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MannyRayner

Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten
Feast: Food to Celebrate Life - Nigella Lawson My wife saw the tail-end of Nigella's Christmas Special on TV and was entranced... I was detailed to go pick up the book at Waterstone's when I went in to town the next day. I had never read any of her stuff (deep-rooted suspicions about celebrity chefs) but I have to admit it's very good. The recipes make sense, and she writes in a clear and amusing style.

We followed her advice on roasting our turkey and making the gravy, and the general consensus was that it was probably our best yet in both departments. We also used her recipe for Brussels sprouts with chestnuts, pancetta and Marsala. We didn't have any pancetta, so substituted ordinary bacon, but it still came out pretty well. Jonathan refused to try any, on the grounds that it was weird, but everyone else thought it was delicious. We'll do this again.

The only place where we departed completely from her advice was on the roast potatoes. I'm sure her way of doing them is also fine, but I have great faith in my own recipe, so I stuck with that. Here it is:

Italian-style roast potatoes

about 20 largish new potatoes
half a glass extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
salt
ground black pepper
thyme

Wash the potatoes, keeping the skin on, and cut into quarters. Parboil in salted water for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, crush the garlic and add to the olive oil, together with the rosemary leaves (stripped from the stems), a good sprinkling of thyme, a few twists of freshly ground black pepper, and some salt. You can omit the salt if you prefer - that works fine too, and is healthier.

Grease a baking tray, put the parboiled potatoes in it, and pour on the olive oil mixture. Stir well so that the potatoes are thoroughly covered. Put in the oven underneath the turkey about 90 minutes before it is due to come out. I am assuming that you are roasting the turkey at about Gas Mark 4.

When you take out the turkey, immediately turn up the heat to Gas Mark 6.5, and move the tray of potatoes to the top. By the time you have finished letting the turkey rest, carved it, and got everything else ready, they will be perfect.

Enjoy!