Power-failure bangers and mash

2011-05-09 00:00

MY dog thinks I'm wacko. She's a Border Collie, which means we think that she's quite an intelligent dog, but lately I think the roles have been reversed.

I can see that look on her face and can imagine what she's thinking: "He's a human. Aren't they supposed to be quite intelligent?"

When my dog was younger she was convinced that we voluntarily­ turned the lights off so we could light candles and all that stuff just to be romantic, but recently she began to realise that this constant darkness is not quite the romantic notion it is made out to be.

I am convinced that she is now of the opinion that I am just plain mad.

Let me elaborate. Just the other evening, after a 24-hour power failure, I returned home with my butt wagging, thrilled to see that we had electricity.

My wife was going out to some supper lecture and I had bought my usual (if I've got to cook), bangers and mash. However, my joy was short-lived.

Returning home from taking the intelligent dog for a walk I dutifully put away the camping stove, the gas bottles and the rechargeable lights, although now obviously not charged from the previous night, only to, yet again, have the lights go off a minute later.

So back up the ladder to retrieve the stove in the garage, get the gas bottles out, find a few candles and the odd rechargeable light which hadn't as yet gone flat and then set everything up again before it became pitch black.

I quickly ran a bath because the water would still be hot but while sitting in it I wondered if I'd made the right decision, as now that I'd used the hot water this meant another cold shower in the morning.

But spare a thought for the dog. She comes home from her walk, watches me put away all the camping stuff, watches me take it all out again, watches me light candles for the second night in a row, wonders why I don't stop muttering about our municipality for just one second, and wonders why I just don't push that button that every other­ day makes light.

I'm sure she thinks, "I thought these humans were supposed to be intelligent."

Quite frankly I was now becoming acutely embarrassed and in front of my dog, nogal.

Anyway, that gives you some background to this trusted recipe which I hope you will stash away for power-failure nights in the not-too-distant future — like probably tomorrow.

• Take one two-burner camping gas stove and light both plates. Find a light which still has some power left in it and position it between the sink and the stove. Hint: headlamps are very useful in these situations.

• Take one steak pan and place it on one of the burning gas stoves. Insert bangers. Think about adding a few more as almost certainly you won't have power in the morning and you don't want to repeat thisprocess, especially after a cold shower.

• Take a pot and add enough water to make Smash. Then add a bit more water for the instant gravy — packet-type brown onion.

• Take another pot and add frozen peas, (probably not still frozen) and water. Have this pot standing by.

• Once the water has boiled, take off and replace with peas. Hint: put a lid on the pot you have taken off the heat to keep the water hot for longer so that it will take less time to reheat later.

• Continue to cook sausages and other fridge remnants while cooking peas. Once peas are cooked take them off and replace with large pot of water which you took off earlier which now needs to be bought back to the boil. Hint: leave peas in boiling water to keep hot and for other reasons as you will see later.

• Once big pot of water has boiled again, add appropriate amount to instant gravy powder and add Smash to remainder of water. Smash can get stodgy, (mine did), so use water from peas, which you wouldn't have if you'd drained them earlier.

• Now drain excess water from peas and serve with Smash, sausages, other remnants and gravy. Everything should be hot and ready to eat.

If you really feel like it, eat next to a candle. It is very romantic, especially considering you are on your own with the intelligent dog.

• Compiled by the Hilton Naked Chef (it makes no difference as you can't see me in the dark and the dog already thinks I'm wacko).

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