Friday, October 17, 2008

Roast Lamb with anchovies and garlic

YOU would think that I would be calming down in my old age. I thought that even I had been lured into that false sense of security that father time, and a steady girlfriend, brings.
But over the last week my equilibrium has been upset, the stopper has come out of the bottle and Ranting Rippers has well and truly emerged.
It started last week after a nightmare three days on the Echo, when I realised that I was grumbling, grouching and generally cussing under my breath at every given moment. On Friday night there was a bit of a firework spectacular (sorry Smashy, but the blue touchpaper had been lit by a week of 6am starts and 6pm finishes) then this week our wonderful "Turn it off and turn it on again" department sent me into overdrive.
My poor colleagues were quietly trying to snooze in the far corners of the Meeja Wales 'hub' when my computer crashed. Then, when I tried to log back on, it told me that it was permanently disabled and that I had no authority to access my own e mail, files, etc. I then tried to use the super-duper new phone system to get someone down from the "Turn it off then turn it on again" department. Unfortunately we only have a directory with individual names and no general department phone. Either that or we can ring Birmingham, or Liverpool or outer Mongolia (depending who isn't playing darts or enjoying their sandwich with their feet up) and log a call. Three hours later, if I'm lucky, someone might turn up.
Anyway, I tried about five different "Turn it on..." people and no one answered. Then when I did get through I was immediately cut off. Finally there was only one solution ... to explode. "*!**!*!*, x*!"!*!, *!¬&*!"!" Love to repeat the exact terminology but a. I can't remember it word for word, and b. It shouldn't be repeated on a family read blog (bit it ended with the c word and a verb closely associated with going to the toilet).
Anyway, after that I felt much better. And within minutes someone from the "Turn it off, turn it on" department turned up to tell me that they had moved me onto a new server without telling me (nice of them) and it shouldn't really cause me any trouble at all (which it already had).
I am still convinced the prompt response was as a result of the decibel level of the swearing which they could hear even over their afternoon cha-cha tea party in the IT lounge three floors up. Bless 'em.

Other news of the week... I nearly packed in the blog from living such an uneventful life that there was nothing to report; I tried to stay up and greet Wren on Friday night after a shedful in the Yard and opted to have a quick snooze, setting my alarm... Said alarm went off a minute after she arrived to find me prone, snoring in bed dressed only in my dressing gown... We had a country walk at a fab little park hidden in the depths of Cardiff (Cefn Ohn near Llanishen)... My cold staged an unwanted revival... I took Tuesday off as a lieue day which enabled me to join the Prince of Darkness (on hols), Withers (two days off) and Paps (day off) for an enjoyable evening's drinking in The Yard/new O'Neill's... I had a crappy hangover all day Tuesday and felt really fluey... Woke on Thursday to find the Red Sox, one defeat away from missing out on the world series, win a staggering game 8-7 over Tampa Bay at Fenway having been 7-0 down in the seventh inning (One of best post-season comebacks ever!).
Actually, I guess I have done quite a bit.

Sunday I cooked a nice roast lamb with gravy and tried out a few new tips which worked to perfection. First I cut a few deep cuts in the lamb and wound some strips of lemon peel through them. Then I added slivers of garlic and anchovies into the cuts, coated the fat with a bit of butter and put it into the oven on a fairly high setting - 220 degrees, gas mark 8. After 15 minutes I then turned it down to 160 degrees and added my veg. Towards the end of cooking I added six sliced shallots to the lamb.
When the lamb was cooked I removed it and put it on a plate, covered with file, and put the baking tray on the hob. I first mixed in about 3 tablespoons of flour with the shallots, before adding a good glug of white wine and cranking up the heat. Finally I added 3/4 pint of chicken stock and continue to stir on the hob until the veg was done.
Finally, having sliced the lamb I set everything out and strained the gravy through a sieve to remove the shallots. Very nice - and you could really taste all the flavours coming through the lamb.

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