Food On The Road: Recipe No. 1 – Beef Gulash

So, we had this idea in Autumn last year that we’d each have a little corner of the website where we could let people into our thoughts and experiences a bit more. It was a nice idea I think. Unfortunately, the reality is, it’s March and this is my introduction to my corner. I promise to be a lot more regular and to reply as much as I can if anyone has any words for me.

Food on The Road: An Intro

Since I was a little boy I have been told how important it is to eat well. My parents live in a Barn down in Devon, and are pretty wholesome folk. They grow their own veg and locally source their meat. And that element of sustainability/self-sufficiency has always been a part of their dream. A dream that has rubbed off on me a bit, I guess. And since we started as a band, we’ve done everything we can to stay sustainable and self-sufficient whilst touring. The first couple of tours in Country’s little car, and accommodation was a daily challenge, either sleeping on friends floors or asking at gigs if anyone had a roof for us. And we loved it. We were touring like that last year. On the Snowball Tour, with Pete Roe, Peggy Sue, Alessi’s Ark and Sons of Noel & Adrian. But we did get ill. Exhausted from lack of a good nights sleep and malnourished from Service station food.

We’ve been on the road for about 2 years now and we’ve learnt a couple of things along the way. Sleep well, Eat well, Do good gigs. All 3 things are kind of dependent on each other. So on this tour, not for the first time, I’m cooking a meal for everyone each day. 15 boys including Mick the driver (who is a great lad). We’ve got some hobs, a rice cooker, and an oven. I set up a little station in the venue whilst they’re rigging the stage and get cooking, Glasgow was fajitas, Manchester was pasta with 3 different sauces, Wolverhampton steak and chips, Newcastle sausages and mash and tonight in Liverpool it’ll be a fish paella. I find it a healthy distraction in the day, and so far, touch wood, no-one has fallen ill on this tour.

Feel free to suggest local markets or good places to get fresh produce. We went to a great Butchers in Wolverhampton on Saturday who really hooked us up with some good steaks and gave us an earful about northern soul. Which was awesome. We’re on a tight budget, so nothing too fancy. And if you fancy helping out, either with the shopping or the cooking, let me know, I could really do with some help some days.

I’ll be posting up the occasional recipe of a dish that has been a success on the road. Please try it out and let me know if it works. This is actually the first recipe I’ve ever written so I don’t know how well I’ve explained myself…

Beef Gulash

1kg Beef
1 large Eggplant
1 bag of baby carrots
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 whole tomatoes
1 red onion
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
A glass of red wine
200g rice
1 tbsp Vegetable bouillion
Salt Pepper
25g of butter

Step One

Chop up the onions loosely. Most sharp edged things cut onions with enough force. When knives haven’t been around I’ve used my house key or even a bank card once! Same with the garlic, chop that stuff up. A little knob of butter in the cooker. As soon as it melts, throw in the onions and garlic. They’ll sizzle away a bit. Once they’ve gone a bit transparent chuck in the Beef

Step Two

Move the beef around so that it cooks evenly. Keep an eye on it but realistically it’ll be cooking away for about 10 mins which is the perfect amount of time to prepare everything else. Sprinkle the Veg Bouillion over the beef and hydrate with some of the wine, keeping everything moist

Step Three

Wash and chop the tomatoes into 8 segments. This is easy, just half half then half again. Take the skin off the Eggplant and chop into similar size chunks as the tomoatoes. Wash the carrots and half. Throw the tin tomatoes into the cooker until it’s simmering

Step Four

Throw the vegetables into the cooker and give it a good stir. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper along with whatever’s left of the wine. Stir. Then leave the lid off the cooker and let the moisture escape

Step Five

Wash the rice. This gets the starch out. Easiest to do this by using a mug if you don’t have a strainer. Fill a mug ¾ full with rice, then fill with water. Put your hand over the top and shake it over a sink. Turn it upside down, letting the white starchy water drain out without losing any rice. Once washed put it into the litttle pot ready to go inside the main pot. Repeat the process until all the rice is washed then cover the rice in the little pot with water. So it’s all submerged but not too much

Step Six

Let the rice simmer, until the water has evaporated. Should only take about 10-15 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and a bit of butter and mix together

Step Seven

Dish Up. Warm the Tortillas. Lay them down on a plate, spoon a portion of rice as a bed, then the Meat and Veg, then garnish with a green salad

Step Eight

Enjoy. Preferably with friends, family or lovers and always with laughter and good times

B. x

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One comment

  1. charlyWP says:

    Hi there, I’m from Bavaria, Germany, and I love you liking Pretzels as these are also one of my favorites. One nice thing to go along with pretzels is what we call “Obazda” (cheese paste). Sounds strange, ain’t it? But nonetheless it tastes much better than it reads, haha. Here’s what you need for 4 persons (sorry for using “gramms”):
    – 200 gramms soft cheese Camembert
    – 30 gramms Butter
    – 1 onion
    – 2 soup spoons of sour creme
    – 1 tea spoon paprika powder sweet
    – 1/4 tea spoon paprika powder hot
    – 1/4 tea spoon salt
    – a bit of black pepper powder
    – a bit of caraway
    – a bit of lager beer (the rest goes later with the pretzels and the Obazda ;-)
    Take the cheese and the butter out of the fridge long enough so both become warm and soft. Then cut the onion in half but in a way that you can cut one half later into rings. The other half will be diced nicely into very small pieces. Get everything together (except the first half of the onion) and mix it thoroughly. Then put a bit of the beer into it to make it creamy (but not too much, otherwise you’ll lack the beer later). Taste it and make it more spicy, just how you like it. Then cut the first half of the onion into rings. Finally decorate the paste with the onion rings and, if you have it available, with parsley and chive. This is a very quick recipe (w/o the warming time), needs about 10 to 15 minutes (depends how quick you are cutting the onion). Enjoy it with pretzels and a good beer.
    Whenever you get to Bavaria go and visit one of our Beergardens or a typical bavarian restaurant. I bet you’ll like it.
    Cheers, Charly

  2. peefie.98.mas says:

    Ben.Oh Benji.If you ever need a shopper to help you,I am literally the worst person to go with. I havent a clue where anything is in a supermarket.HOWEVER, if I had known about you guys back when this was written,I mightve invited ye to come and have a shop in Superquinn. You dont have a clue what SQ is but it’s an Irish supermarket chain.Hear that, IRISH. We need you here in Ireland,preferably in the South(I.e.waterford/clonmel)and we need you quick sharpish. :)thanks for everything,Aoife x

  3. WhitneyKnowless says:

    … (cont) villages around Newark. Loads more great places, if you are ever around and need some help give me a shout!

  4. Anonymous says:

    If you ever come to somewhere around the East Midlands (nottinghamshire,derbyshire etc) then I would be happy to help Ben. My dad is a chef and the whole family are foodies! Bit crazy really, but anyway- we have lots of great local produce around us. Gonalston farm shop is a great one for Meat, Cheese, Veg and bread! Most of it is produced by them or locally. Another similar one is Welbeck, similar but a bit smaller, all produced on their estate. There are many historic cheese making villages around Newark. Loads more, need any help, give me a shout!

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