Sunday, 2 March 2014

I Resemble My Mother

People who remember her tell me that when I have my hair up, I look like my mother.  I put my hair up yesterday, which is maybe why I roasted the potatoes under the chicken.

Sometime in the early 1980s, Delia Smith told us, in her Complete Cookery Course, how to make roast potatoes crispy on the outside and fluffy inside.  Following her instructions, I have occasionally managed this. I parboil the potatoes for ten minutes, shake the pan to roughen their surfaces, then roast them at a very high temperature.  

My mother cooked a roast lunch - shoulder of lamb or chicken - every Sunday of my childhood.  She'd prepare it before we went to church at 11 o'clock.  Just before leaving the house, she would put the potatoes into the roasting tin around the meat. When we got back, she'd make thick gravy, and boil the peas and carrots.  The meal would be on the table by 1 o'clock, whatever the length of my father's sermon.  It was always the same, always delicious.

One thing I make differently from the way my mother made it is crumble mix.  I include oats, nuts and cinnamon with the flour, butter and sugar.  Sometimes, I add ginger or pine nuts.

Some days, I put my hair up; some days, I leave it loose.  I've never been able to decide which I prefer.


  1. roast dinners are evocative...I can almost smell your mother's roast potatoes = mouth is watering...