Saturday, 3 September 2011

Welcome to my BBQ – or Braai – or Barbecue ...

Karen's book -
details on her site
 ...  whichever continent you’re on or wherever you live come and join us at KarenGs Labor Day BBQ ...

Karen has a wonderful giraffe picture as her header ... she has a huge family, lots of interesting friends – publishers, authors, crafters, entrepreneurs and bloggers  ... so come on over and join the party. .. perhaps pick up a copy of her book: Farm Girl.

You’ll find Karen here – with the simple rules to the party ... bring some goodies, mix in with the conversation, find new friends and followers and generally enjoy the day.

I took a platter of stuffed mushrooms, some vino (of course), and a fruit salad with me to Karen’s ... here at my place you’ll find the main constituents to a BBQ – hot coals, plenty of cold drinks, chairs and loungers, rugs for the grass, cool shade under the trees, and a trestle ready for everyone’s contributions ... mine are:

Herby bread – a stand by for me ... a baguette sliced right through, each slice spread with a herb butter mix (I usually use chopped chives, drops of lemon juice, sprinkle of cayenne – you can add in parsley etc –your taste!); wrap in foil, bake in the oven, open to crisp up before taking out ...   (I don’t use garlic anymore – I find it can be too much especially if there’s lots elsewhere).

Various marinated meats and hunks of veggie – ready to be BBQd; some hummus, tzatziki and crudités to whet our appetite;  fresh green salad, mix of tomatoes straight from the bush, potato salad ...

.. followed by strawberries picked this morning from the overflowing fruits of delight at Sharnfold’s Farm Shop ...

see note in text
Conversation mixers – vino, beers, lemonade, our English squashes, sparkling water, elderflower presse ...   (see The Melton Cheeseboard, Leicester, UK – where they state: made 100% naturally from handpicked elderflowers grown on our plantations, whole fresh lemons and lightly carbonated Belvoir spring water.  This gives it an exquisitely delicate scented taste – serve chilled.)

As I love my snippets of history, a look at life from a different perspective, I’ll add a note about Bank Holidays that I omitted from my previous post .... why are they called ‘Bank’ Holidays (which Lee from Tossing It Out asked) ...

Tomatoes to choose from ...
The Bank of England prior to 1834 observed about 33 saints’ days and religious festivals as holidays which was then reduced to just four:  1st May (May Day), 1st November (All Saints Day), Good Friday and Christmas Day;  (not sure why – but the name Bank Holiday stuck).

The Bank Holidays Act of 1871 (England, Wales and Ireland) specified new days:  Easter Monday, Whit Monday, first Monday in August, Boxing Day/St Stephen’s Day .... Good Friday and Christmas Day were already recognised as common law holidays – and had become customary holidays long before records began.  (Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday is the holiday celebrated the day after Pentecost  (Whitsun) – this has since changed ... don’t ask!).

Ready to be dipped in cream and sugar - if that's your taste
Come and enjoy the feast – the warm weekend – it looks like the sun will burn off the early sea mist that came down yesterday ... meet new friends, find new blogs ... relax ...

Dear Mr Postman – our August Bank Holiday weekend has gone, but I’m sure we can enjoy the celebrations over at Karen’s Labor Day BBQ – come and meet everyone .. it’s quiet with my mother for now.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


  1. Ja,ja, we are getting ready to put a lamb rib on the braai right now! Yesterday I bought strawberries and they are starting to bear fruit!

  2. Hi Hilary - Are you related to the Melton Cheeseboard? This summer I am seeing elderberry extract used all over. The first time was in a Peach Bellini - lovely, lovely. Enjoy your holiday weekend!

  3. @ Liesl .. I could do with hopping on a plane and joining you - perhaps I'll do that tomorrow?! Sounds delicious .. and strawberry plants - looks like a good season ahead. Enjoy ...

    @ Betsy - Noooo - my husband's (?) name - I think he double barrelled it! But there's the complete untruth about the connection with Melton Mowbray pork pies ... so when I saw the Melton Cheeseboard shop I just had to use their picture. The village of Melton is in the Midlands .. sadly not near here. Though where their plantations are ... amuses me to think!

    Are you using lots of elderberry extract too - fairly obvious, I guess .. it is a delicious cordial and presse .. exquisite smells emanate from it ...

