Monday, 20 January 2014


Now let’s see, the beef weighs 1.5 kg and the Chelsea game kicks off at 3pm. That’ll do nicely. So 1.5 kg in pounds is 2.2 plus 1.1, so just under three and a half pounds, at 20 minutes a pound plus your extra bit, that’ll be ... but no, hang on. 

There’s the Yorkshire pudding to consider.


When they’re scattering my ashes they won’t be debating whether I could write or not. They’ll be talking about how I supported Chelsea FC, and that I made a decent roast dinner.

So lucky me, when I can combine the two. Happily, putting together a roast dinner is an incredibly simple process, perfectly designed to be wrapped around a Chelsea game.
In the morning I do all the prepping. Carrots and green beans are ready to go, and normally I’d have the spuds peeled and ready to parboil, but not today; not when there’s a Yorkshire pudding to cook.

Roasting meat is a process of cooling down. Start with a very hot oven, and then reduce the heat all the way, but when you’re cooking a Yorkshire pudding, you’re going to need a burning hot oven in the last half hour of cooking.

Lacking the discipline to follow recipes, I’ve never actually measured the flour I sieve into the bowl. Does that look right? Hmmm, just a bit more. Yeh, that’ll do. Dump in 2 room temperature eggs and then whisk in a half pint of what we used to call ‘milk’, but now has to be described as Full Fat Milk. Absolutely none of those grey insipid liquids in yer Yorkie, for goodness sake.

A hit of salt, a twist of pepper and because I have testicles I count 100 whisks this way, 100 whisks that way, a few more because life is chaos and not order, and whack the mix in the fridge to do its stuff.

A quarter of an hour to kick off, heat the oven to 220, slap the heavy-bottomed skillet on the hob and fetch the beef from my bedroom. It’s been out of the fridge to loosen up for a couple of hours, stashed at the back of the house so as not to torment the dog, or inadvertently feed the dog 1.5kg of raw beef!

Hold the meat down into the hot skillet and seal it up until it’s caramelly and smelling almost burned on the outside all over. All those juices are locked in and there’s the lovely outside that makes roast beef extra yummy.

Blimey, I just had a Nigella moment. Isn’t this the bit where I’m supposed to dip my finger into a bowl of something, lick it and turn to camera with a seductive smile?
No, this is bloke cooking, so slide the beef into the oven, turning the heat down straight away to 180.

That’s it! That’s all you do. Except oh yes, I’m going to want a glass or three of red wine with my meal, so I’ll open it now to let it breathe, and while I’m at it, I’ll let some of it breathe in my glass.

Settled on the sofa for kick off, Chelsea come out like they never saw a football before. Oh dear, what’s this round thing that everyone’s kicking? It doesn’t matter who’s wearing the Chelsea strip, over the decades we’ve always been a team which doesn’t really start playing until we’re a goal down. If we get an early goal, I spend the following 87 minutes anticipating the moment when, as my much-missed Dad used to say,

“Chelsea once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

At last we’re losing. One-nil down from a corner. Bad defending, Cech fluffs the ball and it rebounds off a defender into the net. Phew. That’s good, now we’ll start playing.
Sure enough, just before half time, Torres has one of those rare fits when he temporarily turns into the player he used to be, passes two defenders and whacks in the equaliser.  Half time. Lovely jubbly. Off to the kitchen

Line another roasting tin with sunflower oil, get it in the oven and peel the spuds. Load the spuds into the spitting hot fat, toss ‘em around a bit, take the beef out, move it about a bit and baste it all over.

Sorted. Back to the sofa with a re-loaded glass of Bordeaux for the second half. In the 62nd minute Mourinho makes his customary tactical substitutions and all of a sudden we’re flying. Chelsea leading 2-1, then 3-1, the wine’s disappearing and spirits are up.

Final whistle, cheer out loud, turn the radio off, the tele onto Sky Sports News, hit pause and make haste to the kitchen.

Chelsea won, the wine’s working and you can call me Captain Kirk. Out with the beef, wrapping to rest in several layers of silver foil. Now turn that oven up to 220, baste the spuds, splash a spoonful of the meat juices into the sunflower oil in the Yorkie tin and put it in the oven to heat up.

If your Yorkie’s going to succeed, that oil has to be smokin’ hot. Take the pudding mix out of the fridge, whisk it and be patient. Wait for that oil to be frazzling, pour the mix in, and leave it in that super-hot oven for 25 minutes. That’s why I didn’t parboil the spuds today: they’re getting a full-on roasting in this final half hour.

Put the roasting tin on the hob, splash some wine in the pan and heat it up, deglaze all the gooey bits and pour it into the gravy. Mmmhmm.

Boil the veg, add the Snapper’s favourite frozen petit pois, carve the meat, lift the risen Yorkshire pudding from the pan, add the veggies, crispy spuds and horseradish sauce. Now retire to feast while watching post-match interviews with a plate of food bigger than our heads. Come on you Blues!

©Charlie Adley

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