Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Big Shakeout

Not only is it great to get a booking on your birthday weekend so that one may let down one's hair down once the gig's over, but getting booked by Alpkit to perform at their annual 'Big Shakeout' adventure weekend in the Peak District is like the icing on the proverbial cake.  I've been a fan of Alpkit gear for some years now. It works and it works well. So the Guyrope Gourmet was booked to cook on the Saturday afternoon.  After pondering possible menus, I opted for a Morrocish lamb stew and a vegetable Biriani. The lamb stew is an old favourite in the Guyrope Gourmet kitchen, tried and tested. It's 'Morrocish' because it is kind of based on a dish I've eaten in Shefchauen in the Rif mountains.  The Biriani however was a different affair. Now it may seem a little unwise to some, and the thought did occur to me too, but to try an un-cooked before dish in front of a live audience must surely be an act of only the foolhardy. I placed my trust in Shehzad Husain and walked through a biriani from start to finish.

The Guyrope Gourmet show is usually about an hour long, as long as it takes to cook the food really. I reduce the tedium factor by doing all the food prep ahead of the show. Nobody wants to watch a bloke peel onions, even if he did grow them in his own allotment. 

Even with the ingredients already chopped, grated, crushed and marinated the interest factor of a relatively unknown bloke cooking food is somewhat limited. Here's where a few tales of derring-do and stories of travels with my Trangia come in to play.

A Guyrope Gourmet audience will always be regaled with stories of dishes cooked up under duress, a spatchcocked chicken having just given the Syrian army the slip, or an amorous lamb stew on an island. Much to my surprise, one of the things that folks seemed to enjoy was the covers of punk rock classics on my Ukulele! 

So while the rice is par-cooking, or the lamb is browning in the pan, I whip out the Uke and play a little tune. It seems to work, I'm bloody terrible, but audiences are polite - either that or just plain stunned! Either way

I get to show off and people get to try my food. It all went in about ten minutes, with people coming back for seconds. You don't get much more of a credit than that in the catering world as far as i'm concerned.

With the exception of the two 'inside shots', all photography and video on this post courtesy of Alpkit 2011 (thanks guys!).