The Hairy Bikers: 'We once ate goat penis hot pot in Vietnam. It was an interesting cultural exchange'
Sunday 07 August 2011
My earliest food memory...
Dave Myers: The smell of my mother's fishcakes. She'd buy a piece of hake, poach it in milk with a bay leaf and mix it with mashed potato and parsley. Then she'd cover it in breadcrumbs and make a cheese sauce with the liquor.
Si King: Flat-rib broth. My mum used to cook it on the stove for ages and ages and it was fantastic. The flavour of it was always tinged with burnt tongue because I was so over-excited about eating it that I'd tuck in while it was still boiling hot.
My store-cupboard essentials...
DM: As well as olive oil and sea salt, I've got my Japanese box, which contains udon noodles, dashi powder, tuna flakes and shichimi seven-spice blend. I'll make some noodles in a lovely dashi broth then add whatever we've got in the fridge.
SK: Tins of sardines in tomato sauce. When we're all at home on Saturday, I'll toast some sourdough bread, rub it with garlic, put on some sliced tomato, then the sardines. I'll top it off with just a tiny bit of horseradish sauce and some fresh parsley. It's fantastic.
The kitchen gadget I can't live without...
DM: My steam oven. I absolutely love it – I use it for puddings and it's great for vegetables and risottos and making sticky rice. I've had it for about two years, but I'm nowhere near exploring its full potential.
SK: My stove-top espresso maker. I use that every morning. I'm also desperate for a 1920s meat cutter, so if anyone's got one for sale in the UK, I'll have it!
My culinary tip...
DM: For great roast potatoes, sprinkle them with semolina or polenta before you stick them in the oven and you'll get a fantastic shell on them.
SK: Learn how to season, taste as you go, and when you're cooking tomatoes, always use a wooden spoon, never a metal one because otherwise they'll get that metallic taste running through them.
My favourite food shop...
DM: For general cooking, there's Booths which is a Northern supermarket chain. It supports local suppliers and it has a great butchery. Also, a friend of mine called Tuk has a brilliant Thai food stall in Barrow-in-Furness, where I live. She'll go up to Manchester once a week for fresh Thai vegetables, and she'll get all my Japanese bits and pieces for me as well.
SK: A delicatessen in Turin called Eataly – it's got everything a gastronome could want. Also, Seaview Fisheries and Taylor Seafood, which are a couple of fishmongers in North Shields.
My top table...
DM: Pham, which is a sushi place in Shoreditch, east London. That's my and Si's big treat: it's inexpensive, but the food is spectacular. I eat far too much when I go there and end up with a stack of plates [teetering] like the leaning Tower of Pisa.
SK: The Broad Chare, a pub run on Newcastle's Quayside by a mate of mine, Terry Laybourne. The menu's limited but fantastic, and it's all local, seasonal produce. They also do great beers and bar snacks, such as cauliflower tempura with curry mayonnaise.
The strangest thing I've eaten...
DM: Goat penis hot pot in Vietnam, which was a broth with an enormous bit of tackle floating in it. The penis was horrible. I can't imagine it giving anyone pleasure except a lady goat.
SK: And I got the pointy end. It was an interesting cultural exchange. Let's leave it at that.
My pet hates...
DM: Tripe doesn't do it for me at all. I think my hatred of it goes back to when I was little, and my mother would get some honeycomb tripe and soak it in malt vinegar for a couple of hours and then just eat it like that. It was like a plate of rubber.
SK: Children's menus filled with chicken nuggets and the like. If I'm choosing not to eat that sort of dross, why would I want to give it to my kids?
The Hairy Bikers' range of prepared meals is in Tesco across the UK and will be in other major supermarkets from the autumn
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