Tales of food, sex and friendship




Archive for October, 2011

Squid with Sherry, Macadamia and Saffron

October 27, 2011


Squid is a tricky thing to get right, but if done correctly it is one of the most mouthwatering delicacies you could ever hope to eat. Make sure you get really good, fresh squid and if you’re going to make this for someone you want to impress, perhaps do a trial run first.

Serve with a crisp green salad and cold white wine. Serves four as a starter/side dish.

500g cleaned squid

3 tbsp olive oil

3 finely chopped garlic cloves

3 bay leaves

15 macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

Pinch of saffron

½ cup dry sherry

1 tbsp sherry vinegar

Salt

3 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Put a large pot of salty water to a boil. Put the bay leaves in the water.

Slice the squid tubes into thick rings and set aside.

Mix the macadamia nuts, a pinch of salt, and the saffron in a food processor. Add the sherry and the sherry vinegar and whizz for a minute.

When the water is almost boiling, heat the olive oil in a deep pan or small pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute — do not let it brown. When you see the first piece browning, pour in the sherry-saffron-macadamia mixture, stir well and turn the heat down to medium. Bring to a boil then drop the heat again to medium-low. Let this cook for 3-5 minutes.

After the sauce is cooked, add the parsley and stir to combine. Taste to see if it needs more salt.

Once the water is boiling, drop the squid into the boiling water. Remove them after 45 seconds – no more!

Drain the squid and toss in with the sauce. Turn off the heat, stir to combine and serve at once.

Season 4: Epsiode 8

October 25, 2011

Willow stomped her foot and crossed her arms over her chest, a frown creasing her ordinarily cheerful face. Here she was again, knee deep in clothes strewn across the floor, not a thing to wear, her stomach a bundle of nerves, and potentially running late for another date with Robert Fortescue. She had reluctantly put on her only matching set of expensive lingerie again, thinking that it deserved another innings after the last rather short lived one.

Why do I do this to myself, she thought, sifting through dress after dress, trying to find the perfect one. She wanted her outfit to say ‘I’m gorgeous and glamorous and always dress like this, so don’t think that this outfit is for you. But it might be. So impress me.’

It wasn’t a big ask, was it?

As seemed to be her permanent countenance where this man was involved, she was irrationally cranky with Robert Fortescue. This time, it was residual annoyance from their last date. Why couldn’t he have just told her, straight off the bat, that the amazonian goddess who owned the bar where they had gone was a relative? Willow had become progressively jealous as the night wore on, getting very drunk and finally accusing Robert of flirting with another woman. He had laughed, telling that ‘the other woman’ was his cousin. He had bundled Willow into a cab and sent her off, as though she were a silly child incapable of looking after herself. The more she thought about it, the angrier she got.

Furious, she pulled open her dresser drawers and fished out her most plain underwear. She took off the lace set and replaced it with something Bridget Jones would have been proud of. She looked in the mirror and put her hands on her hips.

“Take that Robert Fortescue,” she said triumphantly to her dowdy reflection.

Her pleasure was only short lived. Take what, she thought. Some blue cotton knickers and a bra in a totally different hue? Yeah, that’d show him. No, what she needed to do was wear the good stuff, but not let him see it. Or, let him see it, but not let him near it. She grinned. Yep, that was the best plan. Definitely. Picking up the lacy number, she slipped it on once more.

Eventually, she was ready to go. Willow gave herself one last glance in the hall mirror as she headed towards the front door. Her hair was perfect, her makeup subtle, her dress flattering, and she knew that if a certain someone somehow managed to get past the outer layers they would be in for a very pleasant surprise. Until I cover it up again, she thought, and leave him wanting and sick with desire.

She paused.

Deja vu.

Hadn’t she been down this road before? Given prior experiences, her evening would end, not with him trying to passionately embrace her but rather, in a heated argument with her leaving, furious with him.

“Oh fuck this,” she said turning around, slamming the front door and storming back to her room. She pulled the dress roughly over her head and ripped off the underwear.

