Tuesday, July 03, 2007
This Thursday Club malarkey has really started to change the way I think about food. I can’t seem to sit down for a meal now without trying (and usually failing through a complete lack of culinary knowledge) to dissect it and understand why it tastes good, bad or mediocre. I don’t think it is a bad thing but it is getting a bit annoying; something like a dermatologist picking holes in Maria Sharapova’s skin instead of stepping back and simply enjoying the bigger picture. The worst trait I seem to be picking up is judging every bit of food I shove in my fat face, be it dinner in a restaurant or a slice of toast the missus makes me, against the universal benchmark of “would I pay for that?”
The reason I start this entry with this rant is that I offered fairly late on Saturday to do a roast dinner for Thursday Club regulars Ted and Jason. Now if I was doing this 2 months ago then I wouldn’t have given it a second thought until popping out on Sunday late morning to do some last minute hungover ingredient gathering. But it isn’t 2 months ago (unless you first read this in September but that is too hard a situation for me to grasp right now) so I used my Saturday night to get out some recipe books and do some research. Admittedly this was helped by Mrs Mac being ill which halted any thoughts of partying and probably saved my guests from being fed some of my usual hungover slop. Hopefully you are beginning to understand the curse and blessing that is Thursday Club – I’m not sure I could give these guys a headache tablet without double-broiling it and serving it in it’s own juices…
Anyway, the purpose of the afternoon was to rescue Ted from his apartment which had been taken over by snakes with tits. Ted arrived right on time but smelling like a hobo and Jason arrived fashionably one hour late but minus the paparazzi. We cut the hangovers with your basic mozzarella, tomato and basil salad with some additional grilled, skinned, sliced peppers which I love doing as they are just so damn sweet. Served in our shaded garden on a hot summers day in New York accompanied with cool Brooklyn Brewery beer (like god himself would make) and crisp white wine and life is looking alright.
Then work starts on bringing the main act on. That’s what I love about a roast, the sweating with 5 minutes to go as every heat exuding surface is being used including holding up the gravy pan near the light fixture. It’s also pretty tough to fuck up and usually gives a decent result. My mum is a classic example here as she is the original deep fry everything gal but on Christmas day this astounding woman would give Ramsey a run for his money as it’s tough to argue with a plate containing 15 different food items produced on a prototype Barbie electric stove.
So we’re having beef and the boys as Balducci’s (yes, expensive but their staff are highly approachable and seem to know what they are on about) only had a chuck roast which I now know means the neck. Fat is a good friend of mine so I shoved some garlic slivers into the slab of beef and slow roasted it for nearly 4 hours in the end. Golden, fluffy, crunchy roast potatoes accompanied with roasted parsnips and carrots providing the vitamins. For me, the luminous green mushy peas (from a tin of course) made the meal authentic and I could have drunk the gravy made from the beef juices by the pint although that might be because I added a bit too much red wine.
Desert was a monster glob of Amaretto which fuelled an undeniably hammered tour of some of Greenwich Village’s dirtier drinking holes. A nice way to spend a Sunday although I think I might lay off the Duvels next time I woke up on Monday feeling like Iron Maiden were holding a concert in my cranium.