Worried your barbecuing skills aren’t up to much?
When you picture your family standing around the outdoor grill this summer are you standing there cringing and praying the sausages are cooked inside as well as out?
Then fret no longer. In recent weeks there have been a host of adverts for barbecue training courses. Yes, you read that right. A number of cookery schools and colleges have caught on to the fact that although men love to cook outdoors, some of them haven’t quite got the knack yet and rather than risk poisoning their family with undercooked meat, they are sensibly signing up for instruction.
Actually we’re under-selling the classes. Many aren’t of the basic ‘learn to roast a burger outdoors’ variety, but go on to teach different cuisines and advanced barbecuing techniques – valuable sills which leave us in no doubt that those who pass their course will definitely impress friends and family this summer.
As Buckinghamshire barbecue course leader Jo Bulmer points out when referring to her own barbecue course: “If you just want to know how to grill a steak you can go onto a website and it will tell you what to do. What you benefit from here is the skill of a chef taking you that step further.”
Jo’s husband is a former chef for Raymond Blanc at the famous Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons cookery school. He has compiled a list of tips to ensure you create the perfect barbecue. These include:
- Cooking large joints indirectly on the barbecue ie next to the flame and not directly above it
- When using a charcoal barbecue, the more coals you have the hotter the grill gets
- Spray meat with apple juice to cause steam and to keep it fresh
- Use the right tools for best results ie knifes and spoons with long enough handles. Baskets are a good way of keeping different foods separate
- Fresh herbs on a charcoal barbecue really adds to the flavour of food
If you haven’t been on a barbecue course yet but are still keen to cook something a little more adventurous than a sausage or two, how about going for this popular vegetarian option – barbecued tofu sewers?
This dish, which serves four people, takes only thirty minutes to prepare and a further to 15 minutes to cook up on the grill – which means you’ll have plenty of time left in between time for partying.
For this recipe, ingredients-wise, you will need:
- 2 x 320g packets hard tofu
- 8 bamboo skewers
- A selection of different coloured peppers
- Two courgettes cut into one inch thick chunks
- A small box of mushrooms, washed
- Red onion chunks
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- A soy marinade
To prepare take the tofu blocks and cut into 24 pieces. Then, thread the tofu onto the skewers, alternating with the vegetables for different textures, colours and taste.
Brush the skewers with a soy marinade then fry them in a pan with olive oil, having already started the barbecue going. Fry for five minutes on the grill, remembering to turn, until the tofu has taken on a nice golden brown appearance. Serve immediately.
Now, we’re off to look for a course to sign up to.