With summer finally here, it's time to dust of the barbeque and gather friends and family for a lovely get-together. For many of us however, barbeques are synonymous to greasy and unhealthy foods such as burgers and sausages. This doesn't have to be the case.
Marinated chicken is a tasty and healthy alternative to the traditional fatty barbequed meats. Why not try making your own marinade. It's easy and delicious.
Mix 2 tablespoons clear honey with 1.5 tablespoons soy sauce, the juice and zest of 1 lime and 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped). Add 4 chicken breasts, either whole or cubed and leave to marinate overnight. Whole chicken breasts can go straight on the barbeque. For the cubed chicken, place wooden skewers in water to soak, then put the chicken cubes on them. To make the skewers extra delicious, why not alternate the chicken with red or green peppers or onion slices.
For an alternative marinade, mix 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce with 2 tbsp soy sauce, some lime juice and 2 tbsp of tomato purée.
- Monkfish kebabs: Monkfish is a very meaty fish and won't fall apart on the barbeque. Skewer pieces of monkfish and alternate with ripe mango pieces. Brush with a little oil and drizzle with lemon juice before cooking on the barbeque.
- Salmon fillets: Place a salmon fillet on a large piece of aluminium foil. Squeeze half a lemon over the salmon. Slice the other half and layer over the fillet. Season and wrap the foil to make a parcel. Ideally refrigerate overnight to fuse the flavours but this can be cooked immediately. Cook on the barbeque. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fillet but will be about 10 minutes.
Tofu is a popular alternative to meat. It's easily cubed and is ideal to make kebabs. Put the tofu cubes on pre-soaked wooden skewers and alternate with your choice of cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, onion; pepper, courgette or aubergine. Tofu also combines wonderfully with fruits such as pineapple chunks or apple. Brush with a little olive oil and cook on the barbeque.
Halloumi is the perfect cheese to cook on the barbeque and ideal for vegetarians. This is a firm cheese which doesn't melt when cooked.
- Slice the halloumi in 1/4 inch thick slices and cook them straight on the grill.
- Alternatively, cube the halloumi and use them to make kebabs. Alternate the halloumi cubes with cherry tomatoes, courgette and red onion. Cook on the grill. During cooking they can be basted if desired. Baste: Mix 1 tbsp olive oil with 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp fresh thyme and 1 tsp of Dijon mustard.
- Vegetable kebabs: Skewer peppers, mushrooms, courgettes, aubergines and cherry tomatoes. Brush with olive oil or teriyaki sauce and cook on the barbeque.
- Garlic mushrooms: Spray a sheet of tin foil with cooking spray then place sliced mushrooms on top. Add a clove of garlic and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the foil into a parcel and cook on the barbeque for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Corn on the cob: Boil the corn until just tender. Then place straight on the grill until it is charred on the outside.
- Asparagus: Maybe slightly unusual to cook on the barbeque but very delicious. Just trim the bottoms, toss in a little olive oil, season with pepper and salt and cook straight on the grill.
- Aubergines: Slice aubergines into 0.5 cm slices. For the marinade, mix a little olive oil with some red wine or balsamic vinegar, a little lemon juice and some chopped herbs. Fresh herbs will work best here but it would also work with dried herbs. Marinate the aubergines for about 1 hour and cook straight on the grill until charred.
- Jacket potatoes: Wrap potatoes individually in aluminium foil and cook on the coals for about 1 hour depending on the size of the potatoes.
- Roast potatoes: Boil new potatoes until tender. Drain and toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary. Spray aluminium foil with non-stick spray and add the potatoes. Fold into a parcel and cook on the grill.
The dessert may well become the highlight of your healthy barbeque with the following ideas.
- Bananas: Wrap bananas in aluminium foil to make a parcel. You can add a little sprinkle of brown sugar or cinnamon if desired. Cook on the grill for about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Pear and blueberry parcels: Spray aluminium foil with cooking spray. Add half a pear (core removed and brushed with lemon juice) and some blueberries. Wrap into a parcel and cook for about 20 minutes on the grill.
- Pineapple: Quarter a fresh pineapple lengthwise. Remove the core from each quarter. Place the quarters skin side down on the barbeque and cook for 20 minutes. Optionally baste with a mix of 3/4 cup maple syrup, 1 tbsp cinammon and 1 tbsp brandy. Alternatively, cut slices of pineapple and cook on the grill until slightly charred.
- Peaches: For simple barbequed peaches, cut 4 peaches in half and remove the stones. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp caster sugar and cook on the grill until golden.