It was our third wedding anniversary. As we have the little man in tow now, we thought it easier to forgo the restaurant meal in favour of a far more romantic night in. With baby nestled in bed, two rather expensive rib eye steaks prepped and a nice bottle of Chianti uncorked to breath, we could sense our perfect evening unfolding in front of us. Then we decided to flambé our kitchen.
As there was no white wine in the house for the traditional peppercorn sauce, we trawled the internet for recipes using ingredients easily retrieved from the drinks cabinet. A cognac reduction caught our eye. So with shallots finely chopped and sizzling in the pan, I measured out a healthy glug of booze, handed it to P who poured it on with a flourish. This was quickly followed by an alarming WOOSH as a ball of orange exploded upwards and promptly set our extractor fan on fire.
Desperate attempts with a damp towel quelled the pan fire but had no effect on the flames quickly melting the fan and licking dangerously close to adjacent cupboards. With panic rising, I called on the one and only thing I could remember from a recent first aid course. Get help here and quick. Under five minutes later, two fire engines had arrived, but not before I had run around knocking on my neighbours’ doors in search of a fire extinguisher. No one had one. How irresponsible.
By then, P had managed to put the fire out by making numerous trips from the sink to the flames with the small water jug we only use for special occasions, and what could be more special than that? We spent the rest of our romantic evening scraping melted plastic off the cooker hob and debating whether the blender, housed above the fan and now resembling a squashed cabbage, could be saved. And the burning question (excuse the pun – one more to go then you are free) you all want to know – how were the steaks? Flame grilled.