Monday, May 18, 2009

Aaro's goulash recipe

We are nothing if not completists. Serve it at your next dinner party.

22 Comments:

Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

I have to add, by the way, that this (ie "serve it at your next dinner party") is a joke - it looks pretty ghastly student food. (This is Phil D'Bap's opportunity to tell me that since I haven't cooked it I can't possibly tell whether it's any good or not).

It's part of a series whereby Times readers are invited to libel their elderly relatives by associating them with some of the most horrific, indigestible crap going. "Marmite Mushrooms" anyone?

5/18/2009 10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

is the recipe meant to be funny? all that 'ok, one bay leaf if you prefer' stuff...

5/18/2009 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous saucy jack said...

It looks like standard student fare but fairly similar to most recipes for goulash you find in Delia et al. Why is it that the watery stew which goes under the name of "goulash" in Britain seems to have nothing in common with the delicious spicy dish you get when you order one in Budapest?

5/18/2009 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Yeah I've often wondered that. Every English Goulash recipe I've come across (and this is no exception) is essentially a bland stew with some cream thrown in it.

Oh and also - 'a quarter of a tube of garlic paste'? yuck.

5/18/2009 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Richard J said...

At a guess, it's because we never cook it for long enough - I've done goulash in a slow cooker, and it really gives the paprika time to infuse everywhere. (Also, the taste difference between smoked and unsmoked paprika is startling.)

But, basically, English (well, my) cooking has evolved a beefy tomato stew that can be modified into goulash, spag bol, chilli and curry as required by the addition of appropriate extras - quick, easy, tasty (well, if you use fresh garlic, natch) but about as authentic as MacDonalds.

5/18/2009 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger mark said...

i pretty much approve of pointers to ingredients that can be varied to taste, and ingredients that must remain exact for it still to be a "goulash" or whatever -- so the joke about the bay leaf isn't a useless element (too many bay leaves will render stuff inedible to some, and if as a cook you know this it's worth saying so)

5/18/2009 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and also - 'a quarter of a tube of garlic paste'? yuck.Not so much 'yuck' as a Buffy-level capacity to incinerate vampires with your breath.

redpesto [hmmm, very apt]

5/18/2009 04:00:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

For me there's a difference between allowing room for personal choice in a recipe and doing what aaro seems to have done, ie, manifest your apparent disdain for recipes in general by making the amount of ingredients almost entirely abritrary, and writing in a tone which approximates to 'i can't be bothered' (one or two or three onions, all that 'Serve with a sigh of absolute finality' stuff).

and again - a *quarter of a tube* of garlic paste will just make it into a fake-garlic stew, it'd taste horrendous.

I have very little time for the Aaro/Cohen/Toube dislike of foodies - sure, people can be overly precious about food, and if you don't like to cook that's fine, equally i've nothing against junk food per se (neither does Nigel Slater), but their general contempt for people who care about ethically-sourced food, and who care about what they eat, feels very phoney; it's even more of a self-conscious construction than the foody 'I only eat organic' pose.

5/19/2009 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Bartlett said...

And the disdain appears to have been brought over the Atlantic hidden among the demented ravings of the American far-right. For some, Jonah Goldberg is one, it appears that an embrace of junk food is part of being pro-American.

5/19/2009 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Yes, well, wingnuts are one of the few militarist movements that doesn't go on about Health and Hygiene and Strength. As you know, they rely on Will!, so obesity and impotence are entirely acceptable side-dishes to go with the main course of stupidity.

Actually, this ressentiment was exported from the UK to the US about 15 years ago; you may recall much Tory wanking about rocket and Islington back then. It turns out that the "arugula" used as an anti-Obama bash line is exactly the same stuff. So we're now on thrice-reheated bullshit.

5/19/2009 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous belle le triste said...

i completely agree with you abt foodie-disdain, OC: i think it's a measure of being
A: nervously aware you're* a bit out of your depth expertise-wise and sensibility-wise (ie there's people out there who genuinely know stuff you don't, and can make taste and/or fact distinctions you can't)
B: being very controlling about and manipulatively dismissive towards such sensibilities and such expertise, because "being out of your depth" is a vulnerability you're unprepared to admit to
C: intense kneejerk conformism routinely disguising itself as anti-establishment mockery
D: broader pattern alert

HOWEVER, i didn't actually read any of A-D myself in the bayleaf sentence itself

*you isn't you, it's the foodie-disdainer

5/19/2009 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FWIW, a few years ago I saw Aaronovitch shopping in the organic butchers in Kentish Town.

