Hot 'n' Healthy Barbeque
There's something special about eating outdoors, we've become a nation who love to do it - cafes, restaurants and bars are spilling out onto every available street space.
Add the sights, sounds and smells of freshly cooked food, friends and family and you have an irresistable mix. No wonder we drag the grill out at the first ray of sunshine
The good news is BBQ food can be healthy and relatively low in calories as well as finger-licking good. Grilling is a geat way to cook meat without additional fat and some of the fat in the meat will sizzle away. Forget the fatty sausages - do something different.
Here's some simple but sumptuous ideas to get you going.
Kebabs bring colour and interest to your BBQ. They are simple to make with lean meat, chicken breast, prawns or tofu skewered together with some fresh summer veg and/or fruit.
The beauty of kebabs is that your imagination is your limit - most vegetables, meats and firmer fish will work well - and it's fun to get creative with seasonings, marinades, brush-on sauces and dips.
Try cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, peppers, courgettes, asparagus, aubergines, pineapple chunks, apple slices... whatever takes your fancy!
Simply put your chosen combination onto skewers, brush with a little marinade or secret sauce and grill over the BBQ until the meat is cooked and tender and the vegetables are roasted and charred around the edges.
Note: If using wooden skewers don't forget to pre-soak them for 30 minutes to avoid the ends burning whilst cooking!
Members Kebab Ideas
"Try vegetable kebabs, peppers, mushrooms, courgette, aubergine, any of your favourite vegetables, skewer them, wipe with teriyaki sauce or something else you like, and stick them on the BBQ until ready." MELLY
"4 chicken breasts, 2 tablespoons clear honey, 1.5 tablespoons soy sauce, juice & zest of one lime, 2 cloves of garlic. Mix up all marinade ingredients, stir in chicken, leave overnight then BBQ! Can either leave chicken whole or chop into chunks and cook on skewers. Enjoy!" BETHCURRIE
"I did monkfish kebabs. Monkfish is very meaty so doesn't flake and fall apart on the barbeque like other fish. It was very simple: monkfish cubes interspersed with chunks of ripe mango, with a little oil drizzled over plus the juice of one lime. Delicious!" TAKESHAPE
Salmon is brilliant for the BBQ, it looks good, tastes great and you can feel good about eating it.
Place a whole fillet onto a sheet of foil large enough to make a parcel. Slice half a lemon and layer over the top of the salmon, squeeze the other half over the fish, season and wrap the foil to make a make a generous parcel and refrigerate overnight (to allow the flavours to fuse).
Cook on the barbeque for about 10 minutes - depending on thickness of fillet.
This is delicious served with natural, low fat yoghurt, salad and crusty bread.
Low-Fat Garlic Mushrooms
Take a large square of tin foil, spray with a light cooking spray, add some sliced mushrooms, a clove of crushed garlic, freshly milled salt and pepper and wrap up in a parcel. Cook the the parcel on the BBQ for about 15-20 minutes. Serve with French bread lightly toasted on the BBQ.
Sweetcorn cooked on the BBQ is delicious and acquires a taste unobtainable with any other form of cooking. Pre-boil it until just tender, to keep it juicy and speed up cooking time on the "Barbie". Then, place it directly on the grill and turn until charred on the outside. Resist the temptation for lashings of butter - you won't need it!
The adventurous amongst you can try the traditional Mexican option which involves rubbing the hot, cooked corn in chilli powder. Warning: HOT!
Asparagus is said to be a delicacy and barbequed asparagus is no exception! Simply take a bunch, trim the bottoms, toss in a tbsp of olive oil and season with freshly milled salt and pepper. Pop on the grill for 2-3 minutes or until to desired tenderness - this one will wow your guests!
"I've never been a big fan of aubergine but I recently had this at a BBQ and they were fantastic. Slice an aubergine length ways into just under 1/2 cm slices. Marinate them for about an hour in a small amount of olive oil (1 tsp), some nice vinegar (eg. red wine, balsamic), lemon juice and some chopped herbs. Place them on the BBQ and cook well. I like them quite charred as they go lovely and crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle. If you're having an okay calorie day top with a small amount of crumbled feta cheese." LHAINES
Jacket potatoes are one of the easiest things to cook on the BBQ. Simply wrap them in tin foil and place directly on the coals under the shelf and leave them for approx an hour, depending on size, whilst you cook the rest. Don't worry if you have to wait for the rest - the potatoes will only improve with time!
"I do something nice (and terribly traditional) with potatoes - boil new potatoes until just tender, then drain, toss with a tiny touch of olive oil (1tbsp for four portions), garlic, salt and pepper (rosemary if available) - then the lot go a piece of heavy-duty foil that's been sprayed with "pan-coating" - fold the top tightly, then the sides up and on the grill - turn it every once in a while and you get nice roasties!" CKENGLISH
On the Side
One of the best things about a barbeque is the variety of foods on offer - so don't limit this simply to what you cook on the grill. A bit of pre-planning will ensure a healthy choice of accompaniments, steer clear of supermarket coleslaw and potato salad (these are laced with fat) - but if you must, check out our low fat coleslaw and low fat potato salad taste tests and see which are best for calories, fat and taste.
Try a fresh mixed salad with a reduced fat/calorie dressing, some freshly boiled rice (toss in some pineapple, mushrooms... use that imagination!) and some fresh bread - there's some delightful wholemeal and granary varieties available.
"For a side salad try cous cous with roasted veg, garlic & herbs - can be cooked in advance and kept for a day or two" BETHCURRIE
Make up a bowl of fresh fruit salad and serve with low fat yoghurt. Alternatively whilst the charcoal is dying down, pop some bananas (in their skins) wrapped in tin foil on the shelf and leave for about 10 minutes. When you unwrap them you'll have a delicious gooey banana dessert!
"Peaches and nectarines sliced are very good too - serve with some fat free yoghurt" HAZELHARRIS
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