    You enjoy your Labour weekend .. we've had ours - boo hoo! Lovely to see you - say Hi to Pete, Cheers for now .. Hilary

    Thanks Liesl and Betsy .. Hilary

  4. Hi Hilary! Thanks for the shout out and linking to my blog. The BBQ is going great! Lots of wonderful food to share and new people dropping in daily. Thanks for your support! My son always calls a BBQ a braai-- which I'm sure you are familiar with!

  5. Hi Karen .. pleasure, especially as I couldn't join in last year .. as I was in a tis-was!

    It looks like it's going great - I've been around a few other blogs and said hi etc ..

    Your son would know re the Braai .. strange how we easily adopt words (and phrases) that I haven't dropped after nearly 20 years of being back!

    So good to see you here supporting your own party! - thank you!! Enjoy your Labour Day weekend with family and friends .. Hilary

  6. Except for the meat (I'm a vegan) the food sounds wonderful. Funny, you're the first BBQ person I've visited today who has even mentioned food. Odd, huh?

  7. Hi, Hilary. Nice to meet you here at Karen's shindig. (Can hardly wait to taste your mushrooms!) Matter of fact, all your food sounds lovely, and I like your historical tidbits, as well. Count me in as your newest follower.

  8. Hi Diane .. maybe I pay attention to the instructions and treat them as gold-dust - 'that lady' has 10 children .. and boy I don't want to get it wrong!!

    I'm sure I was meant to write a BBQ fest - anyway I have .. wish it was going on now! I'm not too keen on the meat .. but expect most others are .. and the veggies etc always go down well.

    Have a great Labour Day weekend .. Hilary

  9. Hi Susan .. I hope you pick this message up - I'm afraid I can't leave a message on your blog .. it won't let me!

    If you could unembed your comment box that seems to release it for me and many others - I can't email you .. as it's not your profile.

    Really good to meet you .. and I love the word shindig! .. my mushrooms are good to go!!

    Lovely to have you along as a new follower .. cheers for now - Hilary

  10. I've been BBQ-ing at Karen's too. It's the only BBQ I've managed this year. Not the best of summers! I took some salmon madras style. Hope you got some. Cheers.

  11. Wonderful post Hilary, see you at the BBQ.

    Have fun

  12. Your bread sounds wonderful, Hilary! I'll have to try and make some myself.

  13. @ Ros .. that's great - it's fun isn't it .. and like you, after the picnic for that wedding, is the only BBQ I've been to as well.

    Now your salmon madras sounded very good indeed - I'm definitely going to go over and try that .. thanks.

    @ Yvonne .. many thanks - and I'll see you there .. and we can have some fun.

    @ Sharon .. it's such an easy and delicious addition .. hope you enjoy yours .. let me know how it goes, when you get to make it.

    Cheers everyone - continue on enjoying the Labor Day BBQ - Hilary

  14. It rained in Wales. Although this morning has dawned a little brighter. We still managed to have a good day though!

    Hope the rest of the weekend stays good for you.

  15. Oh I am getting hungry now. That sounds all good. We are preparing our terras for the summer and hopefully will have lots of BBQ's The kiwi's love BBQ. Is the word braai in your title afrikaans Braien was slang for baking were I used to live in Holland. I will hop over to karen and have a look.
    Arohanui marja

  16. @ Anne - I thought it might be wet further north .. glad to hear that today is brighter. So far so good here - but I think we're in for some rain later! Enjoy the rest of Sunday.

    @ Marja - I know .. I get hungry reading peoples' recipes and want to recreate them!

    I can imagine what's happening down south - I remember that from my South African days.

    Braaivleis .. is the Afrikaans for 'grill meat' .. barbecue meat .. and is now used by the English in southern Africa - usually shortened to Braai (for the meal .. come to a braai).

    The Dutch and the English both had much to do with colonising Southern Africa - and in SA they were there first in 1752, establishing a refreshment centre at the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Town).. a century and half after the Cape Sea Route was found to the Spice Islands (Indonesia area).

    Enjoy your visit over at KarenG's blog .. well worth it ..

    Thanks Anne and Marja .. Hilary

  17. I'm glad Lee asked that question, about Bank Holidays, because I wanted to know too.

    Very interesting!


