It was an exciting weekend for us here in Yorkshire! The cyclists in the Tour de France began their long race riding up dale, down dale and through many towns and villages across Yorkshire. It was wonderful to see our beautiful county on center stage in front of the rest of the world.
There were hundreds and hundreds of people lining the route, yellow shirts on and flags waving. A full on show of support, but I would expect nothing less from Yorkshire folk! It’s no secret that this is the most friendly region in England. So listen up tourists! You are missing out on something special if you travel to the UK and don’t visit Yorkshire. London isn’t the center of the Universe you know. I’m sorry, but it has to be said. I’ll prove it to you:
We couldn’t miss any of the action on Saturday morning, so we braved the road closures, put on our walking shoes and went out to watch the opening procession. Miraculously, it was sunny on the day the sun was supposed to shine!
We chose a spot close to an ice cream van (how convenient!), so Scarlett could entertain herself while we waited. She loved watching the French policemen and all of the support vehicles go past. We knew the cyclists were getting close when the helicopters began hovering over us. The whole thing was over in about 30 seconds, but it was a great experience getting into the spirit of the event and cheering on the racers with the rest of the crowd.
We ended Saturday night at a 4th of July barbecue, which is extra fun to have in England. I always feel rebellious celebrating our independence in the country we won independence from! Our good friends Rebecca and Jason pulled out all the stops and put on a great spread. Jason faithfully manned the barbecue the entire night, but I would expect nothing less from a Texan! I should also state for the record that he makes a killer Kansas City barbecue sauce.
I’ve got some great Americans in my life over here, which really helps me deal with homesickness when it strikes. We have loads of fun introducing all of our British friends to the American traditions, and of course, the food! We all know this is what they really come for.
I can’t finish this post without leaving you with a recipe. I made BBQ baked beans yesterday for our 4th of July event and used my homemade BBQ sauce. I’ve made several different barbecue sauce recipes over the years and have come up with my own version.
This is a traditional, tomato-based recipe with a perfect balance between tang, sweet and spice. The easiest of barbecue sauce recipes simply requires you to mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan and simmer until thickened.
I’ve taken it one small step further with the addition of onion at the beginning, but the same process follows. It’s worth taking the time to slowly sweat and caramelize the onion. This gives the barbecue sauce a solid flavor foundation. I add hot sauce, chili powder and mustard for a spicy kick and apple cider vinegar for plenty of tang. The sweetness from brown sugar and apricot jam balance these strong flavors. And whatever you do, don’t skip the Worcestershire sauce!
Nothing beats homemade BBQ sauce. Smother pulled pork and chicken thighs with it, slow cook beans in it, make pizza with it, add it to sandwiches, the options are endless!
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 white onion, minced
- Pinch sugar
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon mild chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups (470 ml) ketchup
- 1½ cups (355 ml) water
- ¼ cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
- ½ cup (120 ml) apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) prepared yellow mustard
- 3 tablespoons treacle or molasses
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco or Frank's Cayenne Pepper Sauce)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce:
- ¼ cup (60 ml) apricot jam or preserves
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion, toss to coat in the oil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Sprinkle over a pinch of sugar. Cook the onions slowly, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic salt, ground allspice, mild chili powder and black pepper to the onion mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
- Add the ketchup, water, light brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, yellow mustard, treacle (or molasses), hot sauce, worcestershire sauce and the apricot jam. Whisk the mixture gently to combine all of the ingredients.
- Bring the mixture to the boil, whisking often so the ingredients don't burn.
- Reduce the heat to medium/medium low and simmer the mixture uncovered for about 45 minutes until thickened.
- Store the cooled sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.