“You’re nothing but a cantankerous, self-righteous man,” she said between clenched teeth. She pulled her stockings off, “and you don’t deserve the good stuff.”

***

Four minutes and thirty-three seconds later she was back at the front door dressed casually in jeans and a long sleeved top. Underneath, her underwear was practical and droll. And it didn’t match. She smirked as she closed the door and wandered into the street to find a cab.

***

“Welcome,” Robert Fortescue said, as he opened the door to his apartment.

Willow stepped inside cautiously. “Is…?”

He pre-empted her. “Samuel is staying at a friend’s place tonight.”

Willow breathed a sigh of relief. She didn’t particularly want to see one of her old students just as she was about to go on a date with his father.

“Can I get you something to drink,” he said, slipping her coat off her shoulders. “Champagne?”

“Won’t we be late for our dinner reservation?”

“Oh that,” said Robert. “I cancelled it. I thought we could eat here.”

Willow looked at him skeptically. “What, get takeaway or something?”

“Er, not exactly. I thought I would cook.”

Willow almost burst out laughing. She knew first hand that Robert knew nothing about cooking.

“I still owe you a homemade meal,” he continued, leading her into the kitchen. On the bench, the MoVida cookbook was lying open and bowls of pre-prepared ingredients were lined up neatly.

“You’re going to make something from that?” said Willow, pointing to the cookbook.

“I’ve adapted a few of the recipes,” said Robert slyly.

“Adapted?” said Willow incredulously. The recipes, as they were, required a certain amount of base knowledge. But adapting them…? For someone with Robert’s skill in the kitchen – or lack thereof – that could be a very dangerous thing. Particularly for those people who had to eat said creations. Namely, in this case, Willow.

He handed her a glass of champagne (real, of course). “Make yourself at home. I’ll do some squid for starters so we’ve got something to nibble on while the rest cooks.”

Willow groaned inwardly. There was nothing – literally nothing – worse than badly cooked squid. She sipped the glass of champagne and perused his book collection on the other side of the room, too terrified to watch as he undoubtedly butchered something that should have been a delicacy.

But when he served the seafood to her and she reluctantly bit into the flesh, she was amazed to find that it wasn’t rubbery at all. In fact, it was… perfect. The soft, delicate pieces of squid were coated in a rich sauce that tasted of sherry and saffron and had small flecks of – were they macadamias? – clinging to them.

“This is amazing,” she said, with more surprise than she had intended. “How did you get it so… succulent.”

“I’ll let you in on a little secret,” Robert chuckled. “I might have had a couple of cooking lessons.”

“With who?” said Willow. They must have been good if they taught him to cook like this.

“A buddy of mine. Frank.”

Willow nodded and put another piece of squid in her mouth. “Hang on a second,” she said suddenly, looking at the MoVida cookbook. “Not that Frank?” Frank Camorra was regarded as one of the top chefs in Australia.

“Yeah,” said Robert casually. “He owed me a favour.”

Willow did her best to try and not look too impressed. She didn’t want it to go to Robert’s head.

The rest of the evening was a culinary awakening as Robert produced a number of small and exquisite dishes, each one more wonderful and surprising than the last. When they had sopped up the last drop of sauce with light and tangy sourdough bread (“not homemade,” he had apologised) Willow sat back in her chair, a contented smile on her face.

“That was wonderful.”

“I’m so glad you liked it,” said Robert, his relief palpable. “I was terrified of cooking for you.”

“You’ve got friends who are famous chefs and you’re terrified of cooking for me?” she said incredulously.

“Frank thought it was hilarious that I wanted to learn to cook,” Robert said with a laugh. “But I told him that I needed to impress someone who was not easily impressed.”

Willow felt all warm and gooey inside. “You… you took cooking lessons to impress me?”

Robert nodded and looked down at his plate, embarrassed.