  18. How wonderful to share in Karen's BBQ with you.

    Hope alls well with you and your Mum.

    Best wishes


  19. Hi Hilary! I've come from KarenG's bbq! Wanted to come say hello and meet you and visit your blog! The food looks fantastic! Yum! :)

  20. @ Teresa .. well it certainly gave me a reason to find out .. just hadn't thought about it! Mind you Bank Holidays can be muddling .. so many changes, and so many slightly different around the world - I was probably more interested Messing about in the Creek (previous post) or getting stuck into the food and vino at Karen's BBQ! Good to see you.

    @ Jamara .. many thanks - it is good sharing Karen's BBQ - fun idea .. and we're well thank you (Mum quiet, but that's the way it goes).

    All the best to you both and your Mama too ..

    @ Betsy - lovely to meet you - I popped over and met your 5 men!

    Great to see you and I'll be around catching up on life a la Betsy!

    Thanks Teresa, Jarmara and Betsy .. enjoy the rest of Labour Day .. Jarmara and I (the UKers) will think of last weekend .. Hilary

  21. And to think all these years and I thought "bank" holidays meant you could work and bank the time for later.

    Happy BBQ'ing!

  22. Oh it will always be a braai to me, I will never get used to all these other 'strange' names LOL Diane

  23. I am sure to check Karen G's book. those tomatoes and strawberies look so inviting. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Ah, the barbecue. We are very fond of them over here, though hot coals are not as much in evidence these days, as many (I confess, including our house) have gone for a gas grill. Perhaps Rumpole had the most amusing take on the BBQ. I wish I could find the exact quote, but it was something on the order of opining that his son choose to cook outside on some sort of barbarian implement when he had a perfectly good cooker inside the house!

  25. Hi Hilary,
    Wow a BBQ. Ah yes, I remember having a BBQ in England. That would be that one glorious day in ummm...April.
    And of course, they have 'Labour' Day BBQ's in Canada, as well. And in Canada, they spell words in correct English :)
    And it seems to me, that 'banks' are always on holiday over here.
    Cheers and without going into details, I also enlightened Lee that 'tossing' has another meaning, here :)
    All the best and yay for a bit of decent weather!

  26. Sounds like some yummy food will be at this BBQ. Great post Hilary!

  27. I wish the BBQ were real. I love stuffed mushrooms and the meats sound great.

    Thanks for the explanation on the Bank holidays. Interesting how much influence the banks had, but I guess they still do.

    Tossing It Out

  28. Hi Hilary -

    The bread sounds yummy! Save a piece for me. :)


  29. Oh, wow, it looks like so much fun and with so much great food...

  30. Hilary, great spread you have over here! I'm starving after reading your delectable descriptions ;D Fun post and as always informative!

  31. @ Joylene .. now wouldn't that be nice - bank our time for later - excellent idea ... sadly time wait for no man or woman - just benefits the Banks painfully!!

    @ Diane .. I'm like you - I still use phrases and words that are South African .. so very happy to share a braai with you!

    @ Munir .. Karen's book I'm certain will be a very interesting read - I hope you like the look of it and buy it.

    @ Susan .. I suspect that's the way it is in most homes .. but the taste is so very different especially if charcoal is mixed with wood. I don't know that story about Rumpole .. I must remember and try and find out .. sounds a fun snippet within the book. Thanks for telling us.

    @ Gary - well you're so right aren't you - not a v good summer. I remembered about the English spelling for the Canadians!

    Banks always on holiday here - yes probably! Did you now - I bet Lee was pleased to learn of that other description!

    Well the weather disappeared yesterday and today looks much the same - here's to the summer that's gone for 2011!!

    @ Susanne - thank you .. glad you're sharing with us.

    @ Lee - everyone's food sounded delicious - great party we'd all make! Now that would be a blog fest?!

    Pleasure - glad you asked about the Bank Holiday name .. I hadn't picked it up .. so it's good to have it added in. I expect the history of the banks tells much too - they were major institutions then ... funding everything left, right and centre! (Not much changed then).

    @ Susan .. with pleasure I'll save a warming slice of herby bread for you. Good to see sharing the BBQ with us ..

