Thursday, 18 April 2013

The best day of my life

A couple of days ago we went to view a house for rental that bore more than a passing resemblance to the house in the video for 'Thank You' by Dido.  Very old by Wellington standards, about 1870, it was a little pink cottage, replete with wooden floors and fireplaces and fruit trees in the back garden, surrounded entirely by industry, retail and car parks.  And yet once inside, it was so utterly, utterly charming I could feel its bewitching pull on us.  Despite being so absolutely impractical, and despite Andy banging his head on the staircase that we had no chance of getting any of our furniture up, I tried desperately to imagine our life in the little pink cottage.

Not to be this time; practicality must be the way forward.  So we're still looking, and still in a state of flux, and Andy, in all his wonderfulness, must daily talk me down from the edge of "andwe'regoingtohavenowheretolivepanicpanicpanic".  In addition to all this flux, we're having to tighten our belts quite spectacularly at the moment, to prepare for moving costs and cope with the costs of an ancient campervan.  Treats are few and far between - my contribution is to make meals out of virtually nothing in the Mother Hubbard-esque cupboards; Andy's contribution is to reassure me it's lovely.  Which he does, even when I know we're eating nothing more than a conjuring trick.

So in this time of flux, when we do have a treat, it takes on a special significance.  A perfectly cooked steak (blue for me; wave a match at it and call it done, medium for Andy) with great sides is just such a treat.  And I can think of few things that would pair up with a great steak quite as well as these garlic wedges.  Doused and dredged in an aromatic mixture of garlic oil and tickle-the-back-of-your-throat spices, these are so heavenly that, even on their own, they would do an excellent job of keeping the wolf from the door and turn even the most scary, hide under the covers kind of day into the best day of your life.  Even if only for a short while - which, let's be honest, is sometimes all it takes.

Baked Garlic Fries
Adapted from Lottie & Doof

Note: the original recipe uses the microwave for this, as do I.  If you prefer not to use it, it would be very simple to heat the oil in a pan, and to steam the wedges on your hob then mix them with the oil.  

4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large potatoes or 4 smallish, cut into wedges
1.5 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
0.5 teaspoons garlic granules
0.25 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Preheat your oven to 225C.

In a bowl large enough to later hold the potatoes, mix the garlic with the oil.  Heat it in your microwave until warm and fragrant - about a minute.

Remove 2 tablespoons of the oil only, and put in a roasting tray.  To the remaining oil and garlic, add the wedges, tossing well to coat them.  Cover with clingfilm and microwave on high until starting to go translucent around the edges - about 4 minutes in my microwave.  Most will take about 3-6 minutes.  Give them a good shake halfway through.

In a small bowl, mix together the cornflour, salt, pepper, garlic granules and cayenne until well combined.  When the potatoes are done, tip in the cornflour mix and toss very well, coating them thoroughly.

Tip the potatoes into the roasting tray and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping them halfway through, until crunchy and golden and delicious.

Serves 2, generously.


  1. Replies
    1. They are! They're a big favourite in this house.

  2. Love wedges but feel totally guilty when I have them. How lucky are we that we can actually conjure something from nothing, good upbringing I say.

    1. My mum reads this so no doubt she will agree with you on the good upbringing comment! Very much agree though, I feel very lucky that we have such options without resorting to rubbish.

  3. they do look superb... we're house hunting at the moment too and to be honest I feel like crawling into a hole...

    1. It's just a hideous experience isn't it? Are you leaving your lovely cottage or looking for an additional place? You have my full sympathy and empathy.

  4. Oh, the dreams and hopes that sit in the back of your mind whilst house hunting! I hope you find the perfect nest! In the meantime, comfort food helps, doesn't it? Especially when it's a small indulgence that packs a good wallop! Great tater side for that beauty of a steak!

    1. I love your optimistic outlook Susan, what a great way of looking at it. Comfort food all the way for me.

  5. I certainly agree with the good upbringing comment!!!

    Now that you are planning on moving soon, you will definitely have to put a ban on supermarket shopping and start using up as much food as possible. I'm sure you'll be very creative with the foods you need to use up, so I'm looking forward to seeing some interesting dishes appear on you blog over the next couple of weeks. I know you may be far too busy to update your blog, but if you take some photographs you can upload the recipes once you've settled in.