Teaching me to cook

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In my last column (it was printed in the Crawley Observer), I had written about remarkable teens and their subsequent achievements.

For this column, I wanted to bring forward a sort of 'case study', because, after all, anyone who can teach me to cook should consider that an achievement. (Yes, I can hear the sniggers now.) I'm a notoriously bad cook, baker, and probably candlestick maker-but it's a skill I need to learn. Although I would love to, I cannot reside on takeaways, or cinema sugary snacks.

Nathan Lawson is a seventeen year old, Lindfield-based aspiring Chef. In contrast to my tendency to burn things, he is an excellent cook. And he offered to teach me how to cook a full meal.

"Duck is one of those temperamental things" I'm quickly informed, much to my amusement. Learning to cook duck breast, roasted potatoes, with cabbage and shallots, plus a sauce to accompany, is not something that I would have ever guessed I would be doing. It's definitely a meal I can imagine myself cooking, time and time again. Maybe at Christmas, after the Turkey has been finished, and every last present unwrapped.

The sauce-sweet red wine Jus-is utterly delicious overall, complete with an infusion of Plums. It smells of Christmas-that heady scent, complete with a sweet tang, and sour bite. Anyone who can teach me how to cook a meal like this is going to be a great Chef, in my opinion.

In between, we chat about virtually everything under the Sun-almost a year and two months to digest, since we last met.

Dessert is what I like best- Panacotta and Cherry Liquor Sauce. Utterly yummy! And to somebody with an unsophisticated palate, such as myself (!)..it's a great dessert. And I can see a relative, or two, asking me to cook this. The sauce contrasts with the perfect note of sourness, to the sickly cream.

My only criticism? Burns! Chefs-if any are reading-food is really not worth burning or damaging your skin for. Take care when cooking. And yes, I understand that's a little bit patronising coming from me, but that is the one major lesson I learnt when Lawson was teaching me to cook. We chatted about the risks if we cooked-largely with oil, when cooking the potatoes. Seeing it spit, I occasionally flinch, in not wanting to get too close.

Another teen to add to the list? Yes, indeed.

Currently I'm Reading: David Bowie: Hero By Lesley-Ann Jones (what a great, hefty book!) And I'm listening to: Greatest Hits Live By Carly Simon. (A great concert that I never had the chance to see.)

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