We're having a bit of a water crisis here - multiple leaks. Thankfully in the garden, but water pouring out of various pipes. We think Thames Water must have changed the pressure, otherwise why would so many taps and pipes spring leaks simultaneously?
Lucius is hard at work mending them ... it's a struggle, because he's had to work out where the pipes go (we hired a machine which was a 21st century take on a water diviner - our mains water comes in diagonally under the house, and there's a leak in the pipe) ... then dig deep holes, then pump out the water, and only then start sorting out the problems. And so the water is often switched off at weekends. Which makes life tricky in the kitchen.
Roast lamb for lunch today. Couldn't make roast potatoes - you need water to wash off the grainy red earth which locates them as lovely Devon produce. Panic. Rushed out to the supermarket and bought - frozen roast potatoes. I couldn't bring myself to look at the ingredients until I'd got them home and into the oven.
Potato 88%, vegetable oil, batter (wheat flour; modified potato starch; modified tapioca starch; rice flour; salt; skimmed milk powder; dextrose; Colours: curcumin, capsanthin), hydrogenated vegetable oil.
CONTAINS: WHEAT, GLUTEN, MILK.
MADE FROM REAL POTATOES
Not very inspiring, somehow.
I didn't tell the others what I'd done. I asked them what they thought. Good golden colour (although Horatio thought it was suspiciously uniform). Fake. Despite being made from real potatoes (what other kind are there?). Not as nice as yours (phew!). Funny texture. A little like that story Nigel Slater tells in Toast about how he came home from school looking forward to mash for dinner, and found that he was eating a form of wallpaper paste - his stepmother had bought Smash for the first time.
So we won't be doing that again. Next weekend, I'll make sure I've prepared the potatoes before the water goes off - you can peel potatoes a couple of days in advance and keep them covered in water in the fridge, although it's a good idea to change the water after 24 hours. Useful if you've got a huge crowd coming.
Having said all that, I was intrigued by the idea of coating roasties with batter. It reminded me of recipes where the parboiled potatoes are rolled in semolina to give them extra crunch. So I'll try that next time we have roast potatoes ... although if anyone has tried it, I'd be pleased to hear their thoughts.
Florescence - At the National Gallery of Scotland on Friday I went to a talk by Dr. Andrew Paterson, "Two Flower Paintings of the 18th. Century", looking at Flower Still...
2 days ago