As we head towards The National Barbeque Festival, otherwise known as Australia Day, it’s time to think about what we are going to serve to our family and friends.
Sure, there are chops, snags and prawns, but let’s cast the net a bit wider and consider what else we can throw on the barbie.
Technically there is nothing you can’t barbeque. There are even recipes on barbequing ice cream but let’s stick to the healthy, delicious stuff.
Do you want avocado with that?
Yep, we are adding avocados to salads, smoothies, atop toast, even piling it on our faces so it seems obvious to add it to the barbeque.
Simply cut the avocado in half and carefully remove the seed. Brush flesh with coconut oil, then place the cut side down on the grill and cook for 5 minutes.
Scoop flesh out and eat straight up or top with chopped tomato, mixed with coriander and lime juice, salt and pepper, a generous scoop of sour cream and some corn chips for a nacho-style snack.
License to veg out
Many veggies taste even better after a few minutes on the grill. Corncobs are fantastic. Soak corn in their husks in water for a few minutes, and then toss them on the barbeque for 5-10 minutes. The water captured in the husks will help the corn steam to a glorious, succulent, juicy, healthy extravaganza.
Grab a mandolin (that’s the kitchen utensil not the musical instrument) and evenly slice zucchini, pumpkin, carrots, potatoes and parsnip into long or round pieces. Toss them into olive oil, salt and pepper and some crushed garlic and then grill for 5-7 minutes depending on their thickness and texture you prefer.
Do you tofu?
Stay with me, people. This is a fantastic ingredient because it absorbs whatever flavours you put with it.
Either leave the piece of firm tofu in one slab or cut it into thick strips. Marinate the tofu in your favourite sauce – perhaps either a mushroom or oyster sauce or tamari and mirin with minced ginger and garlic – for an hour or so, then barbeque.
Just dough it
Bread is lovely fresh but it’s even better grilled on the barbeque – and it’s a great way to use up yesterday’s loaves.
Simply cut into 1-2 cm thick slices. Brush lightly with olive oil then rub both sides with a clove of garlic and grill until nice chargrill marks appear or toast is golden brown. Serve with garlic butter.
A triangular slice of saganaki cheese topped with salt and pepper and chili and grilled for a few minutes is quite literally mouth watering.
This is best cooked on the hot plate not the grill otherwise the barbeque will get more cheese than you.
Drizzle some lemon or lime juice over the top then close your eyes and enjoy every morsel.
The Wiggles sang about it, now you can barbeque it. This is a great way to end a meal. I reckon peaches, mangos, pineapple and bananas are the best fruits to barbeque but experiment and make your own rules.
Peaches can be cut in half (with the pip removed), and then brushed with butter. Grill until they are soft and charred, approximately 5 minutes, then serve with a dollop of ice cream or yogurt and a dash of grand mariner.
If you loved fried pineapple rings from the local fish and chippy, you will love this healthier version. Chop the pineapple into 1-2 cm rings, brush with a thick Aussie honey then toss on the grill and cook for about 3 minutes each side. Top with a dollop of coconut yogurt and you’ll be transported to a tropical paradise.
Meanwhile bananas – oh boy – bananas! Peel, cut lengthwise, grill for a few minutes each side, then drizzle with fresh OJ, shredded coconut, cinnamon and chopped mint.
Top it all off
The best accompaniments to a barbeque are fresh crisp salads, a wholefood grain salad with a blend of a quinoa, wild rice and brown rice plus sauces. Oh and great mates. So grab your tongs and let your imagination take you on a wild barbeque adventure.