Chile’s contribution to the Hairy Bikers’ selection of world dishes – prawn ceviche.
THE World Cup isn’t just about football – it also gives the enterprising foodie reason to indulge in a global gastronomic odyssey. As England begin their tournament campaign with a match against the USA on June 12 in South Africa, just imagining the rich platter of goodies from all the countries they hope to meet is enough to make you forget there’s any football on at all.
Celebrity chefs the Hairy Bikers are currently on a nationwide comedy/culinary tour and the boys – Dave Myers and Simon King – have road tested a number of global delicacies in the name of international relations.
The duo have eaten their way through a selection of 32 World Cup-themed energy efficient recipes on the npower website (www.npower.com/smartcooking).
“The German one’s my favourite actually – it’s really good!” laughs Simon, aware that he’s leant his support to one of England football’s greatest rivals.
He’s talking about Bauernfruhstuck, the German dish on the website: A hearty dish made with sauteed potatoes, eggs, bacon and onion, which is straightforward to make.
It might not be the prettiest dish in our culinary world cup, but it gets the Hairy Bikers seal of approval – even if it comes from the country that made Paul Gascoigne cry in 1990.
Don’t worry though, these Englishmen haven’t lost their sense of national pride.
Another recipe they’ve tested is that traditional British favourite, the steak and ale pie. Dave reveals the secret to getting it just right.
“Just cook the basis of the pie for a long, long time, at low temperature,” he urges.
“Basically what you’re doing is making a beef stew. Put mushrooms in, put what you fancy in, but just let it cook for a long time – it’ll not dry out.”
You needn’t fork out for expensive steak either, adds Simon.
“Cheaper cuts of meat are often better for pies because they’re gelatinous and there’s a deeper flavour to them.”
With the stew made, pour it into an oven dish and pinch some rolled puff pastry over the top.
Then, says Dave, pop it all in the oven until the pastry is puffed up and golden – “just like a proud retriever” – ready for the big match.
Next up in their list of World Cup recipes are England’s first World Cup opponents, the USA.
American food might make you think of burgers, fries, and deep pan pizza, but there’s more to Stateside cooking than that.
Blueberry cheesecake is the US contribution to this international food party – and, if you get it in the oven before kick-off, you can be sampling your handy-work by halftime, say the Hairy Bikers.
They suggest that a good cheesecake “should wobble slightly when the tin is shaken” after coming out of the oven.
Of course it would be rude not to mention the World Cup hosts.
South African cuisine is perhaps best known for biltong (cured, dried meat), ostrich and boerewors (spiced, spiral sausages), but it’s a sugary surprise that plays up front for the Rainbow Nation in this tournament.
Pumpkin fritters, also known as pampoenkoekies, use the pumpkin as a supplement or alternative for flour.
These light teacakes will go down well whoever wins, and can be whipped up before the teams even get through the national anthems.
Dave and Simon suggest mixing up some cooked pumpkin, flour, cinnamon, salt, sugar and baking powder in a bowl before adding a couple of eggs and beating into a thick batter.
Then, heat some oil in a pan and fry globs of the batter on both sides, they say, until firm and golden.
With thousands of miles’ worth of globe-hopping gastronomic experience, this World Cup of food has been well-suited to the Hairy Bikers.
The boys rate road-tripping through Argentina and southern India as their favourite food trip moments – but a goat penis hotpot in Vietnam, with frog’s bladders as an hors d’oeuvre, was their worst.
“There was a guy selling tequila, dressed as a Mexican in Vietnam, serving penis hotpot; it was a bit mental really,” recalls Simon.
Don’t worry, though – Vietnam aren’t in the World Cup.
Hairy Bikers Dave Myers and Simon King.