K

(verification advococo)

5/19/2009 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very sharp, and funny, "digested read" of Voodoo Histories in Teh Grauniad

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/may/19/voodoo-histories-david-aaronovitch-digested-read

5/19/2009 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Why is it that the watery stew which goes under the name of "goulash" in Britain seems to have nothing in common with the delicious spicy dish you get when you order one in Budapest?Having never tried to cook goulash myself (my wife hates paprika) this is pure speculation, but the problem with most British curries is that cooks don't roast/saute/whatever you call it the spices. If I was trying to make goulash, I'd probably experiment with adding spices to the onions after a few minutes of frying the onions. And wouldn't you typically add the bayleaf to a stew with the liquid? Also you probably need to use decent paprika.

5/20/2009 09:06:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

It was the combination of the bayleaves bit with the indefinite number of onions that led me to that conclusion. I don't think this anti-foodie stuff is so much imported from wingnutland as one of the prejudices Decents happen to have in common with the wingnuts - a general dislike of anything associated with the pantomime villain 'middle-class liberal-left', and an especial dislike of this cartoon villain's love of stuff that looks non-utilitarian.

Thus Cohen rails against vaguely expensive clothing, organic food, and Ikea furniture; Aaronovitch faces off against bruschetta; Toube celebrates Nando's because he has decided that 'liberals' dislike it cos it's cheap. Much of the pro-junk food wingnut stuff is based on the same kind of thing - a dislike of stuff on the basis that you think your opponents like it.

The problem is where this leaves you when you're a self-obsessed journo/blognut - Aaro writes self-consciously rubbish recipes to look proletarian and to emphasise that he's not a foodie; the supposedly left-wing Toube repeatedly celebrates a restaurant with seriously dodgy approaches to workers and really quite terrible quality produce (the burgers might be fairly tasty, but the sangria comes in a pre-mixed syrup, like McDonalds coke, and the illusion of choice is a total red herring as the 5 different heats of sauce on offer are actually only 3); Cohen ends up suggesting that people on the breadline buy £500 antique mirrors for their new houses rather than furnish a whole room with Ikea stuff (incidentally, I own quite a lot of Ikea furniture since i couldn't afford anything else and it's all been pretty good quality, far better than Cohen makes out).

Aaro's latest, by the way, is pure rubbish, especially because, having ridiculed most kinds of reform and spending a long time mocking independent parties, we find this as his solution:

that the answer to the need for renewal is forcible and massive decentralisation of power.
Of course, Aaronovitch is only a political journalist - so he doesn't need to go into any detail at all about how this solution might be manifested...

5/20/2009 09:08:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Yeah, bayleaf should really go into the liquid stew i think.

As others have said, Aaro's not alone - Jamie Oliver's last book has a Goulash recipe in it that is awful, it tastes of nothing.

5/20/2009 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

Incidentally, Jamie Oliver [1] has just opened one of cook-teach places in Brighton. Now Brighton is pretty foody and people here generally seem to know how to cook. Its not an obvious location. So either these things are all over the country, or huh? Now okay there are parts of Brighton which are very deprived and which may need the support, but he hasn't opened where they mostly shop/live.

[1] who irritates me, even though I think he's generally doing good things.

5/20/2009 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous belle le triste said...

clue to changing opinion of j.oliver to the good: turn the sound down to remove mockney twang and watch his hands as he chops* -- beneath the lame TV-induced vocal patterns, he's an old-school craftsman and his physical skills are soothing and exhilarating to watch


*i fear JO's programmes edit out this craft-level stuff nowadays -- chefs have been rebranded as conceptual CEOs** rather than foodmakers, idealists rather materialists; you only get to view it at competition level, where the would-be masterchef has not yet achieved "mastery"
**someone should write a thesis on TV's sumptuary laws -- who gets to be seen doing what, and what this saus about class

5/20/2009 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyway, in 1975 I fetched up in a lefty-feminist commune in Manchester, ie in 1975 I was in halls of residence at manchester uni. What a wanker

5/20/2009 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

that the answer to the need for renewal is forcible and massive decentralisation of power. (emph add)


presumably he doesn't mean this literally, although it would be quite deliciously interesting if he did.

5/20/2009 08:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Yes. Sod municipal socialism, do the Phnom Penh!

5/20/2009 09:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uncle Joe says, actually, according to someone I know from the old CP, he did live in a mostly CP commune, in Didsbury or somewhere. Unless you know different, Anonymous.

5/21/2009 06:19:00 PM  

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