This post is written in collaboration with Iceland
Hello my angels – welcome back to my blog!
I am so so so so excited to start blogging again properly. This month has been CRAZY – but the second I started to sit down and write this post, I got this flood of excitement to get back to tapping away at my laptop, sharing all my thoughts on everything I love.
But today’s post is about my all time favourite subject. No it’s not puppies… but it is food.
As you will know if you have followed my blog for a while – I love food. And one of the favourite brands to work with in the past year has been Iceland. This was my 3rd Iceland event and I couldn’t have been more excited!
If you wanted to catch up on other events I have been to with Iceland, then I would recommend reading these two posts – the first one is all about my ‘School of Fish’ day and my first impressions of Iceland (and my complete change in opinion) and the second is from their #Feaster – and their spin on Easter cooking!!
I absolutely love working with Iceland – for many reasons – but mainly because whenever I attend an Iceland event, the food is sublime. Like, seriously mind blowing.
The event I went to last week was a barbecue summer special and I honestly couldn’t belive the foods we were cooking on a BBQ – from eggs, to cheesecake, chocolate on burgers, a chicken cooked in a washing machine, broccoli, lobster tails…
Getting hungry? Just wait for the photos…
A bit about Iceland:
For anyone who doesn’t know about Iceland Stores – let me just give you a few little facts and figures about why they are a fabulous brand and why I put my trust into them and their products (and why you should do too!)
They launched in 1970, and is one of “Britain’s fastest-grpwing and most innovative retailers”, which started selling loose frozen food. They have now appointed award winning Chef Neil Nugent (who I LOVE – he honestly makes the best food I have ever eaten), and he oversees all their food development and has really made me see the #PowerofFrozen.
I now will NOT host a dinner party without a trip to Iceland first as it has completely changed my life – being able to cook full meals from frozen so that I can still chat to everyone who is arriving – mind blowing, game changing.
Ok but back to facts and BBQs.
For anyone interested in why Iceland is a really good choice, have a little read of the below facts sent over to me :
Taste: A blind taste test by 32 UK chefs showed that there were no significant difference between eight frozen products and their fresh equivalents. In some instances, it was better!
Less Waste: 4.2 million tonnes of waste is created each year due to factors such as purchasing more food than necessary, frozen food tackles this problem head-on!
#TooCoolForPlastic: 12 million tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year. Iceland are the first major retailer to commit to being plastic-free across their own label range by 2023.
Palm Oil: First major retailer to commit to saying NO to palm oil, removing palm oil from all their own label products including a completely ‘palm free’ Christmas 2018!
(** AMAAZINGGG ***)
Health: Keeping healthier options in the freezer such as fruit, vegetables, lean meat & fish aims to help families choose a more balanced diet in line with government recommendations.
Variety: Fish, BBQ, No Bull Burger, Mumbai Street Co, Luxury Range, Slimming World, Pizza Express, as well as plenty of fresh, food cupboard and bakery options. There’s something delicious for everyone at amazing value.
Convenience: The UK’s best online shopping service, free home delivery of in-store purchases over £25 and no “white-pack” economy products, just great quality and great prices!
Awards: ‘Business Initiative of the Year’ for the new Iceland Kitchen in Deeside (The Grocer Gold Awards, 2017), ‘Online Supermarket of the Year’ (Which? 2016 and 2017), Neil Nugent: UK Food Hero Award (Quality Food Awards, 2017)
Ok now onto the food porn:
A bit more about the event:
As I said before – this month’s event was all about barbecuing. Also – side point – I always thought barbecue was spelt with a ‘q’, barbeque, so we all learn something new everyday… where does the Q come from in BBQ then?
ANYWAY – the event was basically a little summer garden party, filled with incredible food and fabulous friends who I love catching up with at these events. It is so so nice seeing the same faces (and a few new ones) at the Iceland events. We sit and eat and drink and they are always my most favourite events!
When I arrived we were offered a fabulous mix of drinks and then it was straight into the BBQ lessons!
So Neil the Chef, is not just a ‘UK Food Hero Award’ winner, but is also a real life BBQ award winner. So we know we were in safe hands.
We learnt so many different barbecue techniques and heat management – which I never realised was a thing. I just naively thought that you got a BBQ, lit it, and cooked on it. Oh no – you need to have the air holes in the right place and you can have 3 different stations on the same BBQ – hot, medium, cooler – so you can sear, cook and hold. Then there is direct and indirect cooking. Direct is just how normally you would see people cooking on a BBQ. Indirect is when you place the coals on opposite sides of the barbie, and put foil in the middle. Place the lid on with the air holes down the middle to cause a convection current – which is the idea way to roast a chicken on the BBQ… not to mention a CHEESECAKE!?
Probably my favourite dish of the day was the eggs – I know that I should be saying burgers or actually the lobster was my fav – but I can’t lie – the BBQed eggs tasted so so amazing, and so easy to do.
If you prick a little hole in them (use a drawing pin or something similar to make a tiny hole) and then just place them on the rack and rotate – they are honestly divine!
He also showed us how to cook a CHICKEN in a WASHING MACHINE. Crazy? Yes. Delicious? Oh my god yes. If you wrap a whole chicken up in clay (covering it first in baking paper so it doesn’t touch the clay) and then you can buy an washing machine drum … (maybe off amazon, eBay, or somewhere like that) and you heat it up with coals etc etc. and pop your clay chicken in there for a few hours and it will come out totally and utterly divine.
We also learnt how to smoke your food for a bit more flavour, using wood chips of hickory and beach. If you pop them onto the coals, on a low heat (around 120 degrees) otherwise they will just evaporate and all the smokey flavour will just go to the top of the lid rather than on the food. Top Tip : soak the chips in water before to make them last a bit longer.
Moving onto the lobster tails – these were amazing! These were finished off by popping hay onto the barbecue to give them an amazing smokey flavour. GENIUS.
I honestly learnt so many amazing techniques – I can’t wait to recreate this all at home! They hay Neil used was just from Pets At Home – which we have loads of at my parents house as my sisters have rabbits and a guinea pig – easy.
Tails getting papped :
One of my favourite dishes of the day – that I can’t WAIT to recreate this summer was the Wagu burgers with the cheese skirt.
These burgers were cooked in a pan over the BBQ – to stop any cheese escaping. You pop in the cheese into the pan and fry that till it bubbles. Then you pop in one of the Wagu burgers on top – make sure you have already cooked them on the BBQ first (you can get two luxury Wagu beef burgers for £3 – SO AMAZING).
Then you squirt on some American mustard and then flip them over to fry the mustard. The cheese will then fold down around the burger forming a skirt and OH MY GOD THEY ARE THEY BEST THINGS EVER WITH THE FRIED MUSTARD CHEESE BURGER COMBO
We finished off the day with some barbecued cheese cake, served with barbecued pineapple. I really feel like I can barbecue anything now..
I had the most wonderful afternoon in the sunshine and I am so grateful to be invited to these amazing events.
I am already looking forward to the next one (if they will have me back!).
What is your favourite thing to cook on the BBQ? Do you have any tricks and tips?
Thanks for reading,
This post was written in paid collaboration with Iceland.