The anger she felt – which had been slowly evaporating all evening anyway – was suddenly completely gone. She stood up and walked to the other side of the table where Robert was sitting and gently put her hands on either side of his face. She leant down and kissed him softly on the lips.

“Thank you,” she said, smiling into his face.

He put his hands on back and pulled her down, until she was sitting on top of him, her legs wrapped around either side of his body.

“My pleasure,” he said softly, pulling her closer and returning the kiss, slow at first but quickly intensifying until they were each clutching at the others body.  He slid his hands underneath her top and carefully ran them over her breasts. Willow groaned and lifted her arms so he could pull her shirt off.

“Dammit,” she murmured as his strong hands explored her torso.

“What?” he said, stopping and looking at her with a concerned expression.

“I should have put on nicer underwear,” said Willow apologetically.

Fortescue ran his gaze over her body. It was so intense she could almost feel its heat.

“No,” he said. “No, you don’t need any fancy wrapping. You’re perfect exactly as you are.” He kissed her again on the neck, murmuring into her ear, “but if it makes you more comfortable, we can just take it off?”

Willow uttered a throaty laugh and allowed him to unclasp her oldest and most sensible bra.

Chicken Liver Pate with Sloe Gin served with Maple Pears

October 20, 2011


A delectable hour serve to have with a gorgeous glass of whatever you fancy. Although you can make the pate and pears separately, don’t plate it all up until just before you are going to serve.

450g organic chicken livers, trimmed and cleaned

2 shallots, finely chopped

½ tsp. fresh oregano leaves

½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons grainy mustard

2 tablespoons (60mls) Sloe Gin

2 cloves garlic, crushed

225g organic butter

1 tsp allspice

Sea Salt and freshly milled pepper

Heat 25g butter in a pan with a little olive oil. Brown chicken livers and cook for about 2 mins on each side, or until they are just pink inside. Transfer to food blender. Melt 150g of butter and add to blender. Add chopped shallots and crushed garlic to pan; cook until transparent. Pour gin on shallot mixture and stir any residue in the pan until you have a sauce. Pour over chicken livers. Add mustard, allspice, oregano and thyme, and blend until the mixture is as smooth as you like it. Divide between buttered pots. Melt remaining butter (not too hot – you don’t want it to boil), and pour over pate in pots to seal. Cover with cling wrap and keep in fridge until required.

Maple Pears

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 firm pears, sliced into 12 wedges each (skin left on)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon coarse salt

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add pear; cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 5 minutes total. Stir in syrup and salt; reduce heat to low. Simmer until pears are soft, about 5 minutes.

To Serve

Get a really good quality baguette (sourdough is delicious!) and slice bread into small medallions and spread pate on as desired. Top with a piece of Maple pear and serve immediately.

 

 

Season 4: Episode 7

October 18, 2011

Mia put the finishing touches to her make-up and stood back so she could get a look at her whole reflection in her bedroom mirror.

Wow, she thought. That can’t be me.

She wasn’t one to big note herself, but she looked good. Damn good. Her firm body was clad in tight fitting jeans and a black top that slung down low at the back. Her dark hair, which usually sat in a neat bob, was slicked back off her face and her full lips were painted crimson red.

A knock on her bedroom door startled her and she sprung back, embarrassed that some one might have seen her surveying her own reflection.

The door opened and Willow walked in. “Hey Mia, what do you….” She stopped mid sentence and her mouth dropped open. “Wow.”

“It’s too much, isn’t it,” said Mia, automatically grabbing a tissue and rubbing at the lipstick. “I look like an idiot.”

“No way!” said Willow breathlessly. “You look… amazing.”

In all the years that they had lived together, she had never seen Mia looking so outright sexy. She often looked elegant or pretty, but this was something else all together: This was cartoon super-hero hot.

“So what’s the occasion?” Willow asked, flopping down on the bed, the question she had come in to ask, forgotten.

“Going for a drink,” Mia mumbled self-consciously.

“Oh? And who is the lucky drinking partner?”

“Just John.”

