Give dad a manly meal he deserves; Forget socks and slippers and instead treat your dad to some tasty grub this Father's Day. Simon Cave, author of new cookery book Manly Food, gives Keeley Bolger a taste of what men want on their plate.
THERE is a story that food writer Simon Cave likes to recount which starts with him enjoying a nightcap in a restaurant. "One of the chefs said, 'Do you know, I served meat to eight out of 10 of the men, and fish or goats' cheese salad to eight out of 10 of the women that came here today?' recalls Cave.
This "silly throwaway" comment stayed with Cave. He talked about it with friends - the idea that men and women make different food choices - and decided the chef had hit on something.
And this is the inspiration behind his new book, Manly Food. "The chef had a whole philosophy grounded in experience," says Cave, who also writes a blog, caveskitchen.com.
"My tastes are incredibly varied and I would have lots of food that wouldn't fit the book or the stereotype (of manly food), but there was something going on where some people's tastes are a bit different."
Researching what to include in the book involved quizzing people on what they'd expect to see in it.
"They all said the same: Meaty things. Spicy things. Things that are hearty. Sour or bitter drinks," he explains. "The book is quite tongue in cheek, but there is an approach there - which isn't gender specific - but is just a different way of cooking."
That's a 'manly' way of cooking. And what Cave's trying to say is, you don't have to actually be a man to enjoy manly food. In fact, a woman played a very important part in the development of the book.
"I couldn't have done it without my wife," says Cave, laughing. "She indulged her manly side. We cook a lot together and, while I was writing the book, we tested the food and had an awful lot of fun."
The couple, who live in London with their two young daughters, are also working on a book about cooking with children.
"I grew up with lots of good food," says the proud dad. "My parents both travelled and cooked a lot. I definitely want my children to cook. I think it's one of life's pleasures. It should be fun.
"We've started the children with cutting fruit with ordinary table knives so they won't hurt themselves. We've made cakes and tarts and my eldest can do a decent scrambled egg."
Cave says Father's Day is all about family and informality, and he prefers a nice meal with his family to presents.
"As far as I can tell Father's Day is about having a lie-in in the morning and an Old Fashioned cocktail or two in the evening, and maybe not mentioning the thing I haven't done which I promised to do 10 years ago!" If you like the cut of Cave's jib, here are some Manly Food recipes the kids can help with while dad relaxes on the sofa this Father's Day.
Manly Food by Simon Cave, right, is published by Quadrille Publishing, priced PS25.
Available June 6 SPICY NUTS (serves 6) INGREDIENTS 500g unsalted mixed nuts (such as almonds, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, peanuts) 1tbsp butter 3tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped 1tsp cayenne pepper 1/2tsp chilli powder 1tbsp salt 1tbsp brown sugar METHOD Preheat the oven to 200(r)C/400(r)F/Gas mark 6. Place the nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until golden. Turn them once or twice.
Melt the butter in a pan.
Remove from the heat and stir in the rosemary, cayenne, chilli, salt and sugar. Toss the nuts in the mixture to coat them well, and serve warm or cool.
OLD FASHIONED COCKTAIL (makes 1) INGREDIENTS 1 sugar cube 4 drops Angostura bitters (these should be in the spirits aisle) 60ml rye whisky 10ml soda water Ice cubes 1 strip orange zest METHOD Place a sugar cube in a tumbler and sprinkle the Angostura bitters onto the sugar.
Crush with a spoon. Add the rye whisky and muddle together. Add the soda water and ice and stir.
Twist the zest over the glass to release the essential oils in the skin and drop it in. Serve immediately.
PLOUGHMAN'S LUNCH (serves 4) INGREDIENTS 500g good quality cooked ham, cut in very thick slices 1-2 large pieces of hard cheese, such as mature Cheddar and Stilton 1 loaf farmhouse bread, sliced 2 apples, cut into pieces Chutney, to serve Pickled onions to serve Mustard, to serve For the piccalilli: 100g sugar 1ltr cider vinegar 1 cauliflower head, broken into small florets 500g French beans, trimmed and cut into large pieces 1 cucumber, peeled and thickly diced 2tsp mustard powder 2tsp turmeric 1tsp honey 2 garlic cloves, crushed 3tbsp white wine vinegar 9tbsp sunflower oil 1 red onion, sliced salt and black pepper For the beetroot salad: 1/2tsp caraway seeds, toasted 4tbsp vegetable oil 2 shallots, finely shopped 4tbsp red wine vinegar 4 beetroots, boiled, skinned and roughly chopped Salt and black pepper METHOD For the piccalilli, bring the sugar and cider vinegar to the boil in a pan. Add the cauliflower, the beans and cucumber. Cook for three minutes, then remove and drain. In a bowl, combine the mustard powder, turmeric, honey, garlic and white wine vinegar.
Season and stir well before adding the sunflower oil. Put the onion in a bowl, add the vegetables and dressing, and toss. Keep refrigerated and use within two days.
For the beetroot salad, toast the caraway seeds in vegetable oil in a frying pan. Mix the shallots, caraway seeds and vinegar in a bowl and add the oil. Add the beetroot and stir gently.
To serve, assemble all the components, preferably on a wooden board. Serve with beer.
CHOCOLATE BROWNIES (serves 6) INGREDIENTS Butter, for greasing 200g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa) 200g icing sugar 3 eggs, at room temperature 40g flour, sifted METHOD Preheat the oven to 170(r)C/325(r)F/Gas mark 3.
Grease a 20 x 20cm baking tin and line it with baking parchment, leaving a little overhanging on every side.
Break the chocolate into pieces and melt it in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.
Once the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and beat in 40ml of lukewarm water, followed by the icing sugar. Add the eggs one by one, stirring vigorously to ensure a smooth consistency. Stir in the flour.
Pour the batter into the tin and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until small cracks appear on the surface.
Serve warm with ice cream, or cold on their own.
These spicy nuts make a great combo with a cold beer
Simon Cave's ploughman's lunch is just one of the recipes in his new book Manly Food
Simon Cave's delicious brownies
Make dad's an old fashioned
Simon Cave, left author of Manly Food, pictured right