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Authors: Miriam Morrison

Recipe for Disaster

BOOK: Recipe for Disaster
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Recipe for Disaster
Miriam Morrison

A funny and warm-hearted tale of kitchen disasters, domestic calamities and love against all odds. Jake Goldman and Harry Hunter have been deadly rivals all through culinary school. Now at the top of their game, fate throws them back together again when they open their first restaurants in the small town of Easedale, just a few hundred yards from each other. Sharp knives and heavy pans at the ready, they start cooking up a storm to entice the locals their way.Kate Walker has just lost her boyfriend and is about to lose her job at the local paper. Her only hope of salvaging her career is a down-and-dirty, tell-all feature about the seedy underbelly of the restaurant business. When one of Jake's waitresses deserts him to join the dark (i.e. Harry's) side, Kate applies for the job, hoping the undercover investigation will get her all she needs to sort out her dead-end job - and maybe even her no-hope love life! Little does she know, when she follows the alluring smells into Jake's kitchen, that she is in for a major surprise...

About the Author

Miriam Morrison used to live in Cumbria, where she was a journalist, teacher and hotelier, though not all at the same time. She now lives in Kent with her daughter, Emily (a genius in the kitchen) and a cat, Poppy (a genius at getting her own way).

Recipe for Disaster

Miriam Morrison used to live in Cumbria, where she was a
journalist, teacher and hotelier, though not all at the same
time. She now lives in London with her daughter, Emily (a
genius in the kitchen) and a cat, Poppy (a genius at getting
her own way) and is currently working on her next novel.

Miriam Morrison


This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

ISBN 9781407014050

Version 1.0

Published in the United Kingdom by Arrow Books in 2008

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

Copyright © Miriam Morrison, 2008

Miriam Morrison has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

This novel is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the
author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is
entirely coincidental.

This electronic book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

First published in the United Kingdom in 2008 by Arrow Books

Arrow Books
The Random House Group Limited
20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2SA

Addresses for companies within The Random House Group Limited can be
found at:

The Random House Group Limited Reg. No. 954009

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 9781407014050

Version 1.0

For Emily

Chapter One

'Ready to order?'

Somewhere, buried under the avalanche of newspapers
on the floor, was the menu. Kate could distinctly recall
giving it the briefest of glances before plunging happily into
her favourite column in the
. She smiled
apologetically at the hovering waitress, and quickly ducked
under the table to retrieve it.

Kate was a tall girl and the table was small. Wedged
beneath it, she glanced over and saw that the elderly couple
at the next table were furtively holding hands. Very sweet.
Celebrating their diamond anniversary? New lovers? A
secret affair? Kate smiled as she rooted around the
newspapers strewn over the floor. There was a time and
place for indulging journalistic curiosity (or 'incorrigible
nosiness', as her brother put it) but underneath a table
probably wasn't it. Her very bright blue eyes were just
inches away from Jonathan's expensive grey socks and
immaculately polished shoes. You could tell at a glance that
they belonged to an ambitious man who wouldn't dream of
holding hands under tables, she decided.

'Jonathan, move over.' She could just see a corner of the
errant menu, underneath
The Times
and Jonathan's foot.

'Um, what?' he said absently, his rather sharp nose deep
in a story on page four of the
. Kate sighed. His intense
interest in anything newsprint-related was one of the
reasons she had fallen for him, but it was rather hot under
here and she was getting a crick in her neck. Kate tugged,
finally pulled the menu out and straightened up rather too
quickly, banging her head on the table in the process. She
rubbed it with one hand, using the menu as a fan to cool her
red face with the other.

The waitress shifted her not inconsiderable weight from
one leg to the other and gazed glumly into the middle
distance as if she was waiting for a bus she just knew was
going to be late. 'So?' she said again, sighing.

'Er, I think we are both going to have the lamb, aren't
we?' Kate said.

'Are we? Yeah, OK.' Jonathan rustled the paper in
agreement without even looking up, clearly expecting her
to make this dull but necessary decision, and to do it quickly
if possible.

The waitress frowned. This was an expensive hotel
restaurant and it simply wasn't the done thing to be so
casual about choosing one's food. She whipped out her pad
and wrote busily.

'Two lamb cutlets. Would that be the
côtolettes des Ardennes
with a reduction of cauliflower jus or the Herdwick spring
ewe poached in a mint sauce?'

Kate wanted to giggle. She was reminded suddenly of a
maths class – a question to do with logarithms and her
absolute certainty that whichever answer she gave would be
wrong. But the waitress's pen was tapping in an
intimidating way.

'Oh, well, one of each, please.' Then at least they could

'With the green salad of locally grown lettuce or a medley
of winter vegetables, sautéed in olive oil, parmesan and
fresh rosemary?'

'What a feast we have in store,' said Kate, rather faintly.
'Um, both, I think.'

The waitress said nothing but her eyebrows rose just
slightly, as if she was making a mental note of the sarcasm.
Kate bristled – after all, they were paying, weren't they? But
then she remembered that Jonathan didn't like scenes so
she rearranged her mouth back into a smile.

'Do you want the lamb medium or well done?'

'Oh, for goodness' sake!' Jonathan's face popped over
the paper. 'I just want lunch, not a game of twenty
questions!' He produced that harrumphing noise that
Kate hated because it made him sound a lot older than he

The waitress's face managed to convey that she couldn't
care less what they ate, that serving them was beneath her
anyway, but if waiting was what she was paid a pittance to
do then she would have to suffer the consequences.

