Hello! I’m Charlie, Thornbridge’s Southern Account Manager. I’ve been here for just over a year, but I’ve been furloughed for more days than I’ve worked, a bit of an odd start!
I’ve been asked to write this post about what I’ve been up to during my time off, so if you’re a key worker who’s been working non-stop over the last year, you’ll probably find this very annoying- Sorry! And Thank You!
Like a lot of people, I’ve used the last twelve months to get myself a bit more competent in the kitchen. Although beer is my favourite way of consuming carbohydrates, I spent most of the first lockdown trying to perfect Roast Dinners. I would now describe my Roast Potatoes as ‘almost as good as my Mum’s’. For anyone who’s interested, my method is:
- Leave yourself enough time to make them- when I’m making a roast I find they always need an extra 15 minutes to get really crispy. Start them early- if they’re ready before everything else they’ll stay hot and crispy for longer than you’d think.
- Peeled Maris Pipers, or something equally floury.
- Parboil until they’re *almost* fully cooked
- Drain and let them steam themselves dry
- Arrange them in a roasting dish with plenty of space between them, and then douse them in LOTS of oil- (any oil is fine- duck fat on roast potatoes is unnecessary)
- Roast them in a hot oven- they’ll take at least an hour, flipping them a couple of times
- Flaky salt to finish them. If you want to add any herbs to them, do it in the last five minutes of cooking- if I add them at the start, I find that I end up with lovely potatoes and bitter, burnt herbs.
For the perfect roast, you need the perfect beer, and from the Thornbridge range I’d recommend Late Star, our ESB for the full ‘Pub lunch in your house’ experience. I reckon Mother’s Ruin would also make a great choice- the spices and brett yeast character would go really well with all of the roasty flavours.
As you can imagine, after all of this cooking, I’ve had to find a way to burn off some of those potato calories. Living in London, I’ve always found cycling to be pretty intimidating, but with the streets as quiet as they’ve ever been, it was the perfect time to get back into cycling: firstly with a few hire-cycle trips along the river during the summer, and then some more lengthy trips on my own bike. Last December, with the pubs shut again, and back on furlough, I decided to challenge myself to cycle to all 270 London Underground stations. It was about 500km of cycling over 2 weeks, interesting to see the bits of London you normally only visit when you fall asleep on the Tube, and was broadly enjoyable, with the exception of Heathrow, which is an absolute Hellscape if you’re on a bike.
The only other thing of note that I’ve done in the last year was to volunteer for the Oxford vaccine trial- my housemate is an A&E doctor, so in the ‘contributions to society’ competition in my flat, there’s never been much competition, but it’s been super-interesting being part of the development, and to be honest, an occasional trip to have blood samples taken constituted a fun day out in spring 2020.
In the coming weeks I’ll be taking on an additional job in a vaccination hub in London- getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, so that I can get back to the fun stuff of getting Pints of Jaipur into your hands in pubs and restaurants.
Hope to see you all soon!