Sunday 22 June 2014

Mr Jones & the Birthday BBQ

Having worried about whether we would have sun, clouds or rain on Saturday for Mr Jones' birthday BBQ I needn't have been concerned as we woke up on Saturday morning to clear blue skies.  Yay!  Bring on the barbecue!

With a number of people coming to visit we wanted to make sure that everyone would be fed and watered well...

Mr Jones  thought it would be fun to try out some burgers and sausages not normally found at a BBQ (can be bought from Kezie)…

So with the house cleaned, the beer fridge stocked and the coals ready to go we waited for our guests to arrive.  Instead of just filling the table with lots of bottles of condiments we put together a single tray which had every sauce you could ever imagine but also plastic cutlery and napkins - MUCH easier and pretty good looking as well!

I also trayed up the dips.  Sometimes they all look a little same-y so had a brainwave and used the cardboard band they usually come with underneath the pots so everyone knew their tzatiki from their sour cream and onion!

Before too long there was a wonderful mix of people filling up our patio and spilling onto the lawn.

With music playing, the sun beaming, good company and beers being consumed the smiles started to shine...

I had a little bit of an accident involving and onion and a knife...

First BBQ top tip - prep everything you can in advance.  It gives you a chance to go out and get anything you might have forgotten, it allows you to spend more time with your guests and in my case, if any knife incidents do happen, you have time to sort it out rather than dragging your fiancé away from the grill to help you get bandaged!

We ordered quite a lot of sausages, burgers and chicken pieces and cooked things in rounds - burgers first, then sausages then chicken.  Does anyone else grill like this or do you just put a variety on at the same time?

Once people had their fill it was time to crack open the exotic meats that Mr Jones ordered from Kezie Foods.  We're not in the habit of eating exotic meat but it was fun to try something a little different and see everyone's reactions!  The wagyu burgers went down a treat, the llama sausages were actually pretty good but the kangaroo, zebra and camel burgers weren't a much of a crowd pleaser.  I'm really glad that most people went a little out of their comfort zone!

Another BBQ top tip - if you have children (or big kids) coming to your BBQ make sure there's something for them to do.  It doesn't have to be anything organised or formal but perhaps some outdoor games, crayons and paper or in my case, water pistols!  I picked them up from Poundland so didn't break the bank but were lots of fun and even prompted a water pistol duel!

Once the guests had left and we'd had a quick tidy we decided that we needed a little downtime before bed.  Mr Jones lay out some sheets and pillows on the lawn and with the small Pic projector I recently got we had the first instalment of the Back Garden Cinema showing "Sunshine on Leith".  It was a little surreal lying in the back garden watching a film but can't recommend it enough!

More BBQ top tips:
- if you're keeping meat outside, invest in a cool box and ice packs to make sure they stay at a safe temperature
- unless you dislike your guests and want to make them ill, make sure that all meat is cooked through (burnt outside doesn't always mean cooked insides!)
- always make sure there are veggie options - salad doesn't count!  Stock up on some veggie burgers and sausages
- don't forget your sunscreen!  You can sometimes forget how strong the sun is when you're having fun and having a few drinks
- keep the area around the grill a kid free zone otherwise little fingers might get burnt
- fill a large tub with ice to keep drinks chilled and on hand for guests (a lot easier than everyone having to walk inside to the fridge)
- unless you specify you're hosting a pot luck make sure you have enough food for everyone.  I'd say at least 2 pieces of everything for each guest.  It's better to have a freezer loaded with leftovers than hungry guests!
- have fun!  Lots of it!

P.s. I want to say a big thank you to our guest Terry who took a lot of the photos - I was a little cheeky asking him if he'd mind but I think you'll agree that there are some great pictures!  Thanks Terry!

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