Monday, April 28, 2008

Perfect roast potatoes

The trouble with having a girlfriend is that you get into the habit of putting kisses on everything. It shouldn't be a big problem, but it is when you send a text message to the Wonderful Withers of WoS inquiring about that night's boozing activities and he sends one back asking: "Why did you put kisses on the end of my text message?"
Now I have always been a bit sceptical about Withers' preferences anyway, as has his family I understand, so now I am afraid to make eye contact in case he thinks it's a come on. Not too afraid to go drinking with him every night of last week, though. That's mainly because he is the only person who finishes at roughly the same time as me when I'm working on t'South Wales Echo.
It was pretty hard-core last week, working at least 10 hours a day on the new hub, getting up at six, walking comatosed into work and not finishing until around 5.30 that evening.
It meant the ritual cooking of tea fell by the wayside, too. In fact I seem to recall heating up popcorn for my supper twice last week, then having a can of soup and finally falling back on that old staple diet, the pork scratchings. Mmm, healthy.
On Friday night there was a bit of a do and I ended up in the Yard with Withers and David (not the goalkeeper) James, the Prince of Darkness and his mate, photographer Andy. But after a few pints I hit the wall and struggled home.
Good thing, too, because Wren came over on Saturday and after letting me get over the remains of my hangover by watching Chelsea beat Manchester United and close the title race to nil points we then went to the cinema to watch a film called In Bruges. I've got to say it was excellent. Colin Farrell and Brendon Gleeson are superb as Irishmen on the run after a shooting in London. It was darkly comic and the hidden treat of the year as far as cinema goes.
That evening we went to the Thai Garden in City Road for a Chinese meal and I must admit I had to suffer the embarrassment of falling through my chair half the way through - and I hadn't even eaten that much! I had some kind of seafood mixture with Singapore Fried Rice. In truth, it was all a bit bland and with the furniture fiasco, too, I'm not sure I'll be going back.
Anyway, Sunday was spent doing a bit of shopping in town. Wren bought new jeans and I bought the third series of the West Wing and the first series of Spooks. Oh, and a double ice cream: Toffee and caramel with a fudge stick and chocolate sprayed over the top. From Thayers.
Shows the embarrassment of breaking furniture didn't last long.
When we finally got home we were pretty bushed but it was time to cook my favourite roast beef in Madeira Sauce. Having given the recipe on this blog before I'll just tell you about the roast potatoes, following Nigel Slater's perfect recipe.
I cut them into fairly sizeable chunks, then boiled them in salted water for 10-15 minutes. Removing them from the heat I then drained off the hot water, returned them over the flame for a few seconds and shook them around the pan to rough up the edges.
I then placed them in a 180 degree oven and brushed them with goose fat then added more sea salt. I cooked them for just over an hour until they browned and crisped nicely. Yum!

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