There’s something quite satisfying about digging a small pit, piling it high with collected wood from the forest floor and lighting a small fire. Then, using some sort of primitive rotisserie contraption made out of handy and sturdy sticks, grilling some sort of woodland creature over the flickery and crackling flames. (Not so satisfying for the woodland creature though.)
Sadly, the modern equivalent of collected wood from the forest floor or briquettes as they are called, are not quite as romantic. Still, cooking outside on the terrace can be fun if the weather is good. And today, for a change, the weather was perfect for our first barbecue.
And I feel a bit of a fraud. I am, it seems, an Australian who can’t barbecue very well. It has always seemed to me that the ability to cook slabs of meat outside was learned by osmosis as one grew older under the Oz sun. I was wrong.
My biggest mistake was assuming the briquettes would be ready to use reasonably quickly. Nothing could be further from the truth. I used special magical briquette fire starters and everything but it still took about an hour for the briquettes to turn the white they were supposed to.
One, minor success was the kebabs I made. Using my special, secret marinade, I turned a bowl full of diced beef into something quite delicious, combined with baby red peppers, mushrooms, asparagus and red onion. While a bit chewy (next time I’ll use a better cut of beef…or chicken) the flavour was excellent.
Also excellent were the Gloucester Old Spot sausages. And the salad was okay. The only, real problem was the length of time waiting for the coals to go white.
Poor Mirinda has come down with some sort of cold, so she missed out on the first hour of waiting (she was upstairs). By the time she joined me on the terrace I was well into the second hour of smouldering, smoking briquettes.
Hoping it would improve her health status, Mirinda had a nap in the middle of the day while I took the girls up to the park (with the new, high powered Flicka-Stik™) for some delightful sunlight, blue sky and light breeze. A lot of other dog walkers decided to join me including one group who lost a giraffe which I found for them. As I said to the woman who returned to retrieve it, it was easy to spot given we don’t normally get a lot of giraffes in these here parts.
But, back on the terrace, everything was fine in the end and we eventually ate at around midnight. In future, I’ll start the briquettes a day before.