The wonderful pleasure of a summer barbecue has been ruined for me living in London. We aren’t allowed to have one on our balcony, and those piddly disposable ones you have in local parks just burn everything. That and it hasn’t stopped raining since 1994 (or at least that’s what it feels like). For me, a barbecue is normally a meat feast and I am totally fine with that. There may be some sort of salad that’s predominantly there for decoration, but for me a barbecue is just not a vegetarian meal.
Heading on down super south of the river to Peckham, I tried my hand for the first time at a meat-free barbecue with a focus on using Quorn products. The London Barbecue School introduced us to some serious ceramic bad boys. We learnt how to stack charcoal and get it going with firelighters, how to get the flames with the use of the extractor ventilation, and how to monitor the temperature for perfect barbecuing.
Our group was given the southern fried ‘chicken’ burgers, which as with most Quorn products really only need to be warmed through, so they’re super simple to cook. We chopped up some veggies and got them going on the barbecue, but only once we’d put a ceramic plate over the flames so they weren’t charred to bits. Then we made a ridiculously easy sauce with natural yoghurt and lemon zest, smothered it over tortilla wraps and put the chopped up burgers and veggies inside.
I was so surprised by the burgers. Yes, the texture is slightly different from actual chicken, but the flavoured breaded coating makes it genuinely delicious; these will definitely be a new staple in my freezer for ‘I can’t be bothered to cook’ evenings. Other teams tackled the ‘standard’ burgers, similar in appearance to beef burgers, with a spicy sweetcorn salsa to accompany them, and others created kebabs with vegetables and sausages in a honey and wholegrain mustard glaze. I really was not a fan of the sausages; they are very rubbery in texture which didn’t sit well with me, but you can’t win them all.
When I lived with AJ we ate veggie a few times a week for both health and monetary reasons. However, now I live with two adult men who don’t class a meal as complete without some sort of meat included, so a vegetarian meal is very rare. Quorn are introducing more gluten-free products and will be launching a vegan range in the near future, so it will soon be so easy to be more flexible with what you eat. I’ll just have to sneak it in when the blokes aren’t looking…
I was invited to the London Barbecue School as a guest of Quorn but rest assured, there’s nothing but true opinions up in here!