My family are vegetarian and over the past few years, most of my close friends have become vegetarian too.
I eat meat rarely, and it’s the combination of flavours and textures in plant-based cooking that are of real interest, as that’s what I cook for the people closest to me. The idea of an entirely vegetarian or vegan feast, packed with texture, flavour and colour, which opens up the world of cooking and eating outdoors to the people I love, is immensely appealing as BBQs are almost exclusively associated with carnivorous cooking – though this is something that is happily changing.
I’m not sure there’s anything better than cooking and eating outside. With good company, perhaps a dog or two, or even just cooking a dish for yourself, it’s incredibly satisfying to break cooking down into its simplest components.
I’ll often add a chopping board on a garden table to maximise my time outside, and with minimal fuss, and as much enjoyment as anyone can expect from a bit of lazy food prep in the sunshine, lunch or dinner rolls off the grill in courses, with nothing more than occasionally flipping something on the BBQ, drink in hand.
I must name-check one of my food mentors, Genevieve Taylor, whose vegetarian BBQ book Charred I have been dying to read, but refrained while writing, so as not to inadvertently cross over with the contents of this book. She is the queen of cooking outdoors – buy both and double the number of vegetarian dishes for your BBQ.