In my case, an in and out sort of cook, always blames her raw ingredients.
Take potatoes. And not any potato either. You can’t grow up in the fens of Lincolnshire without getting to know a bit about spuds. Maris Piper, Desiree, the King that is the Edward. We spit on Jersey Royals in the fens. Of course, things move on and the sacks of muddy King Edwards we used to keep in the garage are now more likely to be fancy pants varieties like Marfona, Vivaldi, Kestrel, Cara and Red Kerrs, scrubbed and fresh-faced in plastic.
On a Sunday it has to be King Edwards for roast potatoes. I went through a phase a few years ago where I roasted every kind of potato to be found in the “Heritage” section of potatoes, just to see if the mighty King Ed is really the best for roasting: it is.
So, imagine my dismay yesterday when they were all sold out. No Maris either which is a reasonably able substitute. No, there were “White Potatoes”. Now what the hell of variety is that? “White Potatoes?”.
I had to rummage around the shelves and in the end turned up a bag of Red Duke of Yorks. (The first Red Duke rocked up in a crop of White Dukes in Holland in 1942 in case you were wondering.) The first test for a roasting potato is how well it holds up to some vicious par boiling. The Red Dukes were ok. They held their shape, softened up some and were fairly amenable when I shook them in the pan to rough them up a bit. So far, so good. The received wisdom is that a good roasting potato should be floury and not waxy. This is true. However it should not be too floury otherwise they either collapse in the par boiling, or they are dry as the desert and demand too much fat in the roasting process.
At some point I had a couple of glasses of wine, so once the Red Dukes were chucked in the oven with some duck fat to roast (is goose fat better?) they pretty much had to fend for themselves. They survived, they were eaten, but I am still devoted to the King.