Chips With Everything.
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There's been a fundamental shift in my eating habits since I got back to England. Out with the rice, pasta and well crafted, wholesome bread and in with the chips. Chips with everything is the motto. I spend three months in Germany and eat chips probably twice, come back to England and in four days I'm on my second batch of chips already. Don't worry though folks, it's only whilst I'm hanging out with the crumblies and normal service will be resumed shortly.
So I'm cooking for the oldsters again and they want 'traditional English food', as they call it. To me, this suggests a rack of lamb with redcurrant stuffing and a reduction of stock and port wine or a star-gazy pie and some Jersey Royals but to them it means some meat and a few vegetables from the freezer, oh well, what can I do?
We bartered, haggled and negotiated what to do for dinner and I lost. Every suggestion I made was greeted with a "Oh, I don't like that foreign jollop." (Whatever jollop is I don't know, but it's something they wont eat). So I relented and promised them a feast of the sort of things they like. A good old fashioned, Berni Inn style mixed grill. I was planning to save this classic for seventies week, to join the other gastranomic dodos from the heady days of prawn cocktails, cheese fondues and swinger parties where everyone put the keys to their Hillman Imps in a bowl and ended up not getting off with the pretty one they were hoping for.
Never mind. If I must cook this sort of industrial cuisine then I'll cook it. It's not much of a challenge though and if they're not looking I sneak in some garlic or a little chilli. Cooking this many things at the same time may seem tricky, but I've got it down to a simple algorithm. If you do things in the correct order it's not hard at all, it just isn't much fun.
Cadbury's chocolate cup cake: Very sweet and sticky.
Bread and Butter
Mixed Grill: Frying Steak (sliced topside), Pork Chops, Lamb Chops, Sausages, Large Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Eggs, Black Pepper, Olive Oil, Butter, Garlic Salt, Mint Sauce (from a jar), Garlic
Chips: Potatoes, Sunflower Oil, Salt.
Mixed Grill: The order in which you cook things should make sure that everything is just right. First get the mushrooms going. In a saucepan melt a little butter, mince some garlic and add to the butter. Place the mushrooms in, put a lid on and turn the heat down really low. Next, gently fry the sausages for about five minutes (to brown them) and then place in a warm oven to finish. Clean the pan. Rub a little olive oil on the pork chops and brown these on both sides in the frying pan, place in the oven to finish cooking. Chop the tomatoes in half, rub with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and place under the grill. Rub a little mint sauce on the lamb chops and grill these next to the tomatoes. Sprinkle the frying steak with garlic salt, fry quickly on both sides. When the lamb chops and steaks are done, leave them for a few minutes to relax, while you gently fry your eggs in a little olive oil. If your timing is good the steaks and lamb chops should be nice and rare, the pork chop juicy, the sausages cooked through nicely but not dry, the mushrooms soft and not burnt and the tomato browned but still firm.
Chips: The most important thing with chips is which potatoes you use. Apparently, the best of all are Golden Wonder, however, these are as rare as unicorn eggs and I've never seen them on sale anywhere, so use Maris Piper, King Edwards or Desiree instead. Start your chips before the mixed grill and they should be ready just about the same time. Peel, wash and chop the potatoes into chips. Place in salted water and boil for about five minutes. Drain. Place in hot fat and cook until they are crispy and golden.