    @ Clarissa .. thank you - should be a good party with lots of conversation ...

    @ Ella .. hope your Labor Day included some down time - today perhaps. Like you if bloggers post about food .. it can be quite frustrating as my tummy tells me no not yet!

    Thanks so much everyone .. Joylene, Diane, Munir, Susan, Gary, Susanne, Lee, Susan, Clarissa and Ella - Enjoy Labor Day itself .. or the week ahead for the rest of us .. Hilary

  32. Yay for the BBQ! I do love stuffed mushrooms and, of course, wine. I've met some great people over there already!

  33. wow this post made me so hungry! Nice to meet you! could you pass the hummus please?

  34. Hello! Just popping in from Karen's barbecue. I'm Janice from jabblog in Berkshire. It's blowing a gale today and the sun is trying to shine in that desperate British way it sometimes shows in September.

  35. @ Talli - yay for the BBQ - could we have the weather for it today!? Great that you're enjoying the stuffed mushrooms .. and of course vino = essential addition.

    you're right there's a good crew over at KarenG's .. and a few have arrived safely here for their next tuck in!

    @ Katie - over from France .. good to see you and of course I'll pass the hummus, together with the cruditees ... some crisps for the kids?

    @ Janice - lovely to meet you and thanks for coming by .. just up the road too - it is as you say blowing a gale down here too .. sadly I suspect it's Autumn!

    Definitely not BBQ weather - perhaps we all need a holiday in South Africa for a braai ...

    Mind you about 30 years ago in South Africa (+/- today - early Sept) .. it snowed in Johannesburg .. first time for years!!

    Cheers Talli, Katie and Janice .. enjoy our normal week! and have fun .. Hilary

  36. wouldn't it be fun if any of this were for 'real'?
    Pity we can't have a massive bloggers' bbq party on the beach.

  37. I wish that Karen's BBQ were literal. Your food sounds delicious. You haven't written about food for a while.

    You had your Bank Holiday last weekend and we have our Labor Day weekend. It's interesting how each country chooses its celebrations based on history and religion.

  38. > The Bank of England prior to 1834 observed about 33 saints’ days and religious festivals as holidays
    Ahhh ... the good old days ;)

  39. Hi Friko .. I sure think there are a few of us feel the same way - perhaps next summer we could try an English one to start with ... place: your castle?!

    But a beach blogging party for real - would be wonderful.

    @ Theresa .. Friko above is of the same mind - as am I .. if one of wins the millions lotto then I suggest they buy air tickets for various bloggers and we could just party together!

    We changed our Bank Holiday from early August - when the factory workers in the old days had their two week breaks .. but see my reply to JD...

    @ JD - now that would be wonderful wouldn't it - 33 Saints' days ... as holidays ..

    One of the 4 remaining Saints' Day - at the end of November is your Thanksgiving Day ... we lost ours in the UK ... too cold I guess and too near Christmas ..

    Thanks Friko, Theresa and JD - interesting how these three comments rolled into each other .. cheers - Hilary

  40. Hi Hilary - thanks for visiting my humble abode and leaving a nice comment . . . . and for following. I have just signed up as your follower also. Great to 'meet' you at Karen G's BBQ which was a great success and full of interesting and friendly people. Hope we meet in BlogLand regularly and there is always a cup of coffee at my place whenever you like. Eddie

  41. I consulted the Rumpole expert in our household, and while we can't pinpoint it to the exact story, it's a late one, when Rumpole & She Who Must, etc. visit son Nick in Florida.

  42. I want to thank you for bringing so much good stuff to the BBQ that I could get away with a bag of chips. People like me count on people like you. Cheers!

  43. @ Eddie .. many thanks - good to see you here .. yes Karen's BBQ has been a great success .. and I'm sure we'll meet again (as they say) .. and a cup of coffee sounds just wonderful!

    @ Susan .. consulted the Rumpole expert - well that was definitely a good thought .. and they came up with a very sensible thought -- BBQs would have been happening in Florida, and at that stage were probably almost unknown here. Useful detective work ... thanks!

    @ Murr - good to meet you .. and delighted you feel well sustained here .. well you've been busy painting and hiking .. can't expect you to cook too!