“Just John?” Willow raised an eyebrow. “Poor guy isn’t going to know what to do.”

“What do you mean,” said Mia. “Do with what?”

“With you of course,” teased Willow. “He’s not going to be able to concentrate on a word you say, all he’ll be thinking about is getting you home and ripping your jeans off you so he can…”

“Willow!” Mia cut her off. “That’s ridiculous.”

When Mia thought about it though, most of the times they went out did end up with them together, him ripping her clothes off so that he could… you know….

She blushed a charming shade of fire-engine as Willow giggled at her.

“I should go,” she said, leaving Willow lying on her bed. “I’m running late.”

“Have fuuuuuun,” called Willow, her giggles following Mia down the hall.

***

Mia pushed open the door to the dimly lit bar and peered in. She couldn’t see John here yet so she slunk in to find a seat. As she settled at a small table towards the back of the bar, she felt as though every pair of eyes in the small establishment were on her. I must have something on my face, she groaned inwardly, shrinking into the chair and using the drinks menu to hide behind as she brushed her face off in case there was something there.

“Excuse me,” the barman was standing next to her. “Gin and chicken pate with maple pear.”

Mia looked at the plate that was being proffered: Small, delectable medallions of bread finely covered in creamy pate with a sliver of poached pear adorning each one.

“I didn’t order that,” stammered Mia, wishing she had.

“He ordered it for you,” said the barman, pointing towards a man sitting at the bar.

Mia peered across the room. It can’t be, she thought. Not again. The two dates I’ve been on in the last year and Johnny has to turn up to each of them?

She smiled and waved at him and he walked over to her table. Her hands started shaking and she clutched the edge of the table. God, he was gorgeous.

“May I?”

“Sure,” she said, her steady voice no indication of how she was really feeling.

“It’s really good to see you Mia,” Johnny said softly, gazing shyly at her. “You look… incredible. Beautiful. Incredibly beautiful.”

“Thank you,” she said, her heart hammering against her chest. “And thanks for these.” She indicated to the platter in front of them. She picked one up and bit into the chewy bread, allowing the sweet pear and spicy pate to surprise her taste buds.

“I’ve been wanting to call you since Ana’s wedding,” Johnny began, lowering his voice and leading in towards her. “But I didn’t know if you…”

He stopped as he saw Mia’s gaze shift to a man who had just walked in the door and was making a beeline for their table.

“Hi Mia.” John’s voice was cautious as he looked between Mia and Johnny.

“Hello John,” said Mia, wishing the ground could swallow her as she reluctantly did the introductions. She couldn’t think of a single situation that she would less rather be in that the one she was right now.

The two men eyed each other up and down, like lions circling prey. They could sense that the other was encroaching on their territory but neither wanted to be the one to start the war. John leant down and kissed Mia hard on the lips, for much longer than was necessary, straightening up and giving Johnny a look as if to say ‘Back off. I got here first.’

“Johnny was keeping me company,” she said quickly. “While I was waiting for you.”

“A beautiful woman like Mia shouldn’t have to wait alone,” said Johnny cooly.

“Lucky I’m here now then, isn’t it?” replied John, with equal iciness.

“I’m going to go to the bathroom,” Mia stammered, tipping her chair over as she stood up.

John and Johnny sat in silence for a couple of seconds.

“So how do you know Mia?” said Johnny finally.

“We met in Thailand.”

“Wasn’t Mia in Thailand… months ago?”

John nodded. “Yeah, it was a while ago I guess.”

“She never mentioned you,” said Johnny.

“She’s pretty secretive,” John retorted. “Likes to keep things to herself.”

No shit, thought Johnny angrily. What, he thinks he knows her now or something? Instead, he took a bit of pate and shrugged. “I don’t know, she’s been pretty open with me over the years I’ve known her.”

“You’ve known her for years?” smirked John. “Funny she never mentioned you.”

“I guess you don’t know each other that well,” shot back Johnny.

