Don’t Do This At Home! by Charlotte Bennie

When it comes to keeping the household fed and watered, I’ve had my fair share of culinary disasters attributable to my poor sight. Never mind disasters which, well, just were. The Passion Cake pouring itself all over a work top instead of cooling on the rack comes immediately to mind. Baked for a Special Birthday. So, after a tantrum worthy of a three year old, I just had to fire up the Kenwood and do it all again. This time, successfully. I wouldn’t recommend adding peaches to spaghetti Bolognese. It might help achieve the five a day, but it isn’t tasty . No I wasn’t aspiring to the dafter heights of Nouvelle Cuisine, I just couldn’t see what I was doing. I’ve a recipe for quick spag bol which I’ve used ever since my student days, when it was my height of culinary excellence. Basically, you empty a tin of condensed tomato soup into mince. Actually, there’s a bit more to the recipe, but that’s the bare essential. I have to check tins carefully; much squinting, trying to distinguish the colour; shoogling, judging contents by sounds. I could, I suppose, try that app on the I Phone, scanning the bar code. But, I prefer keeping all things with wee screens, containing expensive gadgetry away from culinary activity. Anyway, this incident preceded the I Phone. Even preceeded  the talking tin lids; the ones my nephews transformed into items of rudery.  Having done all the above, I opened a tin. However, being rather too confident, I neither smelled  it, nor poked in a clean, inquiring digit. Just upended it and plapped in the contents. Then said things. Several things. None of them polite. Yes, peaches can be removed, slice by slithery slice, but you can’t remove the juice. Behind the flavour of the official ingredients, it lurked; a ghastly sweet back taste. Then, there was the custard incident. I was cooking pheasant. No, Miss Pupkin doesn’t have a Saturday job, working as a Gun Dog. Nor does my husband shoot over acres of Scottish countryside. When I want a pheasant, I buy it from the Fish Man; all the complicated, messy palaver already done. Pheasant, cream, sliced apples and a pinch of cinnamon. If anyone wants the details, I’ll happily oblige. One Sunday evening, I served this. To follow was a crumble made from the last of the summer rhubarb, discovered in the permafrost down in the depths of the freezer. Hot crumble, with cold custard. One of the best puds around. With the main course cleared, husband was searching in the fridge for the custard. Where was it? I explained it was in a tub; posh stuff, Marks and Sparks. More rumbling about. No tub of custard. Only a tub of Marks and Sparks cream. Unopened. I’d assumed the unusual sweetness of the sauce could be explained by the apples. Husband had thought the sauce rather a vivid yellow but had assumed I’d added some new spice. Neither had realised I’d casseroled the pheasant in sliced apples and custard. Ah well, cream goes just as well with crumble as custard does. However, I’m not so sure about custard with pheasant. My most recent mistake involved a curry. here, I must admit to cheating. I buy packs of spices, prepared with the exact proportions already mixed together. By someone inStranraer and sold in our local health food shop. All I have to do is prepare meat and vegetables.I carefully poured a wee bag of spices into the liquid from a tin of tomatoes; making sure I didn’t waste precious ingredients by scattering them over the work top. I added the drained can of tomatoes to my casserole. Only, I didn’t. Something was wrong. Carefully, I sniffed the tin; poked in a clean finger; recoiled. Without spilling an atom, I’d poured the spices into the tomatoes instead of into the jug of tomato liquid. Mind you, It would have been much worse if I’d poured curry spices into an open tin of custard. 

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