Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hotpot like Corrie's Betty used to make (with chillies)

CARDIFF is planning to launch a Walk of Fame in the Bay area. It got us thinking in the Yard yesterday - who should be included in this Hollywoodesque venture?
I can hardly envisage Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones et al flocking back home to have their footprints immortalised in Butetown cement. Which means it will probably be confined to Wales' massive list of B list celebs.
Lisa Jeynes can expect to be there (you know that girl from Penarth who lasted two weeks in Big Brother), plus the Wales soccer manager John Toshack and the bloke who used to be the lead singer with 70s rockers Man (Deke Leonard, anyone?)
I've got a better idea. I think The Yard should have a pavement of fame to record our time there. You could have the hand and knee prints of the Prince of Darkness after he has crawled home following another Tuesday sesh on the Krony. Likewise I imagine the print of my face might emerge there, too, having fallen headlong over my shoes which have, somehow, becoming detached from my person. Also included as a wall exhibit could be Rosey's dating diary and an upturned Smiley face to remind us of the joyful presence of Withers.
Added to it all, of course, we have our own Posh and Becks, whose handprints would bring the crowds flocking. And an announcement to visitors could be recorded by The Voice.
I reckon it would be every bit as popular as the London Dungeon.

Withers and I experienced our first pub "smoking section" last night. After a brief visit to nearly every hostelry in Cardiff we ended up at the Old Scroat and asked for directions to the ciggy area. We had to go right through to the back of the pub where a few tables have been sited and a large gaping hole in the wall ensures that it's not enclosed. This morning I am still recovering from Frostbite.

Enjoyed a good weekend but am still recovering. Friday night I told myself I would have to be home early, but instead danced into the wee small hours with the MD's sec, Champy and their mate Pete (how many Pete's do I know?).
Next day I had to be at my old school pal Haydn's in Bristol by 9.30 so that we could drive up and see the Gas take on Derby County in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
After a good cooked breakfast from Haydn's lovely wife Sian, we set off with his 10-year-old boy Liam in tow. We made good progress to Derby, passing all the Rovers' coaches, minibuses and cars up the motorway, then found a convenient place to park and walked the rest of the way to Pride Park, a very impressive all-seater stadium.
Once inside we availed ourselves of the bar under the stand, where the Gashead masses were gathering. By the time the game started there were a good 6,000 of us cheering on our heroes.
To be fair they put up a great performance and with a bit more luck - and without the sending off of our full back 12 minutes from time - we could have won. As it was super sub Pesky-solido (you know that bloke married to Karren Brady) came off the bench to score the winner eight minutes from time.
Still, not too disappointed and a great day out.

That night Haydn showed me the delights of Chipping Sodbury. It's got some great boozers and I particularly liked The George. I met some of Haydn's mates, but more importantly bumped into Guy Howells, one of the old gang that used to go out on the lash every weekend.
Once he realised the bloke in front of him was me (sans hair, of course) he crushed me in a bearhug and ranted: "You're the sod who got us locked up in Sodbury nick all night".
All the wonderful things I have done in my life and this is what my legacy really means. I suppose smashing a saucer belonging to the Avon and Somerset Constabulary over my head (value 25p) wasn't one of my better ideas.

Monday night I had a go at a Jamie Oliver's Lancashire hotpot out of the Sainsbury's mag, and very nice it was, too. I didn't have any Celeriac, which probably would have made it even better, and I was a bit short of fresh herbs, but I improvised with use of Mooli (which looks like a giant white carrot but is actually White Radish used in a lot of Chinese Cooking) and four dried red chillies.
This is what you need:
3 large lamp steaks, chopped into 2cm pieces
One whole onion, chopped
Two sliced garlic cloves
One sliced carrot
Two sliced celery sticks
Six slices of Mooli or slices of Celeriac
3/4 potatoes, peeled and sliced
4 ozs melted butter or marg
cooking oil
Thyme, fresh if poss but I used dried mixed herbs
A sprig of Rosemary (but I used dried Rosemary)
4 dried red chillies
3/4 pint beef stock

Pre-heat oven to gas mark 5 or equivalent.
Put the sliced potatoes in a bowl and sprinkle Thyme over, then pour over melted butter and stir around with a spoon. Leave to stand.
Heat up some oil in a saucepan, then when it is hot cook the lamb, perhaps in two batches, until it is brown. Remove from pan and set aside. I added a small amount of flour during the cooking process to thicken the lamb juices.
Add the butter to the remaining oil and then add the onion, garlic and other veggies. Leave sweating on a low heat for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Return lamb to the pot and stir around. Also add the dried chillies. Cook for a further 3/4 mins.
Layer some of the lamb and veggie mixture into a casserole dish. Then add a layer of potato and some of the Mooli slices, or Celeriac, if you have it.
Repeat this again, ending with a layer of Potatoes on top. Dot with butter, put on lid and then put into the oven.
Cook for an hour, Remove lid and cook for an extra 30 mins.
Serve with some nice, crusty bread. I'd advise you to remove the chillies at this stage or it might be hotter than you think.
I don't think Betty Turpin in the Rovers Return could have done a better job.

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