    Cheers Eddie, Susan and Murr - lovely to see you here .. Hilary

  44. I like the sound of the herby bread. I wonder how it would taste with the strawberries combined and cream cheese maybe? Mmm I love Elderflower presse too.

  45. Well I just want the strawberries and cream! Yum. Yum.

  46. @ Madeleine .. I'm sure the herby bread would be washed down well with some vino, then the strawberries and cream would taste perfect! Elderflower presse is rather delicious isn't it.

    @ Matthew - thank you ...

    @ Ellie .. no problems plenty of strawberries and cream left you're so right yum, yum ---- after today they'll be battered to smithereens - pity ... the Indian Summer from Saturday should have continued.

    Cheers Madeleine, Matthew and Ellie - and thanks for the visit - Hilary

  47. I am incredibly hungry after reading this post! And I know where I could experience a death by cheese!LOL, at the Melton's Cheese place, wow, 120 different varieties? :) It all sounds so wonderful, what a nice gathering, too. Unfortunately, we've had the worst outbreak of wildfires here in central Texas ever recorded..I could see smoke in every direction from my house yesterday. Not sure if grills are to blame, but our drought is so bad this summer...
    Hope you had a wonderful time and met many new friends!! :)

  48. Hi Hilary, thanks so much for visiting my blog! Your blog is so interesting and fun..mine seems so boring in comparison! So double thanks for stopping in. I love having blog friends in different parts of the world. I know I'll learn a ton of great things from yours. Have a wonderful week!

  49. Hi Hilary, nice to visit your blog and this very tasty post! thank you for visiting mine, & for your comments. I hope you have a good trip to NZ and enjoy our beautiful spring.

  50. @ Scarlett - the cheese shop and its selection does look rather good doesn't it .. death by cheese - I think I might prefer that to death by chocolate!

    The fires - are you in that area too .. they do look particularly horrid - and seem to be causing a lot of damage and even death. I hope you and the family can stay safe ...

    Yes it's been a great party! glad you enjoyed the company ..

    @ Yaya - pleasure .. delighted you've enjoyed the visit .. and I shall enjoy learning lots of Greek things .. This world of blogging is great isn't it .. you too have a good week ..

    @ Alex - thanks ..

    @ Juliet - great - glad you enjoyed the visit over to this blog .. sadly I'm not coming to NZ yet - but I'd love to be coming out to enjoy your Spring!! Love Spring.

    Thanks Scarlett, Yaya, Alex and Juliet - have fun weeks .. Hilary

  51. Good thing I'm going to have lunch in a few minutes, reading this post makes me HUNGRY! As always, a delightful post, thanks for this. I just love to get my "English living" fix once in a while - and start to think about having another holiday in your lovely country ;-))

  52. Hi Frauke .. lovely to see you - your quilt leaf .. and the background - what fantastic colours and so superb - and a sight to see.

    Thanks .. sorry hope you've had lunch now - I have .. but nothing as relaxed as this BBQ!

    Do come over .. it'd be good to see you here .. I'd love to do some more exploring of Germany .. I've some great friends in Hamburg - and I'd love to do the Olympic Park in Munich - so I can see where I was way back then!

    Cheers for now .. Hilary

  53. So now I've just discovered the beautiful Sharnfold Farms. I bookmarked it just to go back and browse it!!

    Oh, the food you list here that you took to the BBQ makes me want to be a better cook. I think my daughter would appreciate it! Well, maybe I'd just like to hire you, or someone like you....!!!!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  54. Hi Ann .. you're right Sharnfold is lovely - though I expect it's taken a battering these past few days with the wind. In fact you probably know more about the site than I do - I just go visit!!

    Glad you enjoyed the BBQ fest .. it's been fun being around and meeting a few new people - seems to have gone in a flash!

    I'd be delighted to come over and cook for you sometime - I'm very haphazard!! but enjoy my food ..

    Have a lovely Thursday .. Hilary

  55. Great idea! It's a great way to meet people of like interest.

    I'm so far behind in my blogging world that I see there are nearly a hundred comments on the linked blog. You were wise to get there early!

  56. Hi Amy .. thanks I feel honoured you've called in here .. Karen has an amazing following .. it's a great crowd.

    Sometimes it's fortunate that we're ahead me time to catch up!

    Have a peaceful weekend .. Hilary