‘What true-love?’ I asked.
‘His name’s Nick, mum.’
‘Never heard of him. Have I met him?’
‘No and you’re not going to either’.
Here we go. ‘Why won’t I be meeting him?’
‘Because he’s busy.’
‘Mum, he’s left school. He’s 20. He works for his uncle doing security.’
Sounds like a bouncer. I’m picturing a thug. ‘Where does he live?’
‘Newport. He shares a flat with his cousin.’
‘Well when you’re next going to see him, get him to pop in here when he picks you up.’
‘He doesn’t drive. Doesn’t have a license.’
‘That’s why I wasn’t even going to tell you that I have a new true-love because that’s exactly how I expected you to react and I knew you’d just be unreasonable. Don’t you trust me?’
Just pouring myself a large tumbler of wine. ‘Arabella, I’m sure he’s lovely but you’re 16 and it’s not appropriate that you go out with someone we’ve never even met. If you don’t think I’m on the money, go ask your child psychologist what he thinks.
‘Well if I invited him over for dinner would you cook something nice?’
‘Well it won’t be poison’.
‘Can he come Friday night?’
‘Fine. But can he get here by six because we don’t want a late night because your father has an early start in the morning’.
And so Arabella went off to her room and behind a closed door she made a call to true-love-Nick. Meanwhile I phoned Carl to let him know there was an unlicensed 20-year-old thug coming for dinner with eyes on our daughter.
And what would be wrong with mince on toast? And that’s exactly what Carl said but I told him that I was going to whip up the meal as requested so Arabella could see how supportive and non-judgemental we were being.
Friday night was unseasonably warm so I decided we’d eat at the outdoor table on the terrace. There were candles on the table and ironed napery, a full moon was emerging from the horizon and Carl had even jumped into the moment by chilling down some of his favourite beers.
I was whipping up the béarnaise sauce when Carl came into the kitchen and said, ‘It’s 6.15. Where is he? Has she heard from him?’ I said, ‘Carl, don’t make a scene. I’ll go and ask her.’ ‘Ah Arabella, do you know what’s keeping him?’
‘He said he’s just on the bus.’
‘I don’t know, somewhere between here and Newport’.
‘Well what’s his ETA?’
‘Let’s start with a pre-dinner drink.’
‘Mum, I just spoke to him. He thinks he’ll be another hour.’
‘Another hour? You said he was on the bus nearly an hour ago.’
‘I know’, she screamed. ‘He’ll be here when he gets here’.
And Carl was about to tell her that when you’re invited to someone’s home for a 6 o’clock dinner, that’s the time you turn up but I muttered, ‘Don’t make a scene’.
So Carl and I ate our dinner out on the terrace by the light of the full moon. Nick never appeared and Arabella was off her oats. When she emerged from her room with her face all streaky with mascara, Carl was going to give Arabella a serve on the economic realities of eye fillet steak but instead, helped himself to another one.
That’s when Arabella told us that Nick, (under the pressure of having to ‘meet the parents’) had said it was too difficult having a true-love who was still in school.
The relationship was done and dusted. I tried to hide my excitement. Arabella was a mess. That’s when I shared with her something a friend had posted on facebook:
‘We need to teach our daughters to distinguish between:
A man who flatters her, and a man who compliments her.
A man who spends money on her, and a man who invests in her.
A man who views her as property, and a man who views her properly.
A man who lusts after her, and a man who loves her.
A man who believes he is God’s gift to women, and a man who remembers a woman was God’s gift to man.’
And Arabella sobbed.
This week I’m not sharing the meal I prepared for the ex-true-love-bouncer. I have previously cooked béarnaise sauce and the recipe is listed under my ‘Sauces’ category.
Instead I have prepared ‘Fresh Fruit with Sweet Cream Cheese’. This recipe is again from the cookbook RMS Titanic – Dinner is Served. The dessert was served to first class passengers on April 14, 1912, just a few hours before tragedy would strike. I imagine this dish would have been considered an indulgence and very extravagant given the variety of fresh fruit presented.
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: Inexpensive when using fruits in season
400g soft cream cheese
3 tbspns icing sugar
4 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
12 strawberries, hulled and sliced
12 grapes, halved (I used blueberries instead of grapes)
1 banana, peeled and sliced on a slant
Place the cream cheese and the icing sugar in a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside in the fridge until needed.
Prepare the fruit and place a presentation ring on a serving plate.
Alternate the fruit and cheese in layers, finishing with the cheese and a crown of any decorative fruit of your choice.
Strawberry coulis drizzled over the fruit would finish the dish off perfectly.