Thursday, 20 June 2013

Just Add Racing!

The next race-meeting at Cartmel, on Saturday 20th and Monday 22nd July, is traditionally known as the “BBQ Meeting”. While the races, which include the totepool Cumbria Crystal Cup, are the most valuable programmed during our season, the most important performance for many visitors will not be seen on the track - but on a smoking grill somewhere in the middle of the racecourse. 

So, to give yourself plenty of time for practise, and in anticipation of some sunny weather early next week, here are my top tips for a perfect barbecue. 

First – get on the website and buy yourself some fantastic quality meat. If you are pre-booking tickets for the races, you can save time by ordering a refrigerated pack of meat from Furness Fish & Game Supplies with your purchase, which will be waiting for you when you get to the track. Each pack contains a selection of beef steaks, venison burgers, award winning pork sausages and chicken.

Second - light the barbecue. Remember, if it is one of those once-only foil barbecues, make sure that you have something solid underneath so that you don’t scorch the grass. And if you are at the racecourse, please think really carefully about how you dispose of the embers. Every year we have to put out at least one flaming wheelie-bin. Sadly we can’t allow barbecues close to the running rail while the racing is taking place, as the smoke may distract the horses; make sure you allow plenty of time for your meal before racing – or start again after the last race.

Finally, treat yourself to some homemade ketchup – it makes all the difference. You’ll need 1kg of tomatoes, a large onion, a small fennel bulb (or half a large one), a celery stick, an inch long piece of fresh ginger, garlic, a fresh chilli, basil, a teaspoon of coriander seeds, black pepper, salt, 60g of brown sugar and 200ml of red wine vinegar or cider vinegar – whichever you prefer.

Put all the vegetables, herbs and spices into a saucepan and cook gently for 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and a large glass of water and bring back to the boil, reducing by half. Add the basil leaves, blend in a food processor and then put back on the heat until it takes on the required consistency. Cool and serve!

If you’re trying this recipe on Saturday, enjoy your homemade ketchup with a few sausages or burgers in front of Channel 4 racing and the final day of Royal Ascot. Hot on the heals of last week’s winning selection, I’ll be cheering on Poole Harbour in the cavalry charge that calls itself the Wokingham Handicap Stakes.

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