John raised an eyebrow. “Oh, we know each other pretty well. I came to Melbourne to be with her and she seems pretty keen for me to stick around…” he trailed off with a shrug. “I’d say that she’s the most serious girlfriend I’ve ever had.”

Girlfriend? Johnny nearly choked on his pate. What the fuck? A date was one thing, but a serious partner? How did he not know about this?

“I’m back,” said Mia brightly. She had taken some deep breaths and given herself a pep talk in the bathroom. We’re all grown-ups, she’d reasoned. I’m sure that we can have a very pleasant evening. The thunderous looks on the boys faces indicated that this might not be the case.

The barman broke the stony silence as he came to the table and smiled congenially. “What can I get you folks to drink?” He looked from Johnny to John a number of times and scratched his head. “Are you guys related?”

John and Johnny looked at each other.

I’m way better looking than him, thought Johnny.

This clown isn’t a patch on me, thought John.

“No way,” they said in horrified unison.

The bartender, shook his head, bemused. “I’m sure you get that all the time,” he said chuckling, “because you could be twins.”

Now, thought Mia. The ground can open up and swallow me now.

Croque Monsieur with Mushroom

October 13, 2011


Why have a regular sandwich when you can have a croque monsieur? This decadent, baked treat is delicious for breakfast, lunch, dinner….anytime you want! We add mushrooms to this recipe but you can go the straight carnivore option, or add tomato, zucchini, roasted eggplant or anything else that tickles your fancy. 

Serve with a crisp green salad. Makes 2 sandwiches.

30g butter

1 tbs plain flour

1/2 cup (125ml) milk

125g gruyere cheese, grated

50g parmesan, grated

4 large slices sourdough bread

1 tsp Dijon mustard

100g sliced leg ham

100g mushrooms, sliced

Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, add the flour and stir for 1-2 minutes without letting the mixture brown.  Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, and continue to cook over low heat for about 4-5 minutes or until thick. Add half the grated gruyere cheese, stirring to combine. Add salt, pepper, parmesan and nutmeg. Set aside to cool.

Put sliced bread on baking sheet and bake for 2 to 3 mins each side, until lightly toasted.

Spread half the toasted bread with mustard, add ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Put a spoon of the cheese sauce on this. Top with the other piece of toasted bread. Put the mushrooms on the top, slather with cheese sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere. Bake the sandwiches for 5 to 7 minutes. Grill for a further 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Season 4: Episode 6

October 11, 2011

Ana stepped into the elevator at Tom’s office building, pressing the button for the 17th floor.  The lightweight fabric of her Burberry trench coat felt foreign against her naked skin. Underneath, she wore only her favourite La Perla underwear set; a delicate black lace bra and tiny underpants, attached by suspenders to fine, black silk stockings. On her feet, towering Manolo Blahnik stilettos, and tossed casually around her throat was a blue silk scarf that bought out the colour of her eyes.

A smile curled corner of her lips seductively. She had plans for that scarf later.

The other passenger of the lift – a young man in his early twenties with a spot of mustard on his tie from a lunchtime incident – scurried out at the 12th floor, unable to tear his eyes off Ana, who was resting languorously against the rear wall of the elevator. She looked tall, sexy and just a little bit dangerous. She winked at him and he stood there speechless as the doors slide closed and she was gone.

The elevator stopped at Tom’s level and she stepped out, her stocking clad thigh peeking through the carefully buttoned coat with each step she took. She paused outside Tom’s door and looked around. The rest of the office was empty. Everyone must be out at meetings, she thought. She considered knocking, but decided against it. Tom wasn’t expecting her and she wanted to surprise him. She opened the door silently and slid inside, shutting it noiselessly behind her. Since she’d been here last, he’d had heavy drapes installed over the windows. They were pulled down and it took her a few seconds to adjust to the dim light.

A noise to her right startled her and she looked over to see Sarah and Tom standing in front of a velvet couch. They were both had their backs to her and didn’t see her come in. Ana peered across at them. From the back, Sarah appeared to be wearing the exact same coat as her.

