Jaqui's Daily Blog

Cooking Up a Treat at a Brace of Barbecues

Autumn days are beckoning - and so is the kitchen.

In case you are worrying that I may have suddenly decided to chain myself to the kitchen sink or slave endlessly over a hot stove, I must quickly reassure you. Why indeed would I change the habit of a Lazy Lifetime? Especially when I have reached what Young Faris would call A Great Age.

No, the fact of the matter is that tonight not one, but two, of our favourite TV cookery programmes start their Autumn run. Mr B and I will be immersing ourselves in the satisfying business of gastronomic experimentation without moving out of our armchairs. We will be Cooking Up A Treat.

The first programme is Masterchef Australia, now in its eighth year. How time flies when you are having fun. Mr B says I must text my Little Sister and her fella, as well as the Middle of the Darling Daughters who are all keen as mustard (I wonder how many cooking ingredients I can squeeze into today's Blog?) on Masterchef, especially the version from Down Under. You might be wondering why Mr B doesn't do the texting himself - unless you are a regular reader in which case you will know that Mr B believes in that old adage: "Why have a dog and bark yourself?" Besides which he refuses to use his mobile phone (yes, he does actually have one, though don't ask me where it is) because he says it's overly complicated and refuses to do his bidding. It's remarkable, when you come to think of it, that our marriage has lasted so long.

My sister texts back to say that's the next three months sorted. The Middle of the Darling Daughters is less pleased because, having just moved house, she is without a TV until September 1st. Thus she will miss the first episode which is generally the most emotional. Think X Factor auditions with a food blender thrown in.

Also on TV tonight, irritatingly at exactly the same time, is The Great British Menu. The really Rather Wonderful Prue Leith was on morning television today trying not to spill all the series' secrets. Professional chefs from all over the country will be competing to cook at a banquet celebrating ordinary Britons honoured by the Queen. Apparently it's worth watching for one particularly spectacular "signature dish". Prue says so and that's good enough for me.

This Bank Holiday weekend Mr B and I were pleased to celebrate that Great British Dish - the barbecue. The Aussies may think they invented the barbie, but like most things I reckon we got there first. You will be pleased to hear, I am sure, that we enjoyed two barbecues - one on Sunday, one on Bank Holiday Monday - without having so much as to shake a set of tongs for ourselves. Why enjoy one barbecue, I always say, when you could enjoy two?

The first was at the invitation of our next door neighbours who continue to look out for us, especially making time for occasional chats with Mr B over the garden fence. We were touched to find that we were joining a small group of family and close friends. It gave us a pleasantly warm feeling inside which went a long way to dispel the chill of a cloudy afternoon. In one corner of the garden, two expert barbecuers were turning the steak, the chicken, the burgers, the sausages. Mr B asked for "seconds". And "thirds." You could just tell he was thinking that This is The Stuff Of Which The Very Best Barbecues Are Made.

Then today we scooted along to the Parish Barbecue in the Rectory Garden. At least Mr B scooted and I trotted along behind him, trying to catch up at each road in order to check on traffic and wave him safely across. As scoots go, this was one of the trickiest on account of the sheer number of cars parked half on and half off the already narrow pavements. There's nothing like riding a mobility scooter to make one aware of the Thoughtlessness of Others. My attempt at placating Mr B by admiring his skill at negotiating the narrowed pathways fell on determinedly deaf ears.

In the Rectory Garden, six barbecue stations had been set up in a long, hot, smoky line. Behind each station a red-faced cook, sweating profusely as he or she attended to the chicken drumsticks, the burgers, the sausages, the vegetable skewers, Hungry Hordes for the feeding of. It was a Herculean Effort by each and every one of the chefs and My Stomach (of which, as you know, I Am Always Thinking) saluted them. The music of Abba swirled around the garden while Mr B requested "seconds", followed by "thirds."

They haven't yet made a TV programme about it - but there's nothing quite like The Great British Barbecue!


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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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