Sunday, 24 June 2007

Vegetable Kebabs (egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)

If the success of a party can be measured by the size of the hangover it engenders, then I can confirm that Heather and John’s farewell barbecue was a fine one.

It was one of those rare occasions when, as soon as we arrived, my children simply melted away into the mêlée of exciting older children, trampolines, garden toys and someone else’s bedroom to trash. I didn’t see some of them for hours on end, and every now and then I had to totter around the garden and house to do a headcount.

How silly I was to worry about toned buttocks, I had forgotten that there would be so many members of the Armed Forces elite at the barbecue. Whether I had toned buttocks or not was neither here nor there; everywhere you looked there was a visual feast of male and muscled bodies.

Now I normally avoid drinking Pimms on the grounds that anything that tastes like squash and can slip down without touching the sides, is bound to lead to double vision trouble. Yet I’d had a rather tough week – raw sewage in the cellar anyone? – so threw caution to the winds. It was after about tumbler number 3 of Pimms, when the whisper went around that the charming gentlemen who was so assiduously re-filling our glasses, was concocting a lethal mix of Pimms and Gin up in the kitchen. Unscrupulous rogue, no wonder he left so early, in a very sober manner.

Fearing a hangover, I switched crazily between red wine and champagne. I’m not sure this was the best game plan. My children started to multiply before my very eyes, there goes my boy…gosh, since when did I have conjoined boys?

At one lovely moment during the evening, I found myself in the kitchen with a cackle of wives. An innocent little comment from myself was like breaching the dam, and we erupted with excited hoots of laughter
Me: ‘So – ahem - who’s the guy with the amazing body?’
Clearly I had not been alone in my perusal of this man and out tumbled the information;
Wife 1: ‘He’s got a flat in the 7th arrondissement, he said I’d like it!’Wife 2: ‘I think he’s single!’
Wife 3: ‘Did you feel his handshake? He nearly cracked my fingers’
Wife 4: ‘If a woman wore a shirt that tight, bulging at the buttons, you can imagine the looks she’d get’.

It’s true, he had no-one but himself to blame. You know, I can really see why men ogle women, ogling is actually lots of fun!

The rest of the soiree passed in a blissful haze. I was obviously suffering from ‘fabulous breast envy’ at some point, because I have a close-up shot of a lovely cleavage on my camera. No head or neck, just a big old zoom on the cleavage. I shall study it and make notes.

And when it was time for tea, I’m pretty sure I ate some of these veggie kebabs. Very good they were too. If you take these to your next barbecue, do remember to drink in moderation.

I will take this opportunity to raise a glass to Heather and John, and to wish them lots of happiness as they wend their way back to Blighty. My one regret is that I didn't get to see the naked trampolining for which they are famed. Maybe at the next one?

H&J's Veggie Kebabs (Click here for tips on how to avoid cross-contamination)
Another handy dish that can be cooked in the oven for fear of clogging up the carnivorous barbecue. These can be marinaded overnight, then assembled on the day. You can also make the Spinach Pesto (for the marinade) a couple of days ahead and keep it in the fridge, or freeze it. This recipe makes about 12 / 14 kebabs. The choice of veggies is really up to you, but I used the following:

10 new potatoes
4 small sweet potatoes
3 orange peppers
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
18 button mushrooms
20 cherry tomatoes (about 500g)
250g shallots (or about 3 big spanish onions)
a pack of skewers
Olive oil for drizzling
A sprinkle of chilli flakes if you desire

For the marinade:
3 heaped tbsps of Baby Spinach Pesto, or I have found this pesto, (it is gluten and dairy-free, but note it does contain cashew nuts)
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard (gluten-free, here's one)
1 big beef tomato
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Chop the new potatoes in half and steam them for about 9 minutes, then set them aside. You want them soft enough to push a skewer through, but not soft enough to split when you do so
  • Peel the new potatoes, chop them into chunks and steam them for about 7 minutes
  • Chop all the peppers into large chunks
  • Peel the shallots, and use them whole if they are small, or split them down the middle if they are big (or cut the onions into large chunks)
  • Wipe the button mushrooms and remove the stalks
  • Put all the ingredients for the marinade into a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Then tip the marinade into a roasting tin
  • Place all the vegetables into the roasting tin and stir so that they are all coated in marinade. It's probably easiest to use your hands. If you are doing this the night before, cover with foil until you need it
  • To assemble, spend a pleasant half an hour threading the veg in various colour combinations onto the skewers. Sprinkle the chilli flakes over the top if you wish
  • If you are cooking these in the oven, heat oven to 180/190 degrees C. Drizzle your kebabs with olive oil. Put a cooling rack on top of a baking tray and place the kebabs on top (they drip and you don't want to have to clean the oven do you?!). Put them in the oven, remembering to turn them after about 15 mins (keep checking though)
  • If you are cooking these on a barbecue, hooray! Just make sure you drizzle them with oil before cooking or they can be a tad dry
  • These are good served with Salsa, mmmmmm, yummy.

