Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K Jerome, is one of Zelda's favourite books, with its gentle humour and evocation of a by-gone time. George, Harris, J and Montmorency the dog take a short boating holiday on the Thames, but they find that life on the water is not as relaxing as they had anticipated.
Here, in Chapter 14, they attempt to prepare potatoes:George gathered wood and made a fire, and Harris and I started to peel the potatoes. I should never have thought that peeling potatoes was such an undertaking. The job turned out to be the biggest thing of its kind that I had ever been in. We began cheerfully, one might almost say skittishly, but our light-heartedness was gone by the time the first potato was finished. The more we peeled, the more peel there seemed to be left on; by the time we had got all the peel off and all the eyes out, there was no potato left — at least none worth speaking of.
I think, if they came to dinner, it would be a good idea to show them a lovely way of cooking potatoes without peeling them. (Just substitute the wood fire for the oven. Cover them in two layers of foil and place them directly in the ashes. Check after half an hour.)
SPICY SPIRAL SPUDS
4 or 5 medium size baking potatoes
50g parmesan style cheese, grated finely
1tsp garlic granules
salt and pepper
2tbsp olive oil
Wash the potatoes. Then place a metal skewer through the centre, lengthways.
Starting near the top, cut down to the skewer. Twist the potato and keep cutting in a spiral, cutting right to the skewer each time.
Pull apart slightly like a spring.
Mix the spices with the cheese and the garlic granules, plus the salt and pepper.
Coat all over with olive oil.
Rub with the seasoning and push it into the spiral.
Cook at 190°C/ 375°F/ Gas 5 for about 50 minutes.
Serve with the skewers in. (Carefully remove them to eat.)
Lovely with some chilli, corn on the cob and sour cream.