Bankside food while carp fishing needs to be tasty, but quick and easy to prepare. So aside the fry up what can you eat?
The main problem you get cooking on the bank is lack of space and only one or at the most two cooker rings. I’ve used a Coleman double burner in the past and these are quite good, but make a real mess of your cookware and it is hard to get a low enough heat to simmer properly without burning the food. I have also used gas with a Campingaz stove, but I’ve seen some excellent ones by Primus also. Recently I’ve started cheating by using my Westfalia Campervan wherever possible. I still only get two hotplates though, but the fridge and running water help immensely.
So which recipes do I cook on the bank? Well I hate tinned food! I see guys turn up with loads of horrendous, heart attack inducing stuff in tins. Most are full of E numbers, MSG and sugar. No, I prefer fresh food where possible, even if it means going out on a regular basis to the supermarket to stock up. These are my top five recipes while on the bank.
- Chicken Tikka Masala: This is my version of the classic Indian dish. A couple of Chicken breasts per person. I sauté these in a bit of olive oil with a chopped onion and some garlic. Once browned I add the spices (you can use these readymade or by combining a few Indian spices). To this I add a Natural yoghurt, the juice of a lemon and some water and simmer for about 20 minutes on a low heat, stirring from time to time. Once the chicken is cooked I add a carton of coconut milk and simmer for about 10 minutes more to reduce the sauce down. Serve with basmati rice and a green salad. A bottle of red Bordeaux adds the finishing touch.
- Chilli Con Carne: Brown some minced beef in a pan with an onion and some garlic. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and some chilli powder to your taste. I let this simmer for 20-30 minutes on a low heat until the beef is well cooked and the sauce reduced. Five minutes before serving I add a tin of red kidney beans. Once these are warmed through I serve with some white or whole meal rice. Don’t forget the bottle of red Burgundy.
- Pasta al Pesto: There are loads of great fresh pasta dishes in the supermarkets in France you get Buitoni, Lustucru and Rana for example, all ready in under 10 minutes. For this recipe I use the fresh ravioli stuffed with basil and ricotta cheese. You cook these in boiling water for 2-5 minutes with some salt and a drib of olive oil. Once they start to float up, (just like doing boilies) they are ready. Sieve and return to the saucepan. Add a tub of fresh (if you can get it) pesto sauce (bottled if not, but it’s not as good) and stir briefly over the heat. Serve and sprinkle liberally with fresh grated parmesan cheese. Serve with a bottle of Chianti if you want to remain Italian and a piece of crusty French bread.
- Steak and Sauté potatoes: You’ll need a large rib eye steak each (Entrecote in French); a kilo of spuds, some cubed bacon (lardons in French) and an onion. Cut up the potatoes into small cubes, and dice the onion. Fry over a gentle heat in some olive oil. Once the potatoes are browned add the lardons. Continue to fry until all is cooked, browned and smelling delicious. In a second pan (you’ll need a double burner for this), add a little oil to the pan and heat under a high flame. When the oil is hot add you steaks one at a time. Cook them briefly on each side a serve rare with some Dijon mustard. A bottle of red Bordeaux is an essential part of this meal too.
- Baguette Cheese & Paté: Some of the simplest yet tastiest French meals require virtually no preparation. For this you need the freshest, crispiest French bread; a selection of French Patés and some cheeses. Combined with a bottle of wine you have a fabulous quick and tasty lunch. A word about the patés & cheeses. There are dozens. On the paté front I like the Paté de Campagne (Coarse Country paté), Rillettes (Potted pork paté) and Paté de Foie de Canard (duck liver). For the cheese I like Brie, Coulommiers; Roquefort, Boursin (herbes & garlic) and Comté. There are hundreds of cheeses you’ll need to get stuck in and try a few. Again as always you need to wash it all down with a bottle of red.. I’d suggest a Cote du Rhone for a lunch time tipple.