Wednesday, October 25, 2006

It gets a bit boring after a while

Only in Holland would you find such crude and soulless treatment of a fine cheese. For a cheese-making nation too, it is hard to forgive. Economy over knowledge; weight over value; don’t cut the fucking rinds off your parmesan block you cunts. Christ.

I discovered the massacre last night just as I was finishing off my mushroom risotto -- two thirds of the stripped block covered with a rash of blue mould. It was damp, the whole fucking thing had gotten good and wet thanks to that cheese-shop fucker.

But no matter. It washed off just fine, washed off by George in fact, my surprise visitor for the evening en route to fuck-knows-where. It was meant to be his cheese after all, a fact forgotten in all the commotion of kitchen building all those weeks ago. I tell you, it was hard to look him in the eye at first. His presence in this room, poring over the various errors to see how bad they had got in the interim, brought a flashback of the mild trauma I felt when -- after three consecutive days spent realizing the job was bigger and more complicated than I had ever anticipated -- he struck gold with a hole cutter and a water main. I will never forget that.

But I will always welcome a familiar face at my door, and I had dropped off at Tesco on the way home to bag a half shoulder of lamb and a bag of leaves to make a cheap and hearty main. I then arrived home to an empty house and opened the door to the immediate aroma of a bolognaise.

“Odd,” I thought to myself. And there indeed on top of my cooker was resting a large pan of smooth meat sauce. I tasted some, and it was fair enough. I wanted to throw out something a little more varied, and thought it the height of wastefulness or at least unreasonableness to freeze this ample pile of food when I have three hungry mouths to feed. But tonight wasn’t the night for it.

So I threw a large handful of porcini into a pan with hot water and left them to soak while I set about stuffing bits of garlic and rosemary between the fatty layers of meat; olive oil, salt, and into the oven it went on Burn for 15 minutes. And I threw a tasty little risotto together from it and the tub of cooking liquor from the hock last week to fill it out. It was a little overcooked, for sure. But a melting consistency and rich nutty taste.
And then the roasted shoulder, not nearly as crispy as I like it and served with an olive, spinach and watercress salad. Bread and butter; wine; water; you name it. Nothing. I felt awkward. I don’t know why. I think it was because I was up to the eyeballs and got paranoid. I wanted to get drunk. I don’t WANT to have to use gear every night; I want alcohol, and cigarettes. That’s what I want.

Talking of different, tonight we dined on a beef version of the Meat, Carbs & Leaves combo. It gets a bit boring after a while. This evening we dined on a tray of beautifully roasted new potatoes, sliced in half and rolled in plenty of olive oil and salt with some garlic and rosemary. And half way through I threw in the best part of a lemon cut into little wedges. I wanted something with a bit of taste to go with the meat, a slab of rump steak picked up by the Wife at the Farmers’ coated with pounded chilli and garlic and griddled perfectly for a couple of minutes each side. It was hot, mind. A dried red and fresh green [birdseye] did the trick. The salad helped all that though, tossed as the otherwise unmemorable leaves were in a yoghurty dressing. The tatties were so creamy and soft, while still maintaining a firm shape. But how many time do I need to do this?

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