I went into the kitchen and made sure to wash my hands,
then looked inside the cupboards and took out the pots and pans.
I sorted out my sharpest knives and laid them carefully
beside the wooden chopping-board I'd brought home from Capri,
a wine-glass, and a bottle of a cheeky Spanish red
(another happy souvenir of my travels to the Med).
I thought I'd better have some herbs to flavour up my lunch,
so I went into the garden and picked myself a bunch
of parsley, sage and rosemary, then poured myself a drink
– a drop of wine should help me in my labours round the sink.
Then I peeled and chopped an onion, which I sautéed golden brown
in extra-****** olive oil. There was no time to sit down
while I scrubbed some new potatoes and put them on to boil,
so I had another glass of wine to help me through my toil.
Some Italian vine tomatoes and some peppers, red and green,
I sliced up on my chopping-board – no need for a machine,
and I always think that slicing veg is somehow that bit kinder –
then I sprinkled them with sea-salt and some pepper from the grinder.
By now my glass was empty, so I poured another drop in
to replenish all that energy I'd used up in the chopping,
and started on the vegetables, some pak-choi and mangetout,
from the local Farmers' Market, though they cost a bob or two.
I got the steak out ready, a lovely bit of fillet,
and lit the gas to heat the pan, my well loved cast-iron skillet.
It wouldn't need that long to cook; I didn't need to think
too hard about it, so I poured another little drink.
“That's really rather good,” I thought, but noted, broken-hearted,
that I'd finished off the bottle – and I thought I'd hardly started.
Still, I laid the steak into the pan. I left it there to fry
and uncorked a second bottle. “Here's to me. Mud in my eye.”
I don't know why at this stage I was feeling less than fine,
but the cure was very obvious – another glass of wine.
My attention must have wandered then, if only for a minute,
for I saw the pan was smoking, and the steak that I'd left in it
was going up in flames, and so, although I knew I'd rue it,
I emptied out the bottle – it grieved me sore to do it.
The potatoes were so overcooked they'd boiled completely dry,
and were rather badly scorched; I wish I knew the reason why.
Still, I rescued what I could, and laid it sadly on my plate,
and I know you won't believe it, but I thought it tasted great.
So when relations come to dine, perhaps on Christmas day,
I'll serve my speciality – I call it …. Steak Brulé.
(Alternative last line, for American readers :
I'll serve them up my specialty – I call it …. Steak Brulé.)