Horrified, she watched as Tom reached up and slipped the coat from Sarah’s shoulders. It fell to the floor with a whoosh. Underneath, Sarah was wearing nothing but black underwear and suspenders, her long hair cascading down her back in lazy curls. Tom gently placed his hands on her waist and spun her around so she was facing him.

Although Tom still had his back to Ana, Sarah noticed her straight away. A wicked smile curled the corners of her mouth as she spoke.

“Don’t just stand there,” she said. “Come and join in.”

Ana looked over at Tom, imploring him to step away and tell her it was all a bad dream. But, keeping one hand firmly on Sarah’s waist, he held out his other hand towards Ana.

“This is a pleasant surprise,” he said, his voice thick with lust.

***

Ana sat up in bed with a start. She was drenched in sweat and her heart was hammering away at a million miles an hour. She looked over at Tom, who was still fast asleep, snoring softly. He’d been working late and she hadn’t even heard him come to bed.

The dreams were getting more frequent and Ana now dreaded going to bed for fear of being tormented once more by visions of Tom with Sarah.

She got up and went to the kitchen to get a cold drink and splash some water on her face.

“You OK?” Tom whispered sleepily, as she climbed back into bed.

“Yeah,” said Ana. “Bad dream.”

“Another one?” he sounded genuinely concerned, even though it was 3am and he wasn’t properly awake. “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you,” he said.

He put his arms around Ana and pulled her towards him, stroking her hair. She nuzzled into his body, unable to shake the feeling of dread, but eventually slipping back into a dreamless sleep.

***

Ana got back into the car and shut the door, resting her head against the seat and closing her eyes for a few seconds. She felt completely sledgehammered. The meeting she’d just had with an important client had not gone terribly smoothly. She couldn’t stop thinking about her dream last night. The client had noticed her wavering attention, assumed it was incompetence, and questioned her ability to provide everything required for their 500+ guest wedding. Ana had beamed her thousand-watt smile and assured them she had orchestrated hundreds of perfect weddings and theirs would be no exception.

She knew when she took this job it was incredibly ambitious. Not for the first time, she wondered about hiring someone to help her, but the date was getting too close to get someone else up to speed. Besides, pulling in another person now just looked like she wasn’t capable of doing it herself.

As she started her car engine, a pang of hunger hit her and she realised she hadn’t eaten anything all day. She craved comfort food: Something a bit stodgy and chock full of carbs. She knew this area quite well – it was only a few blocks from Tom’s office – and recalled a particularly good croque monsieur that she’d had from his favourite bakery. They used to go there all the time when she would come and meet him for lunch.

“We haven’t lunch together in ages,” she said out loud, trying to remember when the last time was. Six months ago? Nine?

In fact, she thought, we barely seem to have time for anything together these days.

They had both been so busy with their own work projects, that weeks had gone past without even being able to grab a meal together. The times when they fell into bed, exhausted, seemed to be the only snatches of together time they managed at the moment.

Maybe that’s the reason for all the nightmares, Ana thought.

“Not any more,” she said, putting the car into gear and heading to the bakery. Today, they could at least spend half an hour over lunch together.

 ***

She pulled the glass door open and let herself into the office. The secretary wasn’t at the front desk, and she couldn’t see any of the other architects around. I suppose it is lunchtime, she thought to herself, an uneasy feeling of déjà vu creeping over her. Maybe I should have called first, she wondered.

She walked down the corridor towards Tom’s private office. His door was slightly ajar, and she could hear laughter inside. She pushed it open gently and stepped in.

For a second, Ana thought she was going to throw up.

In the middle of the office, surrounded by papers, were Sarah and Tom. A picnic basket, its lunch contents laid out on a tea towel, was next to them. Sarah was lying on her side, her blouse falling open ever-so-slightly to reveal a black lace bra. She reached behind Tom to pluck a strawberry from a fruit platter and put it in her mouth, sucking the flesh from the stalk. Tom was too busy reading something to notice that she brushed her arm across his back.

