Monday, 26 November 2007

Burgers and Chook and Spuds

Continuing on the no-curry kick, we had burgers from Flatheads yesterday, and a chook with baked potatoes and salad tonight.

Flatheads is in the O'Connor shops, on McPherson Street. As the name implies, they are a fish-and-chippy place, and I can attest that their fish is very good: it's always ultra fresh, and with excellent crispy batter. They also do the best takeaway burgers in the inner north - and if you disagree, please let me know where else to look! It's real meat, fresh salad, and real bread, and beetroot comes standard. If you want extras, the bacon they use is very good - a bit smoky and lean - and the cheese is real cheddar, not that plastic stuff. The torpedo buns are a bit unorthodox, but I really don't care if my burger is round or oval. The only drawback - and it's a big one - is that their service is consistently very slow. It's a good idea to ring your order through half an hour in advance, and I've known it to be even worse than that at times. Immensely frustrating if all you want is a quick burger - for speed you'd be better off ordering one from the All Bar Nun bar menu, though it won't be quite as nice and will cost more.

Tonight I came home from work about 6pm, and we were eating our roast chook and baked potatoes at 7pm. To do this, I turned the oven on the moment I was in the door. While it was preheating, I fed the cats and butterflied a smallish chicken. I then whacked said chook in a hot oven (200 fan forced) for 45 minutes, with a bit of lime juice and Herbie's cajun seasoning sprinkle over the skin. After 15 minutes, I added a dash of some leftover white wine to increase the pan juices enough to baste it with. I used my potato technique described below, and made up a salad. Simple and good.

Technique: Weeknight Baked Potatoes
To make quick baked potatoes, give your spuds a good wash and scrub, then poke a few holes in the skin. Pop them uncovered in the microwave on high - 5 minutes for two medium baking potatoes works well. Take them out carefully - they will be hot and there maybe som esteam in the microwave. Skewer each one with a metal shish-kebab skewer. Put these directly on the oven rack in a hot oven (you guessed it, 200C fan forced) and leave them alone for 20 minutes.

The effect of this is really pretty good - the skin ends up a bit crunchy, the inside nicely done. They're not quite as fluffy as slower baked ones, but the skewer and open oven does remove a lot of the excess moisture that you expect from a microwave treatment. And hey, weeknight! What do you want? Perfection, or dinner at a reasonable hour?

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