Although no summer is complete without the smell of smoke and smouldering flesh, when you grow-your-own veg it’s especially rewarding if you can whip out a harvest and whack it over hot coals. Which is exactly what we’ll be doing.
To help provide a bit of home grown ‘n’ grilled inspiration, here are our five favourite vegetables for the barbecue…
The five best veg for a BBQ
Anyone with a courgette plant will be soon looking at new ways to use up their harvest as it pumps out plump fruit at a rapid rate. Slice them lengthways, brush with oil (see our top tip below) and slam on the grill until they’re seared and soft. Also great for dicing and skewering as part of a kebab.
Raid the greenhouse for whatever peppers you can find and slam them on the barbecue until they blister, crack and start turning black. They won’t take long and soon adopt a smokey flavour that makes them irresistible. Our favourite variety is the Spanish tapas classic ‘Padron‘, which we’re growing this year for the first time.
We’ve only ever harvested a handful of our own asparagus spears, but what better send off for those rare and prized specimens than cremation over the hot coals of a barbecue? Brush with oil before lying them across the wires (be careful not to drop them through the gaps) and sprinkle with salt before serving.
Few things taste as good as a cob freshly plucked from a sweetcorn stalk, and there is no better way of cooking it than with heat en plein air. Brush with oil, topping up while it cooks, and turn regularly for an even grilling. A few black kernels not only makes the cob look more pleasing but also gives an extra level of sweet caramalisation to the flavour.
Often ignored by BBQ-prodders, the humble tatty is an excellent addition to the grill, although they cook slowly so choose small to medium spuds. Slice, reassemble in foil, add oil, seasoning and any other flavours you fancy (may we suggest a rosemary sprig) then wrap tightly. Keep away from the intense heat and allow to gently cook – you can even chuck them in the embers as the heat begins to subside – and you’ll be rewarded with soft, smokey spuds that are full of flavour.
Top tip: oil up with coconut
For an extra bit of flavour we suggest using coconut oil to coat your veg prior to grilling. It’s great to cook with and will give your food a touch of the tropics. We find it especially rewarding on the sweetcorn, with an extra dollop going on top prior to serving.
We tried out a jar of TV cook Kirly-Sue’s Kitchen Raw Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, sent to us by her PR team, and Nick’s wife – a big coconut oil fan – declared it the best ever. She has even started using it as a body moisturiser, meaning we’ve got a fight on our hands the next time the coals are lit…
Product placement: Hema cooking and dining
Remarkably, we’ve only just discovered the online shopping delights of Hema. But now we’ve found them we’re wasting no time in loading up on goods for our summer special activities. Look out for an ace cocktail shaker coming soon but, for now, marvel at this simple bamboo dining ware – light, durable and a bargain price, perfect for BBQ munching chaos.
If you’re still in need of a barbecue, check out the review of ours here