Monthly Archives: May 2019

  • The essential ingredients for a perfect BBQ

    The essential ingredients for a perfect BBQ

    The UK celebrates National BBQ Week on 27 May - 2 June, and we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that we get some fabulous barbecue weather to mark it in fitting style.

    Group of friends making barbecue in the backyard. concept about good and positive emotions. Enjoying forest party with friends. Summer, party, adventure, youth, frienship concept

    Brits love nothing more than to get the grill on when the sun comes out - but what makes a brilliant BBQ?

    We’ve brought together all the best tips from the nation’s top chefs and BBQ experts, to help you create a sizzling occasion for your family and friends to enjoy.

    Preps make all the difference

    A great BBQ doesn’t just happen by accident - it needs the right preparation and tools.

    To achieve all those authentic smoky flavours, a charcoal barbecue beats a gas one hands down. Better still, a barbecue with a lid helps to lock in the flavours and ensure an even temperature. When it comes to fuel, lump wood charcoal creates a natural taste, which is why so many chefs choose it.

    The other essential tools are a sturdy oven glove, a pair of tongs and a fish slice. Have separate tools for cooked and uncooked food, and for your meat/fish and veg, if you have vegetarian or vegan guests.

    We know you can’t wait to tuck in to all that lovely grub, but on this occasion, patience is a virtue. After lighting the coals, wait for the flames to die down and for the coals to turn grey before putting the food on the grill - usually 30 minutes or so.

    Not all the food will need a high heat, so place the coals on one half of the barbecue to allow some items to be cooked on the other half with no direct heat.

    Get the balance right

    A perfect BBQ will offer a nice mix of meat, fish, cooked veggies, salads, sides and some tasty marinades and sauces. Prep your salads and sides before you get the BBQ on so they’re good to go. Burgers, sausages and chicken drumsticks should keep the meat-eaters happy, while salmon, prawns and whole fish are great on the grill. Take the meat and fish out of the fridge about 20 minutes before cooking to avoid burning them on the outside.

    Vegetables are amazing griddled thinly or as chunks on a kebab, while you can’t go too far wrong with veggie burgers and halloumi. And don’t forget the buns - putting them briefly on the BBQ, cut-side down, adds extra flavour. Or warm some flatbreads on the grill. Just make sure you don’t over-cook any of this lovely food.

    Don’t bite off more than you can chew!

    And finally - don’t spend so long at the grill that you forget to socialise with your guests. The key is to not over-stretch yourself and to not cook too much. Yes, offer a choice of fabulous food, but having a nice time with family and friends at your BBQ is the most important ingredient of all!

  • Keeping the ancient traditions of May Day alive!

    may day
    May the 1st … the day when for centuries, communities have enacted rituals to mark the arrival of warmer weather and fresh growth in the fields.

    In the UK, a lot of the old May Day traditions are pagan in origin and are linked to fertility – traditions such as dancing around the maypole, the crowning of a May Queen, and Morris dancing.

    While many of the customs are shared nationally, there are also some famous and, some might say, eccentric events, that are more localised in origin. Here are six of the best.

    Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh:

    On the last night of April and into the early hours of 1 May, thousands of people mark Beltane (Gaelic May Day) by heading to Calton Hill for a theatrical celebration involving fire displays, drumming and a pagan performance.

    Glastonbury Tor, Somerset:

    Pagans and druids gather at dawn to welcome in Beltane and the return of warmth and light. They re-enact several May Day customs and a procession carries a maypole – a young tree – to Bushy Combe, below the Tor, for maypole dances to take place.

    Padstow ‘Obby ‘Oss, Cornwall:

    Padstow is turned into a riot of flowers and greenery for the day, as thousands converge to see the two “osses” dance around the streets, followed by their supporters. Various locals take it in turns to don the costumes of Old ‘Obby ‘Oss and Blue Ribbon ‘Obby ‘Oss.

    May Morning, Oxford:

    Huge crowds get up bright and early to hear Magdalen College choir sing from the top of the college tower at 6am. The bells then ring out for 20 minutes, signalling the start of Morris dancing and a procession through the city.

    Clun Green Man Festival, Shropshire

    The action takes place on Clun Bridge, where the Green Man defeats the Frost Queen to ensure there will be summer in the valley. To celebrate his victory, the Green Man then leads a colourful parade to the grounds of Clun Castle.

    Flora Day, Helston, Cornwall:

    Locals festoon the town with floral displays for the ancient Flora Day festival. Four dances take place in the streets, the first starting at 7am. The most famous is the midday dance – The Furry Dance, where participants are chosen by invitation only. Another ancient feature of the day is the Hal-an-Tow Mummers play.

    Let’s hope all those May Day rituals do the trick and we get a summer to remember!

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