For quite a time I had a reputation in my family and friends for making great omelettes; Even my mother said I did good omelettes, which is great praise indeed as she rarely paid me a compliment or had a nice word for me.
On one trip to see a friend in King's Lynn, she asked to try one of my omelettes on our second night together. Our first night we had a meal in a pub as I had been travelling since 10:00.
The easiest route for me would have been from Bristol to London, then from Paddington to King's Cross by tube and then onto King's Lynn, the problem is being disabled there is now way I could get from Paddington rail down to the tube station in time to catch the tube and then onto the train in the 10 mins allowed. This would have left me at King's Cross station for half an hour before the next train.
I decided to go via Birmingham, the change there was only 20 minutes and change again at Ely, the slight problem was this left me at Ely station for 45 mins, but at least it is a nice station in the summer-not to nice in the winter as I was to find out-and not stuck in a major station, the wait meant I caught the same train I would have had I gone to London, but the wait was in the open.
The first omelette was so nice, my friend asked for another at some time during the week I was to spend with her, the second happened on the Friday night-three days later-she had taken me into King's Lynn on her way to work and I spent the day taking photos and enjoying the day out, as it was mid-June I had not taken a coat and when the storm broke, I was soaked in minutes. I decided to walk out the the hospital she worked at, as it was now late afternoon and as I had no chance to get some food in for us, I suggested another omelette, which I knew she would not turn down.
My next visit was about a year and a half later, my friend and her bf were going to Stoke-on-Trent to spend Christmas with his parents and needed a cat/house sitter and I offered myself for the job, my friend was delighted as she knew I got on well with her cats and was trustworthy with house keys, so we arranged the trip. The trip was bad from the start, I missed most of my connections and was over an hour late arriving in King's Lynn.
Part of the reason was to allow my friend in Canada, Faye, to share some private time with me-I was not able to give her the one thing she wanted most, a Christmas together and even now I feel I let Faye down, nobody does. Being Christmas I asked my friend to get me a small chicken in for the Christmas dinner I planned. I took some herbs with me for the dinner, not expecting my friend to get too much in.
On Christmas Day, I cut the skin of the chicken and rubbed some peppers into the meat, allowing the juices to make the skin nice and crispy for the cooking. Having split the skin, I placed two cloves of Garlic under the skin and placed the chicken in the low oven on a low heat to get the best result, with basting the bird in its juices the end result was gorgeous' even the cats enjoyed the parts I treated them to.
My next two ventures were nothing if not unmitigated disaster, one was my fault but the second I take no blame for. I went to meet a lady I knew in Swanley and had agreed before hand that I would treat her to one of my omelettes, in my attempt to impress the lady, I put too much oil in the pan and the eggs never fried correctly-I learned she fed the meal to her dog behind my back.
The one I take no blame for was for a lady I used to know, who lived on the outskirts of London, I tried to make an omelette but the pan had a convex bottom and all the egg mix went to the outside, the part in the middle turned into scrambled eggs and got over-cooked as I could get used to oven and its heating. Later that weekend, I tried another speciality of mine-fish pie-but that turned out to be more like fish soup as the meal was rushed and I didn't have time to prepare properly.
About 3 years ago, I met my close friend Ruth on line, and for a birthday treat I said I would cook dinner for us on my visit. As she lives on her own, this was too be a double pleasure for my friend. The first meal was one of my omelettes, which she had heard a lot about and went down well. The second meal was a real treat, again a simple and easy to make meal for two people. This was chicken on a bed of lemon flavoured boiled rice with peas. We sliced the chicken into small pieces to make the pan frying quicker and after scoring the skins, we squeezed over the pieces some lemon juice.
While the chicken was slowly frying, we put the rice in some hot water and boiled it up for about ten minutes, at the same time boiling the peas so everything turned out at about the same time, this treat was very well received by Ruth and made a great change from having to cook for herself.
When I got back from my trip, I did the same meal for my family, the general consensus was that I am a good cook-even using simple things-the gratitude best shown by my youngest daughter's reaction, "Dad you're a brilliant cook, where have you been all my life(she was 16 at the time)." Sadly, owing to constant arguments with my step-son I stay out of his way and the kitchen for the majority of the time.
We can't always produce the best results-take your bad days and learn from them-analyse what went wrong and try to avoid making the same errors and most of all, remember even the top chefs make mistakes.