Friday, 7 June 2013

Summer summer summertime

The sun is shining! In the west of Scotland where I live this is nothing short of a miracle. It's warm and glorious, and the clear skies brighten everyone's day. Of course, this puts planned cold weather casseroles and the likes out of the window because what everyone wants in this weather is barbecue food.

Generally speaking bbqs are considered less than great in the diet world. All the bread and mayo add up to a lot of excess calories. In the UK we seem to have an obsession with whacking all the grilled meat into its own bread receptacle, roll or wrap. Probably because we get comparatively little good weather, a lot of bbqs are little more than a couple of rubbish sausages, a burger, and maybe a burnt (yet raw) chicken drumstick. These days of course the supermarkets sell ranges of pre-marinaded and skewered bbq products, all perfectly prepared and ready to drop on your grill to ensure you enjoy an exotic tasting high syn feast.

There really is no need for a good bbq to spoil the diet. With a little bit of thought and by using your healthy extras you can do a bbq for very few syns. Chicken cubes can be marinated in garlic, lemon juice, bay and oregano or Cajun spice, soy and lime and seasoned with salt and pepper before threading onto skewers with chunks of peppers,  mushrooms and courgettes for syn free kebabs. Look about to find some low syn sausages so you can still have your snags - my butcher sells a great half syn sausage but supermarkets do them too. Burgers can be homemade for free, and just remove the skins from chicken drumsticks before marinating in spices of your choice or maybe a free bbq sauce. Chuck a lean steak on too. So far you have a pretty good feast, right?

So what about sides? Obviously a large side salad (with or without feta cheese as your A choice) goes without saying. A personal favourite of mine is corn on the cob, thrown straight in the grill and cooked until charred and salted to serve. Another favourite is barbecued halloumi cheese, although obviously this would be synned or an A choice. Coleslaw and potato salads are commonplace bbq sides but high syn usually. I blogged about Coleslaw recently - make your own for acouple of syns for the whole dish: it keeps a few days and is very handy to have in your summer fridge. Similarly potato salad - historically my own version was made with lashings of full fat mayo but I've managed to make a low fat version I am happy with. It's true to my original in taste and here in its simplicity, just for you.


500g baby potatoes - boiled until tender
2 tbsp extra light mayo
4 tbsp fat free yoghurt
Handful of chives, finely chopped
Handful of mint, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Mix the still slightly warm potatoes with the other ingredients and season generously to taste with salt and pepper (salt is the key here). Serve at room temperature. I am being bossy about this - potayo salad shouldn't be fridge cold.

It really is that easy to produce a lowish syn, healthy bbq without boatloads of bread although obviously if you want a roll or something go ahead and use your healthy extras or syns. Either way, it's perfect sunshine food.

Here's to the sun staying out!


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