Ana clutched at the wall to steady herself. The movement caught Sarah’s attention and she looked up. Hostility flashed through her eyes and she held Ana’s horrified gaze for a couple of seconds before speaking.

“Don’t just stand there,” she said in a friendly voice. “Come and join in.”

Tom looked up, his face breaking into a wide grin. “This is a pleasant surprise,” he said.

Beer Batter Crepes/Pancakes

October 6, 2011


OK, so the addition of beer to a crepe recipe might sound a little peculiar, but this trick makes the crepes so light and fluffy that you’ll wonder why you never did it before. Depending on how thick you like your pancakes/crepes you can add extra milk or flour.

Serve with your favourite topping (butter, lemon, sugar; maple syrup; homemade jam; fresh or stewed fruit; Vegemite). Makes 12 thin crepes or 8-10 thicker pancakes.

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

1 cup pale ale or larger

1 ¾ cups plain flour

1 pinch salt

2 tablespoons butter

Whisk together eggs, milk and beer in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in flour. Add the salt and oil, then whisk the batter vigorously for 3 to 5 minutes, so it is thoroughly incorporated. Cover and refridgerate for 1 hour.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush it with butter, and when it’s hot but not smoking, pour 1/3 cup of batter into the centre of the pan, and rotate it so the batter covers the bottom in a thin layer. Cook the crepe until it is just golden on one side, 1 to 2 minutes, turn it and cook until it is golden on the other side, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate, and keep warm by covering with aluminium foil. Continue until all of the batter is used.

Season 4: Episode 5

October 4, 2011

Mia waved a hurried goodbye to Sam, the receptionist, as she let herself out the door of the Pilates studio. The day had been mayhem and Sam, along with everyone else, looked completely frazzled. Two of the other instructors were off with flu and Mia had helped out by staying back four hours after she was meant to finish to look after their clients. Now, more than anything, she wanted a shower, food, and then some kind of alcoholic beverage. Not necessarily in that order.

***

She heard her phone just as she was stepping out of the shower. Every time it rang Mia’s heart would jump just the tiniest little bit. But then it would be work or one of her friends and she’d feel stupid for thinking that it might be him. Still, she grabbed a towel from the rack and ran to her room to try and catch it before it rang out.

“Hello, hello,” she said breathlessly.

“Oh hi,” said the voice on the other end of the phone uncertainly. A pause. Then, “Is that Mia?”

Mia nearly dropped the phone in surprise. There was only one person she had ever met who had that accent.

John from Bangkok.

What on earth was he doing calling her?

“John. Wow.” She tried to keep the surprise out of her voice as the words tumbled out. “This is…wow…how did you get my number?”

“You gave it to me,” he said. His voice sounded hurt.

Of course she had. But he wasn’t meant to call her. Wasn’t that the point of holiday flings?

“How’s Thailand?” she asked, by way of changing the subject. She vaguely recalled he was going trekking up north or something after she had left.

“I’m not actually there anymore.” He laughed, nervously. “You know how you said to get in touch if I was ever in Melbourne…?”

Oh no, she thought. He can’t be.

“Well, here I am.” He laughed again, sounding even less sure of himself.

“I didn’t know you had plans to even come to Australia,” she said eventually.

“Well I met this girl and I can’t stop thinking about her,” he said quietly.

Now it was Mia’s turn to laugh nervously.

“I hoped that… maybe she had thought about me too?” he continued.

His voice sounded so hopeful that Mia immediately felt terrible for not having used a single neuron to give him a moment of consideration once she had left Bangkok. That is not to say that John wasn’t a charming, attractive, interesting and caring young man. He would have been a catch for any girl, but unfortunately Mia’s heart had been otherwise engaged for quite some time now.

“Ah, sure,” she said quickly, feeling even worse for lying. “Of course.”

She could almost hear the giant grin that was plastered across his face.

