Get the Barbie out for National Barbecue Week

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It’s another Bank Holiday Monday and the sun has actually been out this weekend! When the sun is shining, there’s nothing more fitting than lighting up the BBQ. It’s also National Barbecue Week this week, so what more excuse do you need to fire up those coals and get grilling?

Barbecues are fantastic for families –  they bring everyone together and create fun and laughter (unless you are the one cooking) We don’t need an excuse to get the Barbie out here at Learn Play Grow-  we just love that smoky flame grilled smell on a summer afternoon. Barbecues aren’t just about meat though; there’s so much more you can do to create a fun and flavour-filled healthy family BBQ.

As little treat – and maybe some encouragement to get that apron out later on this afternoon – we have got some fun and tasty recipes for on and off the barbecue.

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One of our favourites is peri peri skewers which mix chicken, Portuguese flavours and tasty vegetables.

The ingredients you need are:

  • 2 – 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thigh, trimmed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil or more
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ medium red pepper
  • 1 fresh jalapeno peppers, coarsely chopped, seeds removed
  • 1 fresh chili pepper or more coarsely chopped (adjust to taste more or less)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1 medium sized lemon (adjust to taste)
  • 4-6 large basil leaves
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • ½ cup coconut milk (optional)
  • 2 peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 courgette

To make:

  1. Soak the skewers for an hour – or more if you have time – to ensure they do not burn
  2. Blend the red pepper, jalapeno pepper, chili pepper, garlic, basil, oregano, and onions in a food processor or blender. Add olive oil and coconut milk to make a liquid marinade.
  3. Mix in smoked paprika, lemon juice black and or white pepper.
  4. Trim the chicken thighs of any excess fat and pat dry with a cloth or paper napkin. Cut chicken thighs into 2-inch chunk.
  5. Season with salt and pepper then marinade the chicken by placing in bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
  6. Cut the veggies into large chunks ready to thread onto the skewers.
  7. Thread the chicken and alternate vegetables, making sure that the whole skewer is covered.
  8. Remove excess marinade and reserve.
  9. Light the barbecue and ensure the coals have reached the optimum temperature.
  10. Place chicken on the barbecue and brush with oil to prevent it from sticking. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, rotating for even cooking.

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Another tasty recipe for our vegetarian friends (Bella the bunny only likes vegetables) is our green veggie burger.

The ingredients you need are:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 250g bag spinach
  • 5 slices white bread (blitzed to breadcrumbs)
  • Grating of nutmeg
  • 100g mature cheddar
  • 40g parmesan
  • 1-2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp plain flour


  1. Heat half the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onions for about 10 mins until pale and soft, then leave to cool a little.
  2. Finely chop the spinach in a food processor and tip into a bowl. Add the cooled onion, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, cheddar and Parmesan, and mash together. Add the beaten egg, a little at a time (you may not need all of it), until the mixture holds together. Divide into eight and shape into fat burgers.
  3. Put the flour in a shallow bowl, season well and dip the burgers into the flour to coat. Store in a plastic container between layers of baking parchment. Either chill until ready to cook, or freeze.
  4. Light up the barbecue and cook for about 5-7 mins each side until browned all over. Serve in the crusty rolls, with a couple of slices of tomato, ketchup and sweet potato fries on the side, if you like.

These recipes are fun to make from scratch with the kids, although more time consuming than buying from the shops. We love getting children excited about cooking and healthy eating – and how great it is to eat fresh, knowing where all the ingredients come from.

For more tasty barbecue recipes and tips, check out the page at: National Barbecue Week recipes

Hope you enjoy and have a wonderful Bank Holiday Monday!


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