Brightening up the Vegan BBQ

15 02 2011

A BBQ is a great social occasion and a good way of drawing friends and family together, and there’s no reason to feel left out of the traditional summer BBQs if you’re a vegetarian or vegan. You certainly don’t have to restrict yourself to veggie burgers, either!

Choosing to buy organic and locally-produced fruit and vegetables should ensure you get the very best for your BBQ and will supply you with fresher fruit and vegetables and help support local farmers. If you’re lucky enough to live near a farmer’s market or a farm shop, you should be able to pick up fantastically fresh, tasty, and good value seasonal fruit and vegetables.

And what better way to make the most of the best your area has to offer than with a BBQ and a wide variety of salads? Grilling seals in the flavours of the vegetables and it’s a healthy and fun way of cooking. You can experiment with marinades, fresh herbs, and vegetables you might not have otherwise tried. It’s also a great way to encourage the pickier members of the family to eat more vegetables!

The Usual Suspects

Mushrooms are a must for vegetable kebabs! Image Credit: Dinostock

The humble vegetable kebab can be brightened up with a marinade. Simply mix olive oil with a little lemon juice, then add fresh herbs, chilli, or crushed garlic. Soy sauce or balsamic vinegar are nice additions, too, or try harissa (a chilli paste from Tunisia) for warmth. Flavourful oils, such as walnut or avocado, are great drizzled over a green salad as an accompaniment. If you’re using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them overnight to minimise the risk of splinters.

For extra flavour, you could try skewering vegetables on stripped sprigs of rosemary. Good vegetables for grilling include sweet pepper, aubergine, courgette, tomato, mushroom, red onion, asparagus, sweetcorn, and sweet potato. Be aware that some vegetables, such as aubergines and mushrooms, tend to soak up a lot of flavour, so it’s best to limit the marinade time of these to avoid overpowering the natural flavour.

Your Vegan Platter

Make plenty of salads to fit the season, pasta, green leaves, and maybe some leaf and fruits, and the absolute essential, potato salad (with vegan mayonnaise and dill) – and provide plenty of rolls and dips (such as hummus, good quality olive oil, guacamole, tapenades, and whatever else might go well with crudités and bread). Supply some wine and perhaps a non-alcoholic punch or juice.

The Main Event

Grilled red peppers. Image credit: Food Factory

Find a few large portobello mushrooms and brush them liberally with some good quality olive oil or margarine, and some torn herbs or fresh crushed garlic. Alternatively, spread a little pesto, or olive or tomato tapenade over them before grilling. Or you can make your own garlic ‘butter’ with roasted garlic and margarine – simply spread this lightly over the mushrooms as they cook, adding more as necessary. The mushrooms should be grilled gills uppermost, and can be served in warmed buns with rings of red onion and some fresh organic salad leaves.*

New potatoes should be skewered and given a liberal brushing of olive oil with herbs (rosemary really shines here) before grilling, or you could bake a potato or sweet potato in foil in the smouldering coals for a side dish.

Stuff sweet peppers or large, par-boiled onions with a cooked grain and your favourite mixture of cooked vegetables (try Mediterranean vegetables with basil and pine nuts) and grill until soft.

For the best sweetcorn, peel back the husks, remove the silk, then rub the corn with margarine and tie the husks back over the corn. Cook the corn around the outside of the grill for about 20 minutes. To cook it quicker, try soaking it in cold water for thirty minutes beforehand, or blanch it in hot water.

Tofu well deserves its place on the vegan BBQ, too. Choose a good, firm, organic brand, and marinade it well (overnight is best, and add soy sauce to the marinade for a salty, savoury taste) before grilling. It’s great threaded onto skewers with vegetables.**

Don’t Forget Dessert

As the perfect finish for your meal, try wrapping bananas or plantains (choose plantains with black skin to get the sweetest) in foil, or cook them directly in their skins.

You can also thread fruit onto skewers and grill it – pineapple, peaches, pear, and apple all work well, and you can sprinkle these with a little mixed spice or brush them with agave nectar (a vegan substitute for honey).

Some fruits, such as peach, nectarine, or apple, can simply be sliced in half, grilled, and served with a scoop of vegan ice cream or sorbet for a simple dessert.

If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could try putting some stoned, ripe cherries in a foil pouch on the grill and serve them over vanilla vegan ice cream.

So there is every reason to fire up the barbecue, cast iron chiminea, or fire pit this year. As long as you have the time for a little preparation, and as long as you can source the best fruit and vegetables, you’ll be able to get the family and friends around a barbecue and enjoy a delicious, home-cooked meal alfresco.

And it’s well worth considering signing up to a local veg-box scheme or creating a vegetable plot in your own garden. You need surprisingly little space, and you can have as much fun growing your food as you can cooking and eating it!

——————————————————————————————–

Laura Phillips is a vegan – and has been for several years! – and outdoor living enthusiast, and writes for http://www.chimineashop.co.uk/

This post has been syndicated by Nathan Brown, the gardening jobs recruiter for Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage and provider of Eco Advertising.

Sources:

* http://www.bbq.co.uk/bbq-recipes/vegetables/readers-recipes-vegetable.htm – another site with lots of BBQ ideas.

** http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianbarbecuerecipes/qt/grillingtofu.htm – an informative article with loads of good ideas for tofu.

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In season in December, recipes and a few eco goodies!

10 12 2010

December is getting off to a white start this year, with widespread snow and bitterly cold temperatures.  Thankfully it’s also the festive season; a time of goodwill, good company and good food, so there is plenty to look forward to!