“Do you want to catch up for a drink tonight,” he said in his lilting tone.

Mia was too exhausted to think of an excuse so she just said yes.

***

She wandered into the bar an hour later and looked around. No sign of John. She settled at the counter and ordered herself a much needed glass of champagne, hoping that the bubbles would calm her down a bit. One drink and I’m out of here, she thought to herself, already coming up with a list of excuses for an early getaway.

She almost didn’t recognise John when he walked in the door five minutes later. In her mind, he was a slightly geeky English boy who had provided a brief holiday distraction before real life kicked in again.

Instead, the man who entered the bar was taller and broader than she recalled. He walked with an air of confidence that made people move out of his way and his ruggedly attractive features caught the attention of every female in the room.

He walked over to Mia and pulled her into a hug, kissing her gently on the cheek. He looked and smelt amazing.

Maybe a couple of drinks won’t hurt, thought Mia.

***

The next morning, Mia stood in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil. Last night had been fun. A lot of fun. But now she needed John to wake up and leave before her housemates found out about him. She would never have admitted it to herself, but she was worried this would trigger a chain of events that might lead a certain someone to think she had a boyfriend. Mia acknowledged it was getting less and less likely that anything was ever going to happen with that particular person, but it couldn’t hurt to dream.

She chastised herself again for suggesting that she and John come back to her place last night. Although, the other option of going back to his hostel was even less appealing. The cup of tea was her ploy to wake him up and then, feigning appointments to attend and schedules to keep, kick him out.

Before she could finish making the tea, Mia heard footsteps pad lightly into the kitchen and felt a strong pair of arms around her waist.

“Good morning,” said John, nibbling softly on her ear.

He kissed down the side of her neck and along her shoulder before gently turning her around and kissing her tenderly on the mouth. Mia relented for only a second before gently pushing him away. She felt uncomfortably vulnerable making out in the kitchen with this half-naked man. She didn’t want to have to explain to anyone the details of when and how they knew each other. With the lead up to Ana and Tom’s wedding and all the excitement that had generated, she had managed to prevent her secret holiday fling becoming common knowledge. She intended to keep it that way.

“You should probably go,” she said, pushing him away. “My housemates…”

“Hello.” Willow’s voice startled her.

John and Mia spun around. Willow stood in the doorway of the kitchen looking from Mia to the strange man who was clad in nothing but a pair of snug fitting jeans, and could get away with it. She looked utterly bemused.

“This is John,” said Mia quickly. “He was just leaving.”

Willow’s eyebrows shot up. She needed to find out more about this young man who was canoodling with Mia in the kitchen on a Sunday morning.

“I was just about to make breakfast,” she said. “Sure you can’t stay?”

“Only if it’s Ok with Mia,” he said earnestly.

Mia nodded limply.

“Great,” said Willow. “How do you feel about pancakes?”

***

“Oh. My. God,” said Willow when John left the kitchen to go and have a shower several hours later.

“I know, I know,” said Mia. “I was going to tell you about him, but I forgot…”

“How on earth did you forget?” chastised Willow. “He’s absolutely gorgeous and the nicest guy I have ever met. Not to mention,” she teased, “completely in love with you.”

“He is not.”

Willow raised an eyebrow skeptically, but left it alone. She was just glad that Mia seemed to be interested in someone. She had been a bit concerned about the looks that had transpired between Mia and Johnny at the wedding. Not that she cared if friends hooked up, but Mia and Johnny…? That was just a recipe for disaster. Still, there was something a bit fishy about this new situation…

“It’s uncanny though, how he looks,” she said, closely watching Mia’s reaction.

“Hmmm?” Mia looked up from washing the dishes. She was foolishly hoping that Willow hadn’t noticed.

“You can’t tell me you don’t see it,” said Willow.

“What do you mean?” said Mia again, feigning ignorance.

“John is practically a carbon copy of Johnny,” Willow said.

Mia wasn’t able to hide the deep shade of purple that she blushed.