Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Barbecue Inspiration with Quorn

You may have trouble believing it, based on the current weather activity but it is summer and therefore the season the the BBQ. I do enjoy a BBQ but rarely make the effort to do one myself and sometimes, as a vegetarian, struggle for inspiration of what to cook so an evening at the London Barbecue School with Quorn was just the thing.
A lot of people are surprised when I say that I don't eat a lot of Quorn. It's not because I dislike it, far from it! But my style of cooking has changed a lot during the time I have been vegetarian and one of the wonderful things about Quorn products is that they are so easy to use as substitutes in recipes that traditionally call for meat such as chilli, toad-in-the-hole, curries and of course barbecues, fare I don't often make these days.
Credit: Quorn
Although Quorn is a product suitable for vegetarians, it's more appropriate to say, because of its versatility, that it's just a healthy protein. My dad, a committed steak eater, cooks with Quorn often and I'm a huge fan of something he calls "gumbo" (not quite like the real deal). He also regularly requests a version of beef bourguignon made with Quorn at home. Compared to beef, Quorn contains 90% less saturated fat, 50% fewer calories, is higher in fibre and is still a complete protein. On top of that it's highly sustainable, resulting in 90% lower emissions from the production process than beef and a great carrier of flavour. It's this last part that's key for me when thinking about using it on the barbecue.
At the London Barbecue School, drinks in hand, we were shown how to operate the huge egg-shaped grills then let loose with stacks of ingredients and four recipes to try our hands at whipping up some delicious meals using Quorn. The products we used weren't especially fancy; sausages, burgers,  Swedish style balls and crispy coated southern burgers, but the meals were all mouthwatering and flavourful.

Nibbling on picnic eggs and cocktail sausages to tide us over we whipped up kebabs using Swedish style balls, sticky sausage & vegetable skewers, southern fried burger & vegetable wraps and chilli burgers with chipotle & sweetcorn salsa. I got stuck in with the sticky skewers, making a marinade with olive oil, lemon juice, wholegrain mustard and mango chutney and singeing the hair on my arms whilst turning and basting them. I tried a bit of everything (twice) and found it hard to decide which was my favourite. If pressed I think I'd say the kebabs, but really, I would be far from disappointed if any of these were my only option at a barbecue.

Credit: Quorn
All the recipes were quick, low-faff and required little in the way of fancy ingredients so are easy to recreate and have paved the way for me to get creative with Quorn products again. I enjoyed trying some new recipes in the past and with such a huge range of products from the everyday mince, pieces, sausages and burgers to Chef's Selection, gluten free, picnic foods and a soon-to-be-launched vegan range (which I'm rather excited about) there's plenty to choose from! And I'm safe in the knowledge that it's a good fit with my healthy eating intentions.
Credit: Quorn
It was a really fun evening, not only cooking but chatting, relaxing and quaffing in the open air in the courtyard that is the school. The London Barbecue School is located in Peckham Rye and offers the opportunity to learn how to make the most of your barbecue and eat excellent food prepared on one of their Kamado Joe barbecues. I'm particularly keen to go back for one of their Vegetarian and Vegan workshops!
Thanks to Quorn for inviting me to the event, providing the ingredients, refreshments and a goody bag. I'll be cooking up a storm again soon...

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