Not only is he a super-cook but also Director of my long-term (over quarter of a century) taxi company but he has just turned avid fisherman and arrived bearing gifts of freshly caught mackerel. He and brother-in-law Derek (of wedding cake fame) had just returned from another trip in their boat on the Solent.
Blind people are perfect for filleting fish: we can feel all those pesky tiny bones and get them out. But I was grateful that John had already gutted the mackerel. Simply fried in a very little olive oil, they were magnificent for breakfast with just a little of my apple, date and walnut chutney.
Last week, suitably masked, he prepared one of his favourite dishes: slices of gammon gently poached in honey with oven-cooked potato wedges. And long-term Navy pal, Maggie (again, I’ve known her for more than quarter of a century) joined us for the cooking demo and to devour the results.
1 Large potato per person
Seasoning mix such as a little ground chilli, garlic powder, crushed dried thyme and rosemary, salt and pepper.
1 gammon slice per person.
1 fresh pineapple, skin, core and top removed, sliced.
About three cherry tomatoes per person.
Stab the potatoes and microwave on high until becoming soft.
Cut the potatoes in to wedges lengthwise and brush all over with oil and then gently roll in the seasoning.
Place in a moderate oven (Gas 5) to crisp and finish cooking.
To prevent the honey burning, mix with oil: 3 measures honey to 1 measure oil.
Heat the honey mix gently in a frying pan and add the slices of gammon.
Cook gently for 20-30 minutes with the mix just bubbling rather than simmering and spitting.
Turn the gammon steaks over halfway and/or baste with the mix.
Remove the gammon when done and keep warm.
Add the pineapple slices and cherry tomatoes to the frying pan and heat through.
Serve the gammon, pineapple and tomatoes with the potatoes, a salad and those wonderful cooking juices.
The special extra touch was the cocktail that John created “to cut through the sweetness of the dish” or for any reason: Tall glasses full of ice with measures of gin and bitter lemon with segments of pink grapefruit squeezed over at the last moment. Maggie got a taxi home!