In this blog entry we’ve highlighted kale, including scrummy recipes such as Spicy Kale with Chickpeas and Kale & Roquefort Parcels.  We’ve also included two recipes that mix apples and celeriac (read on to find out more), and we have a special soup section.

Enjoy the blog and we wish you all a very merry, festive time!

The VegBox Recipes Team

PS. This recipe for Mushroom and Winter Veg Pie should not be missed.  It’s a perfect winter warmer that will turn whatever root veg you have into a divine treat!

In Season in December

As well as marking the start of winter, December is of course the festive season, and the way things are going you would be forgiven for thinking that here in the UK, it might be a white one!   So what can you expect in your veg box?  Forced Rhubarb and Purple Sprouting Broccoli is coming in, and plenty is still in season including: Beetroot, Celeriac, Kale, Pototoes & Swede.

Click through for the full list.

Veggie-in-the-Spotlight: Kale

Kale is a great source of Vitamins C, A and B6. It’s also packed with antioxidants, which are vital for a healthy immune system.  It’s in season over the winter, which makes it a useful ingredient in the vegetable box.  It’s strong flavour requires careful cooking, so it’s worth reading how to use it and checking out the recipes, to make sure you enjoy it.

Read more about this ingredient.

Try these recipes:

Celeriac & Apples!

And what about putting celeriac and apples together? Try these recipes:

Wholesome, Warming Soups

With the temperatures as they are, here in the office we have been bringing in soup to have for lunch, to warm our cockles and help power us through the afternoon.  Here are some of our favourite recipes which we think you will love too:

Ooffoo Community

These fabulous articles were uploaded to our sister site, Ooffoo, by community members:

Tips for Wormeries, by Maddy

…BEDDING – Add some additional bedding to your wormery such as shredded paper, scrunched up newspaper and/or a moisture mat as this can help to add some “insulation” and keep your worms a little warmer over the winter…

Read the full article.

The Joy of Mess, by Kerryb

…it isn’t just laziness or the comfort of soft furnishings and central heating that keep me inside.  It is not because I choose to neglect my garden, it is because I choose not to interfere.  This is armchair gardening at its best.  With a cup of tea and biscuit by my side, I sit back on my comfortable settee and watch, reaping the rewards of my negligence…

Read the full article

Marketplace Goodies

 Product image

Scented Drawer Sachets

Fair trade. Perfect for keeping drawers smelling sweet.

£10.50


 Product image

Flower Embroidered Jacket

Keep the cold out this winter.

£160.00


 Product image

Long Socks

Warm and cosy socks knitted from recycled yarn.

£22.00


 Product image

Sustainable Gift Wrap

Sustainable wrapping kit using recycled material.

£10.00


 Product image

Garden Sign

An amusing sign that makes the perfect gift for a green fingered loved one.

£4.99


 Product image

Gardening Book

Organise your gardening year and make the most of your produce.

£19.50





Nuts about Nuts!

5 10 2010

 

sweet chestnut chocolate brownies and more

 

Calling all free-food-ers / foragers … It’s British nut season.

We wanted to feature the British nut this year, because nuts are such an important source of nutrients, especially for vegetarians and vegans, and because with some help they should be foragable and so available for free. They’re a great source of protein, especially for vegetarians and vegans – for starters you can simply try throwing handfuls of freshly ground nuts into porridge, yogurt, on top of ice cream and other desserts, or into casseroles, bakes, risottos and pasta sauces. And if you’re ready to get cooking with nuts, how about having a go with one of our special nut-feature recipes? Or even try out our Peanut Butter Coleslaw!

Click through to read on, and for our super-tasty recipes for:





Fruit-in-the-Spotlight: Cherries

16 05 2010

ooh what a pavlova!

In 2010, National Cherry Day is Saturday July 17th.

Cherries are a short-lived, summer treat. They can be either sweet or sour, depending on the variety so check before you cook with them as you’ll need sugar for the sour ones! But the sour varieties make better jam.

In the past, the stones were used in bed-warming pans, and the cherry was grown primarily for medicinal purposes rather than to eat as a fruit.

Nutritionally, they’re a good source of antioxidants, Vitamin C, iron, potassium and magnesium and are fast on their way to becoming a “super-fruit”.

Click through for our guide on how to buy, store, freeze and cook cherries. In particular, we’re delighted to bring you two brand new recipes donated generously by FoodLoversBritain.com:

as well as our recipes for:





Growing Our Own Veggies – FREE SEEDS AND TRAINING NEWS FLASH

16 04 2010

free seeds, free workshops!

Here at VegBox Recipes, we are avid followers of lots of great campaigns, including Mind’s “EcoMinds”, the BBC’s “Dig In” and the “Capital Growth” initiative in London.

This month, there is a flurry of activity that we wanted to make sure you knew about. For so many of us, the desire is there to Grow Our Own, and yet it can feel so daunting. If up until now, you’ve been putting it off, maybe these links will be the ticket…





Making Mother’s Day

26 02 2010

Here’s little inspiration on things to make, bake, buy and do in celebration of Mothering Sunday on March 14th. The article includes recipes for

plus links to ideas for cards, gifts and even Spring-time woodland walks…





Veggie-in-the-Spotlight: Last of the Beetroot from Storage

26 02 2010

caramelized, in cakes, mashed...

Although harvest season ends in October, beetroot will store and so can be eaten for months, if chosen and handled properly.

Here are our favourite beetroot recipes, including one for cake, one from our friend’s at Ripple Farm, and something a little bit different and not really for eating!

and finally!

Courtesy of the dear Mrs Green, check out the “recipe” for Homemade Playdough with Beetroot Water for Colour!