Saturday, March 04, 2006

Hoist on my own petard

Tax time's coming, the Sharing o' the Green, and the accountants' offices are busy as a cat house when the fleet docks. Frustrated by the goings-on of last year's firm, who treated me like chopped liver, I jumped ship and landed in a much more professional outfit. They did, however, remark that I was "too well organized". Moi?

Reading: "The Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey", mostly by Patrick O'Brian, very thoughtfully sent to me by Susannah.
It is well known that I am the man's geatest living aficionado, but this is ridiculous. If they could squeeze another corpuscle out of that man, this is it. Like underwear, no matter how clean, it was never intended for public viewing; it's the bare bones of a novel, the first draft, padded copiously with duplicates of every page in the original handwriting, and with an embarrassingly fulsome multi-page intro. If it reveals anything, it's that the finished books were brought to life by vivid, imaginative embellishment which is missing entirely in this rough sketch.

The man's dead, for heaven's sake. A marvellous, unmatched series of beautifully crafted novels/ripping yarns has come to an end. We'll just have to get over it.

Truite rotie boulangere: (for the boyfriend)
1 whole trout, about 1kg.
1 kg potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 onion
1 clove garlic, minced
250 ml bouillon or fish stock
1 bay leaf
Sprig of thyme
50 gm butter
1 tablespoon peanut oil
salt, pepper

Generously butter a baking dish; layer the potatoes, garlic and onion in the dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the bouillon, bay leaf and thyme.
Bake in preheated oven (gas mark 7--210*c or 425*F) uncovered, for 25 minutes. (Original recipe called for 15 min., but I found the potatoes remained crunchy)
Place the prepared trout on top of the potatoes, brush with the oil and adjust seasoning. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
(Je cuisine--365 jours,730 recettes--marvellous book, unknown publisher, another gift from Susannah)

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