while being prepared to move at short notice out into the garden, along with grill, party gear, trestle tables and a mass of fresh food and groceries with military precision, is also a necessary skill. The hardware stores of the land have thankfully provided us with a range of functional kit that allows you to do this, they, like us have evolved an understanding that anything that is going to be used in the garden needs to be robust and have wheels! There is also a range of affordable garden sized marquees and the like, that can be deployed to keep guests and food dry and relatively warm, should the need arise.
Keep calm and Carry on
One additional tip may be useful for those planning some outdoor entertainment this summer. Barbeques can be planned well in advance, but that is the certain way to ensure it will be wet and cold. Last minute barbeques and summer evening parties often prove to be the most successful. These can entail quite a lot of last minute rushing around and preparation. While men like to stand Lording it over the barbeque grill itself, managing to burn stuff despite the fact they can’t leave it alone, they rarely enjoy the sudden dash to the shop that a last minute barbeque can entail. If the weekend weather is looking promising and you’ve decided to get a few friends round, consider shopping online for some of your fresh groceries. Apart from the traditional slabs of meat and sausages, a good spread is going to need some fresh veggies, salads and chutneys and pickles. The advantage to buying this online, when planning a summer party, is that it can be delivered on the day, ensuring freshness, and as most of it will get gobbled up, so you don’t need to worry too much about it getting wasted.
Last minute planning and ordering
Online shopping may seem like an expensive option for fresh food delivery, but there are some well kept secrets to getting a good deal. While the supermarkets will have a delivery charge if you are ordering under a certain amount, there are some smaller businesses that can offer competitive deals. Even your local milkman might have jumped on the, well, milk-float when it comes to fresh food delivery. Many dairies now stock several hundred products that can be delivered bright and fresh to your door, on the day that you need them. These products include all manner of daily necessities and they have a great range of fresh food options. The advantage to this service is twofold: firstly, they don’t have delivery charges if you are on an established milk round, and secondly you can order late on in the evening – usually up to 9pm – and still get a next day delivery.
When it comes to our sudden summer picnics and barbeques, we have to take advantage of what the weather has to offer and we can also take advantage of what our milkmen and women have to offer, to make that last minute planning a lot less stressful! Our European cousins may have the weather, but we certainly have the staff!