© Pig in the Kitchen 2007
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Lee said...

Any tips on getting oneself invited to a shindig like that? *hopeful look*

Pig in the Kitchen said...

bless you Lee, I'll put in a good word. "Friendly benevolent look"

Stay at home dad said...

You're such an expat! How's your book deal coming along anyway?

Drunk Mummy said...

I always used to enjoy games of naked leap-frog in my youth. The risk of slipping a disc renders it off-limits these days (Oh! and I forgot! I have a husband and three kids now!)

Mya said...

Naked trampolining is fun, but remember to wear safety goggles.

Sugarfox said...

Ooh I'm feeling dead mysterious! I'll have to leave some other clues. Rape's a great backdrop for chocolate cheesecake....

Love your stories. They make me smile - a lot.

Suffolkmum said...

Loved the ogling. And the childern melting away; gives you brief glimpses as to life as it used to be, doesn't it? Lovely post.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

SAHD, I always thought of myself as a reluctant expat, caught up in the big business shennanigans of French corporate giant buying out successful british company and forcing employees to france or redundancy...but do you know, with bbq's like last weekend I could get used to it! The italics in 'your' book deal suggest you have one, I'm excited for you and coming over for a look. Alas, I'm not sure the publishing world is interested in PITK. :-(

DrunkMummy, naked leap frog? I really have not lived.

Mya, phew, thanks for the reminder. So important to apply Health and Safety to all aspects o f life.

Sugarfox, ha, i think i have worked out who you are...for others reading this blog, I can confirm that you mean rapeSEED and not the violent crime? At least I hope I can confirm that.

SuffolkMum, the ogling was wonderful, as was the respite from the bairns. Not sure i really want to go back to pre-kid days tho, the hangovers were far more fierce!

lady macleod said...

Oh how fun that sounds! Well done, but you couldn't get a close up for us of the yummy male in the tight shirt rather than cleavage? Piggy! Expresso and french fries are good for the "next day".

Stay at home dad said...

I see, interesting to learn how you got there...

No, no, no. I haven't got one. I was referring to the clamouring for Drunk Mummy to have (a well-deserved) one. I would think the word is ready.

Sugarfox said...

Rapeseed indeed - glorious to look at - a hay feverer's nightmare....

mutterings and meanderings said...

Ah Pig, that sounds like a fab party. I am one for drinking copious amounts of Pimm's at parties. I feel it is important.

I also feel it is important that you contact some publishers. Food and stories - and photos - frankly, it's fab...

Akelamalu said...

That sounds like my sort of barbeque! Did you get the recipe for the punch? ;)

Marianne said...

You're a racy lot over there. Naked trampolining? What next. I thought skinny dipping was the height of naughtiness

Sounds like a terrific party PITK. Hope you wore the scary pants.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Lady M, I do have a photo of the man in question, hastily taken as we were leering out of the kitchen window. Interestingly, his face is a little blurred but where his shirt was straining at the buttons is in sharp focus. I would love to show you, but he is 'Special Forces' and he may hunt me down and kill me. Mind you, that might be quite a nice way to go?!

SAHD, ohhhh, right, i missed the clamouring (a small child buggered my internet access for most of this week- always supervise what they are downloading by mistake)we shall have to see about Pig in print...

sugarfox, i'm so relieved it's the rape that's grown in the finger was hovering over the 'delete this comment' button! ;-) You're welcome anytime!

M&M, i respect your opinion, I shall definitely try to drink more Pimms. If i survive the summer with four babies in an isolated corner of france...maybe i'll get my act together about publishers, agents and all that stuff!

akelamalu, from what i observed in the 'Pimms corner' of the was a little bit of Pimms to half a bottle of gin. I do question his motives for mixing it so strongly...

Marianne, fret not, I would only ever be a voyeuse of naked trampolining, the world is definitely not ready for my clothes-less body. Not quite sure which scary pants you mean...they were mildly alarming i think, but not toooo scary ;-)

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Sounds like some party. pimms with gin, wine and champagne - yes please. This is my first time here. I read your comment on Drunk Mummy re: cancelling the school run when they're all ill. With you on that one. I hate the school run! Also I fear that I'm a pig disguised as a human so your blog title was very appealing!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Amanda, hello and welcome. The school run is now officially over for 9 weeks, I should be careful what i wish for.

I am also a pig in human form, and looking at your blog profile confirms that you are too! Just been for a squizz at your delicious blog, will be back to look again once the oestrogen-fuelled screaming birthday sleepover is finished (tomorrow)...that's if i survive.