When it comes to jobs around the house we all have our own special skills.
It makes for a more harmonious home if everyone knows what they’re responsible for. As it happens, our tasks are now split in quite a traditional way. Ed does proper ‘man jobs’ like re-building chimneys, making furniture, chopping logs, all the manly Grr type stuff.
My task list does sound like it belongs to a 1950’s housewife: washing, cleaning, ironing, making sure George gets to all his various classes, clubs and appointments in the appropriate clothes and with the correct things in his bag. The only downside to my career change was that I lost my fabulous cleaning and ironing lady. Don’t worry though, this doesn’t mean I’m tied to the kitchen sink. I’ve got a dishwasher. Plus I’m also not averse to getting down and dirty. I’ve built a few drystone walls over the years, I’ll have you know.
There are several areas of crossover; We both do a bit of decorating when pushed, although Ed has recently passed the painting baton over to me as he really can’t stand it. He happily provides me with a pile of tools and equipment then leaves me to it. The unspoken deal being that he’s not allowed to criticise my brush work. Lawn mowing and bin emptying fall into both camps – whoever has the lowest threshold and can’t bear it any longer is the one that gets the job done.
We are starting to build a task list for George, but I’ll be honest it’s 3 steps forward 2 steps back. Ed and I watched out of the window yesterday as George’s leaf clearing turned into a circus act of balancing the rake on his chin and ended in him adding leaves individually to the compost bucket by hand. They were falling off the tree behind him quicker than he was picking them up. At least, we agreed, he was outside in the fresh air trying to help.
In the kitchen we also have our separate roles: I always make the pancakes, fry the eggs, bake the cakes, I mostly enjoy things calm and measured.
Ed is better at the fire and knives stuff, savoury, no-recipe food that gets me in a lather. But his real specialist subject is flavour. He always seems to know just the right things that will make something taste delicious.
He made a rub for the brisket this weekend that was most splendidly tasty.
Our plan was to start the brisket in the oven, roasting it slowly over a tray of water and vegetables, then to smoke it over hickory chips in the kettle barbecue for an hour. But when we tasted the beef as it came out of the oven, Ed’s special blend, with smoked paprika, plus the long, slow cook had rendered it pretty much smokey and perfect already.
So we put it in a bun and ate it.
With tangy barbecue sauce (his job) and crunchy coleslaw (my job).
Ed’s Brisket Dry Rub (approximate quantities)
½ tsp Garlic Granules
1 tsp Onion Granules
1 tsp Table Salt
½ tsp White Pepper
1 tsp Ground Coriander
1 tsp Sweet Smoked Paprika
2 tsp Muscovado Sugar
½ tsp Dried Rosemary and ½ tsp Dried Thyme – ground with a mortar and pestle
Coat the meat in the dry rub and massage in.
Sit it in the fridge for 4 or more hours.
Put the meat on a rack over a kettle of hot water and some chopped celery, carrots and onion.
Cover with foil and cook on a low heat for several hours.
Our piece cooked for around 4 hours at 160°C but it depends on your cut of meat.
Ed’s Barbecue Sauce (rough amounts…until it tastes just right)
3 tbsp Ketchup
½ tsp Garlic Granules
2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Muscovado Sugar
1 tsp Mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Sweet Chilli Sauce
1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
Salt & Pepper
Boil it all in a pan and simmer for 15 minutes.