18 June 2012

GUEST BLOG: Barbie world

By guest blogger SIOBHAN KELLY

Friday's session at NACRO's Longden House in Withington was a BBQ-themed meal. This was the second of four sessions Cracking Good Food are holding at the women’s hostel.

The sun was shining and we couldn’t believe our luck, but the minute we said BBQ, the skies turned black and the rain started! Not to worry, in true British style, we didn’t let this dampen our spirits and the charcoal was lit outside under an umbrella. The feast we prepared included homemade lemonade, homemade lamb and beef burgers cooked on the BBQ, potato wedges, beetroot, carrot and lentil salad, and Mexican tomato salsa. All of these dishes are rich in vitamins, flavours, aroma and colour. The group was very enthusiastic, and there was a lot of chatting and discussion about food, nutrition, tastes and favourite flavours, and we picked up some top tips…

We started with the fresh homemade lemonade, using a fancy and effective lemon squeezer. The juice, zest and some sugar were heated in a pan along with the lemon shells to make a syrup (pictured above), then this was sieved and left to cool before sparking water was added. On to the salad: grated beetroot, grated carrot, spring onions, garlic, lemon juice, dry heated pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and lentils. The colour was magnificent - one of my favourite combinations of colours and flavours. Next, potatoes were cut into wedges, parboiled then finished off in the oven. Then it was salsa time and the chopping of tomatoes, garlic, onions, chilli and fresh coriander, to which we added cumin and salt. This was just bursting with freshness and health. Last but not least were the homemade burgers. The beef burgers were made with minced beef, spring  onions and chives, and the lamb burgers with minced lamb, garlic, fresh mint and red onion. Fresh rosemary was also on hand to add more flavour. These were shaped by hand then cooked on the BBQ outside, and the smell was truly wonderful - our mouths were watering waiting for them to cook. Ah, the memories…

While the burgers were cooking, the table was set and the lemonade poured, then we all sat down with plates full of a mix of all these wonderful dishes. A true delight - I can still taste the delicious flavours.

The participants are rewarded with certificates after each session, and should be proud of their hard work, enthusiasm and new food skills. Their goody bags this week contained two tomato plants (one yellow, one red) for them to tend and reap the rewards, and a cooking utensil, recipe sheets and instructions on how to take care of their tomato plants. Perhaps they will be able to make some of these dishes with the tomato yield this summer.

Thanks again to our hard-working volunteers too - such a great help.

You can see more photographs from the BBQ on the CGF Facebook page. Click here to be redirected.

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