29 May 2006

Article : A Guide to Al Fresco Eating

A Guide to AlFresco Eating
from the Cordon Vert School at the Vegetarian Society

What could be nicer than walking into the garden, picking some mangetout and a couple of courgettes, dipping them in a marinade and barbecuing them on the patio? Pour yourself a drink, select a couple of dressings and dips and a hunk of fresh French bread and enjoy your meal in the evening sunlight. From plant to plate in under 10 minutes.

If you already grow your own veg, you'll appreciate the delights of eating them really fresh, and barbecuing is an enjoyable way of dealing with the inevitable gluts of high summer. Peppers, aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes and onions can simply be halved or quartered and cooked directly on the grill, while more robust vegetables such as squashes and potatoes can be wrapped in foil and baked amongst the coals. Spring onions, garlic and many herbs will find a place in marinades and dressings while lettuce, cucumber, peas and beans form key ingredients of tasty side salads.

Having a barbecue doesn't have to be an expensive or complicated undertaking either. At the simplest end of the scale, an al fresco meal for one or two could be cooked on a grid over a bucket of charcoal. At the other end of the scale you can feed the five thousand on a sophisticated gas or electric barbecue - the choice is yours

The vegetable barbecue experience is one with no drawbacks - it tastes fantastic, it doesn't annoy your neighbours with the smell of burning fat, it is cheap, fun and healthy. Take some great ingredients, take delicious recipes... take a new look at veg!

Treat your taste buds, bun the burgers and check out some of these exciting alternative barbecue recipes. Strike a blow for health, for variety and for using the freshest and best that your garden can produce.

Dust off the grill, break out that charcoal, crack a tinny and get cooking!


170g (6oz) Mangetout, topped and tailed
170g (6oz) French or runner beans, cut into 5cm (12") slices
170g (6oz) mushrooms, sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
12 cherry tomatoes, whole
6Tbsp virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
6 sprigs Rosemary
Crusty bread to servesquares heave duty foil

1. Turn up the edges of the foil to form 'nests'.
2. Share the vegetables equally between the pieces of foil. Drizzle each with olive oil and season well. Top each pile of vegetables with a sprig of rosemary.
3. Fold over the edges of the foil tightly to make a parcel and place over the coals. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, turning the parcels over occasionally.
4. Serve in the 'nests' with crusty bread for each person to soak up the juices left in the bottom.
Alternatively, use a selection of baby root vegetables (beetroot, carrots, parsnips, etc) or new potatoes, and cook in the same way.

Parboil with skins on until nearly tender Drain and season with salt and pepper. Thread onto skewers and barbecue for 7-8 minutes.

Cut winter squash into quarters or slices. Score the surface and season with oil, lemon juice, herbs or spices to taste. Grill for 2-3 minutes on the fleshy side, 7-8 minutes on the skin side.

Leave husks on and soak in cold water. The saturated husk will then not catch fire. Grill for 30 minutes turning regularly.


1 banana and four squares of chocolate for each person

1. Slice bananas lengthways along the skin, to just over half their depth.
2. Push four squares of chocolate into each banana along its length and wrap tightly in foil.
3. Place among the hot coals for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

Go to the website for many more tasty BBQ recipes.



michele said...

Now that sounds delicious.

Jackie said...

Great accompliment for a veggie or meat burger depending on your family or friends eating habits :-)