For most of us, cooking and eating outdoors is what summer is all about. It’s the perfect excuse to showcase foods packed with colour and flavour and re-ignite our love affair with the barbecue. So this summer, make it fun and try new things while making it healthier too …
- Make veggies the star of the show
Meat doesn’t always have to be the centre-piece on the barbecue; vegetables such as peppers/capsicums, onions, mushrooms, asparagus and courgettes/zucchini are all great when grilled/broiled slowly. Marinate them in a little olive oil, cracked pepper and fresh herbs like rosemary for extra flavour. Using a grill pan and cover will help cook the vegetables slowly and retain their moisture and flavour. Grilled/broiled vegetables are delicious served over a couscous and rocket salad.
Grilled/broiled fruit can also be great for a barbecue – grilled/broiled peaches add a fantastic burst of colour in a salad.
- Get your 5-a-day, without thinking about it
There are lots of really simple ways of getting your five portions of fruit and vegetables a day with outdoor eating.
For a healthier dip, try whizzing up some roasted peppers/capsicums with fat-free Greek yoghurt, a squeeze of lemon juice and some black pepper. Serve with cucumber, carrot, celery sticks and slices of radish!
- Keep that water flowing
In hot weather, it’s really important not to get dehydrated. Making flavoured water is so easy. Try adding some slices of lemon, lime and mint leaves to jazz it up and give it a flavour boost. Or simply add some refreshing cucumber slices.
- Turn down the heat
Whether you’re cooking over gas or charcoal, make sure that meat and fish is cooked all the way through before you eat it. If using charcoal, wait for the flames to die down before you start cooking. Flames will singe food, causing it to burn at the edges before it’s cooked through. If using gas, light the burners and turn them up to full power. If there’s a hood, close it – this will help the barbecue heat up more quickly. Turn the heat down a little and cook the meat until it has browned evenly on all sides, then lower the heat even more and close the hood to help the food cook through.
Also, remember that ready-made marinades often contain a lot of sugar which caramelises and will quickly cause food to burn at the edges, so you’ll need to keep an eye on it on the grill if using them, but better still make your own low-sugar ones.
- Re-think desserts
Healthier outdoor eating is not about compromising, far from it. It is about enjoying healthier colourful and tasty foods. Try Streamline Iced Blackcurrant Mousse – your guests won’t feel hard done-by, we promise!
So fire up that barbecue, deck the decks, put up some summer bunting and twinkling lights and make your next barbecue the best yet!
Feature courtesy of Streamline Foods