Well, I got some remarks about "The Romantic Bachelor" in my column last week including one from a lady who complained that she did not like the fact that her husband seemed to find the chapter "useful" (why, oh why did he use that word to his wife?)
We continue excerpts from my book Manners and Entertaining with a romantic recipe. I am now going to give you a great tip. Any dumb ''duh'' guy can make a wonderful ''Italian'' meal namely Spaghetti Bolognese!! With it you will be serving a good red wine. Not a red wine made in the Caribbean please. Buy a French or Italian red wine (I love Italian wines).
A simple recipe. Quick, she will soon be arriving!! Spaghetti Bolognese for a ''duh –every- now- and- then - chef. But first there are questions (if you do not know her well), that you should have asked her before she was invited for that 'first at home' dinner. Is she allergic to shellfish? Does she eat red meat? What does she enjoy drinking? If she does not eat red meat, you can still do that SB dish because you are going to substitute minced chicken.
2 packs minced chicken
I small bottle or can of tomato paste
3 tomatoes, two green peppers, some fresh mushrooms
Seasoning: garlic, onions, basil, oregano
Some red wine
And. . yes, I am not crazy. . a dash of instant coffee
Black pepper, salt and a sprinkle of hot pepper
1and half packs spaghetti
1 loaf French bread
Four or five Romaine lettuce leaves
2 tomatoes, cucumber, water crest, olives
Method for the Chicken Bolognese
Season the minced chicken. . just go to town with all the seasoning
Heat a small amount of the olive oil in your large frying pan
Brown the seasoned meat. . do not burn it, brown it
Lower the flame and add the green peppers that you have cut up not too small, just a little chunky, add the chunked up tomatoes, add the red wine and let simmer slightly
Now add the tomato paste, add more garlic (powder if you want to), and taste. If at all a little tart or even slightly bitter, add a tiny drop of instant coffee…how are you doing? Are you playing music? Put on some. .sip a little wine. NOT TOO MUCH.
By the way, have you put out some drink glasses and have you organised the mixers to go with whatever she drinks or fruit juices if she does not drink, and please have you put some ice cubes in a small ice bucket? No, not the cooler that you take down the islands. What about some peanuts or mixed nuts? Please take them out of the bottle before you serve them. I know you have a small bowl somewhere. DO NOT SERVE THEM FROM THE BOTTLE OR CAN! Back to the stove, you should now smell something delicious… turn off the stove, cover the frying pan. The meal progresses.
Time to organise the Garlic Bread. Diagonally slice the French bread, butter each slice front and back and easy as pie. Sprinkle garlic powder in between all the slices. Wrap in foil paper and leave to put in the oven for about 30 minutes. There are certainly other ways of doing this, including buying a loaf already made.
Now make that great salad, obviously you are going to wash everything very thoroughly. Tear up those leaves; take a fork, prongs down and scrape the cucumber skins with long strokes, cut very thin slices or chunk it up. And add the water cress. Put in your refrigerator immediately, you will add the olives and toss it (with two forks) and add basil, black pepper and a little salt with a drizzle of olive oil (that you may or may not have mixed with a little vinegar, dry mustard and a drop of sugar) just before you serve it.
What about the spaghetti? Do not put that on until you are ready to eat (I hope you are not one of those people who break up spaghetti). When the water is boiling ease the spaghetti into the pot), to cook. This water, of course, would have a drop of olive oil and salt for it to boil well. Do not overcook, it should be ''Al dente'' a little firm with a little ''bite''. When it is ready, throw into the colander (you do know what that is), and run cold water over it. It separates and is still hot! Do not do this yet, she is at the door. She's here.
Have you turned on the music? Turn on immediately BEFORE you open that door. Button your shirt please. What are you offering for dessert? If it is ice cream, take it out of the freezer as you sit down to dinner…… I am so sorry I did not give you a name. Let's just say your friends call you Rocco. Of course, to save all that trouble, you could invest in a barbecue and practise on your own. . or order in some jerk (if you are a Jamaican) or Chinese food, or nip out to Oistins beach, if you are in Barbados, buy some great grilled fish and "pretend" you did it... (not very truthful). Hey, good luck Rocco but be a gentleman. Remember "No" means "No", at the end of that meal and after all that wine. And it does not matter what she has on.
Is this a foolproof method for success? Nothing is foolproof. This ''method'' of entertaining can also be used for the divorced or widowed man living alone. It will not work if their teenage children are living with them and are at home because they will be laughed at, because your children will think you are too old for all that jazz.
Next week is for you ladies. Taken from Chapter 7 in my book, it is for "The Lady — Single, Separated or Somewhere in between!" Tips on how to recognise the men from whom you should stay away!