The other day I was preparing my dinner – a ready meal of Thai Green Curry – and guess who was there in my kitchen, judging my every move? Yes! John and Greg from MasterChef. I felt nervous under their critical gaze, but think I did myself proud.
Greg was impressed – for the first and last time – with my fork stabbing motion when piercing the packaging. I managed to make several nicely spread fork marks without tearing into the lid so that it was beyond repair.
John – already on my side because Thai is his favourite – was charmed by my liberal use of chilli flakes, added in at just the right moment. ‘Just the right moment’ of course, is just after half way through the cooking time when you’re instructed to lift the lid, stir and continue microwaving. Not flicking water everywhere from the flapping lid scores me extra points.
I add in a couple of extra minutes (well, more like 10 minutes) cooking time to make sure to get rid of some of the excess water from the sauce, completely removing the plastic film lid and replacing it with a sheet of kitchen towel. I make a big fuss of this to ensure they see my manoeuvre. A silent nod of approval comes my way from both, but mainly John.
Whilst the final cooking time is underway, I prepare my cutlery and put a slice of kitchen roll, neatly folded under it. Microwave meals don’t mean one has to be unsophisticated. I could also empty the dishwasher during this time, but I simply don’t want to.
I manage to make the transition from microwave to kitchen top without spilling any of the bubbling contents, something I’m always quite proud to achieve. I know that John noticed because he loves a tidy work station and I was sure I saw a twinkle in his eye.
They are disappointed that I did not leave the food for the recommended 2 minutes to stand after bringing it from the microwave. In my defence, I do sometimes leave it to stand, but that’s more dependent on whether or not I’ve heard the ping from wherever I am in the house.
On this occasion (because the dishwasher is full with all the plates), I’ve opted to serve the food straight from the packaging. To be fair to me, it’s rather nice packaging, and in the shape of a nice bowl, not a rectangular pot with rounded corners that goes bendy from the heat. This one has retained the shape and the food looks nice against the black, shiny plastic. Whoever created this ready-meal really thought it through. I wipe around the inside edges for the final touch, and of course, make sure there are no little bits of plastic remaining from the film lid.
Horrified as they were by my choice of vessel, when they come to taste the food, I achieve a lifelong ambition, to make John cry. Sadly, he’s not moved by my presentation, or the aforementioned chilli flakes, instead he’s burned his mouth on the food which is by now, basically nuclear. What can I say; I like my food really, really hot. Greg was overall unimpressed, but I knew he wouldn’t like it cause he’s a git.
Once I’d finished my dinner, I politely asked them to leave. I still don’t know how they got in.