Hipster BBQ Guide

Well, the barbecue season is *technically* here, British weather permitting as usual. If you’re tired of seeing the same old things at a barbecues, here’s my guide to shaking it up a little.

Meat matters

I won’t go into the meat too much, suffice to say this should be locally sourced, from a farmshop, farmers market or quality butchers. You can eat supermarket meat on any other day of the week, get the organic, tender, aged, best you can buy for a BBQ. Plus, it’s better for our farmers and animals.

Plant-based popularity 228798011_0_640x640

Increasingly people are opting for more plant-based diets these days, veggie and veganism is more in fashion than ever, so make sure you’ve got this covered. I recommend these Aromatic Moroccan Veg Cakes from Great Foods (you can get them on Ocado, naturally). These are delicious and may event tempt a few meat eaters too.

Shrimp on the barbie

Don’t forget about the pescatarians too, this is a very popular way of life (I pretty much live it). As a child we would use freshly caught scallops to make our own family version of coquille st jacque on the barbecue – but to be honest a nice bit of salmon, king prawns or fish kebabs will do just as well.

Bye baps, hello brioche 

Yes, even bread has had an update. It’s out with the baps and in with the brioche buns with their beautiful golden shine. They’re the perfect accompaniment to a hearty burger and should be top of your shopping list.

Gin is inbrockmans-gin

Unless you’ve been living on the moon recently, you’ll know that gin is in. The quirkier and more unusual sounding your gin, the better! If you can get a locally distilled gin (like Hampshire’s very own Twisted Nose), that’s ideal. Another recommendation from me is Brockmans Gin, just make sure you’ve got the grapefruit peel, or at least the blueberries to go with it. If all else fails, Sipsmith is a great choice and it’s available in supermarkets. The mixer matters too, step away from the Schweppes and pick up the Fever-Tree Tonic, it’s the best!

Anyone for tea?hb

For something a little lighter but still alcoholic check out Harry Brompton’s Alcoholic Ice Tea for some sweet refreshment. It’s delicious and free from artificial flavours, colours and preservatives. You’ll be supporting a lovely British brand too, so cheers to that.

British bubbles

If it’s a celebratory barbecue occasion, cast aside the Prosecco and opt for an English sparkling wine – there are some truly fantastic ones out there. If you don’t have time to get to a local wine shop (like Winchester’s fabulous Wine Utopia), supermarkets like Waitrose have a few English wines these days, like the lovely Nyetimber.

Super saladssalad

Last but not least, the salad, often overlooked, people tend to think of it as that person at a party no-one really likes but you have to invite anyway. Personally, I don’t feel this way and put a great deal of effort into my salad making. I recommend adding cous cous or quinoa into the mix for a bit of texture and flavour. Use plenty of fresh herbs too, a little chopped coriander, mint and chives (my salad favourites) make a world of difference to how a salad tastes. I like to add a little feta cheese or mozzarella as well. Keep your salads bright with plenty of vegetables and textures and they’re sure to be more popular. I say that it’s high time salad stopped being a wallflower and took centre stage, so let’s make it happen!

Happy BBQ-ing everyone, fingers crossed for a glimpse of sun again!

xXx

P.S. Don’t forget your mason jars to drink out of.

 

 

 

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Prawn, Salmon & Mushroom Lasagne

Here’s a yummy pescetarian recipe I mish mashed together in the kitchen this evening and it turned out to be quite delightful…

Prawn, Salmon & Mushroom Lasagne ingredients (not that many!)…

– Cooked & peeled prawns (you could cook up raw ones or use frozen)

– Mushrooms (obviously!)

– Creme Fraiche

– Garlic salt

– Dill (dried is fine)

– Smoked salmon pate (you could use actual Smoked Salmon – this was all I had!)

– Marscapone cheese

– Splash of white wine

– Parmesan cheese

– Pre-made lasagne sheets

You can probably guess what to do just from looking at the list above, but here’s how I cobbled them together…

Firstly I fried the mushrooms in a little butter, white wine, dill and garlic salt, then mixed in the Creme Fraiche to make a creamy consistency and added the prawns at the last minute. Then I layered the mixture  in a baking tray with the lasagne sheets, adding smoked salmon and marscapone cheese to the other layers and topping off with Parmesan cheese. Popped it in the oven until the cheese was golden brown (about 25 mins) and then Tom and I promptly demolished it!

Pescatarian Week One

Well, so far so good…mostly anyway. I haven’t caved and eaten any meat other than fish, but there’s been a few times where I almost slipped up. Nearly ordered a croque monsier in a cafe yesterday!

Easy to forget they contain ham...

Fortunately there’s been some fabulous fish dishes this week to keep me on track (none of which were made by my own hands I’m ashamed to say). Save for one attempt at Oeufs en Cocotte (of course I’ve been watching Little Paris Kitchen!), this week flew by with two meals out and cous cous or soup providing the rest of my meal time sustenance.

Great meal at The White Horse in Otterbourne this week

Wednesday evening saw me dining at the newly refurbished White Horse in Otterbourne, my second visit since it’s recent change of hands. It did not disappoint – the choice of fishy dishes made pescatarianism a delight. I was tempted by a crab and chilli risotto, but in the end settled on a fish cake to start which was absolutely beautiful and well complemented by parsnip flavours. I followed this with a really good hake chowder and perfect poached egg on top – all in all absolutely delightful!

Must remember to take the photos before I start demolishing the food...

I was lucky enough to be taken out to dinner again this weekend to my favourite local haunt the Bugle Inn Twyford, where I enjoyed a lovely dressed crab with a new potato and pea salad, accompanied by crusty bread – a classic that you just can’t beat in my book!

Lovely bit of crab

So it’s been a busy but food-filled week…today’s guilty indulgence was a vat of salted popcorn (my favourite!) at the cinema with a good friend, perfect way to finish the week.

That’s all for now – I promise each week won’t be solely focused on pescatarian diet updates!

Meat free for a month

Okay, so it’s been a while since the last FoodTeaLife update but I do have a good excuse…a holiday in the French Alps skiing and enjoying lots of molten cheese! More on that to come.

Cheese party

My latest foodie update comes following a long chat with my good friend Miss Penn (of super awesome blog PopCulturePlaypen). We’re making  April Pescetarian month!

Fish!

That’s right no meat, just fish! I’m a big fish and seafood lover anyway so I’m thinking it should be easy, but will I crack and crave a bacon sandwich or one of the Bugle Inn’s amazing buffalo burgers?! Oh god I’m starting to think I haven’t exactly thought this through…if only it wasn’t for the the Bugle on my doorstep! Luckily their fish dishes are lovely too.

There are all sorts of health benefits associated with eating less meat and more fish so we’ll see how pescetarian month goes…might even post a few fish recipes!