Little Chef

Little ChefAsk anyone who knows me, I’m not the greatest cook on Earth, and openly admit it. But I’m always up for a challenge. So when I was told, before the holiday, that everyone was expected to cook an evening meal for the crew, my heart sank a little.

Bumble is a very kind lady, and she was as determined as I was, to turn me into a little chef, if only for one day. So before we set off to Shropshire, we put our heads together to come up with a meal that could be prepared in limited circumstances and with even more limited experience.

You might have thought, that having lived alone for a couple of years, I would have honed my culinary skills to perfection. Sadly that is not the case. I am fine at the simplest meals, beans on toast, the odd pasta dish, but nothing more taxing. That just wouldn’t cut it with the SAS, Steve is a rather fussy eater, as he’d openly admit, so we had to be a little creative.

B helped me make the choice. I had chicken breasts, soft cheese, a choice of herbs and spices and some rindless bacon. So I decided to make something tasty, a dish that would tickle the taste buds, and a sweet and spicy mix that would be easy, if not quick to prepare.

My chicken breasts, filled with soft cheese and diced chilli, glazed with mango chutney and wrapped in the bacon rashers turned out perfectly. Bumble was fair but firm with me, making sure that the timings were spot on, so the meat and the roast vegetables came together perfectly. The choice was decided and I was feeling much more confident, it tasted fantastic and B was very complimentary.

So tonight I had my chance to shine, but equipment failure looked set to scupper my efforts. The propane gas oven just wasn’t up to the challenge and stubbornly refused to get up to temperature. So with a lot of help from all concerned, the chicken was cooked using the tiny microwave and then finished off in a vaguely warm oven.

But though I say so myself, the dish turned out perfectly. The chicken, that could easily have come out as dry as a bone, was simply delicious. The parma  ham, that had been substituted for the bacon, held the parcels together as intended and the mango chutney worked wonderfully as a sweet glaze, contrasting and complimenting the spicy filling.

The whole experience was a bit of a trial, the equipment failures had put a lot of stress on the process. But with a great deal of help from Bumble, as well as very welcome support from Sue and Steve, it turned out well in the end.

So having met the challenge head on, having kept my cool, at least for some of the time, I’m rather proud of the outcome. We all experience challenges in life. Many, if not most of them, far more important than cooking a meal. But the lesson learned today was one of perseverance, determination, team work and self improvement, and it will serve me well, way into the future.

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