Kate took charge. 'We'll have one rare, the other well
done and' – she glanced at her watch – 'as quickly as
possible please. Oh, and two more beers.'

The waitress took off at a clip, watched anxiously by Kate.
A word in the chef's ear and poaching cutlets would become
a very long process. And how many times could someone
sneeze in the salad before it reached them? Oh, well, too
late to worry about that now.

'So, which of this lot do you think covered that story
best?' she asked, peering curiously round Jonathan's arm to
look at his tabloid.

was too short, the
was too long and the
missed the point completely,' he said promptly, and
she had to laugh, her good humour restored. As features
editor of the
Easedale Gazette
Jonathan never thought anyone
could write a news story as well as he and, annoyingly, he was
mostly right. Kate had been in the business for a few years,
and at the
Easedale Gazette
for the last two, but when Jonathan
talked shop it was always worth making mental notes.

He glanced up at her now with that intense, fiery, slightly
haughty look that used to make her stomach flip. She
smiled back automatically, but her stomach somehow
refused to perform any kind of acrobatics. Disconcerted,
she grabbed her beer bottle and took a heartening swig
from it just as the waitress returned with fresh supplies. She
made a point of pouring both into glasses, and Kate scowled
at her retreating back, glad of a diversion.

'Honestly, anyone would think this was the Ritz,' she said
crossly. 'I wouldn't mind drinking out of the glass if it was
clean. They should sack the person who wrote the menu
and employ another washer-upper.'

'Why? What's wrong with the menu?' Jonathan
reluctantly looked up from the
's sports section.

'Well, for example – listen to this – pan-fried trout with
peanut butter sauce. How can you fry anything other than
in a pan?' she grumbled. Kate had become a journalist
because she was obsessed with words. If asked, she would
have picked her love affair with writing over one with a man
any day. Even Jonathan.

He put down his paper, his attention caught. 'Is it
actually possible to combine fish and peanuts in the same
dish?' he asked doubtfully.

'You can, but I really don't think you should,' she said,
twisting one red curl round her finger as she read on. Kate
was a complete stranger to straighteners, and her hair, on
most days, gave new meaning to the phrase 'standing on

'Oh, yeah, here it is – fillet of ostrich steak served with
wild mushrooms and organic chocolate. I think I would
rather go hungry. Mind you, judging by the look in our
waitress's eye, I probably will.'

'And they are illiterate as well – they've spelled "trifle" with
two fs,' Jonathan tutted, having scanned the whole menu. He
looked round the dining room. 'I don't know what's
happened to this place – they used to serve real food, decent,
simple stuff like sausage and mash, and then the new
management decided that if they put something on the
menu that no one even knew was edible they could charge an
extra tenner for it. Every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks
they're blooming Jamie Oliver now, or that one who shouts
a lot.'

'Gordon Ramsay?'

'That's the one – used to be a footballer – how did he
become a chef?'

'Quite easily, apparently – he's got three Michelin stars,'
said Kate, who secretly thought Mr Ramsay was as sexy as
hell. He could tell her off any day.

Jonathan was warming to his subject. He even put down
his newspaper and brandished the menu. 'This seems all
the rage now, complicated concoctions of flavours with
huge price tags attached. No wonder some chefs are rich
enough to drive around in Porsches.' Jonathan secretly
coveted a Porsche.

Kate's motoring needs were fully met as long as her car
actually worked. She looked about. 'It's so quiet in here our
cook can probably only afford to come to work on a bicycle.'

'He's certainly not driven by any sense of urgency,'
grumbled Jonathan, glancing at his watch.

'Shall I complain?'

'We should, but he will be rather better equipped with
knives than we are.'

'I could take him,' she bragged. 'Don't forget I cut my
working teeth in a newsroom populated by tough, hardbitten,
cynical hacks – and that was just the women.'

When he laughed, she was secretly pleased. She loved it
when they chatted and argued and generally got on.

When their food arrived, finally, Kate looked down at
her plate in trepidation. Surely 'raw' and 'rare' weren't
interchangeable, even in today's gastronomic climate?

'Well, I can ask Chef to put them back under the grill,'
said the waitress doubtfully, when she saw Kate's look of

'If that's not too much bother,' said Kate desperately.
The waitress trudged off, dragging her feet in an attitude of
long-suffering acceptance.

'How difficult is it to grill a couple of chops?' Kate said,
scowling at the artfully arranged salad on Jonathan's plate.
'I bet the chef's not even doing the cooking himself. He'll
have some minion doing all the dirty work, while he prowls
around sharpening the odd knife and checking his
reflection in the mirror.'

But Jonathan had already moved on from the possible
culinary crisis in Britain and was back in the newspapers,
grinning at a cartoon in the

The waitress returned with Kate's plate and set it down
defiantly. Kate smiled briefly and pulled it towards her,
then yelped with shock and quickly shoved her scorched
fingers into her beer to cool them down. 'Ow! Can you
believe it? They've just shoved the whole plate back under
the grill. My julienne of vegetables has been completely

Jonathan flicked open his napkin, hissing impatiently,
'For God's sake, Kate, do take your finger out of the glass.'

'Who cares?' She glanced up. Jonathan clearly did, even
though no one was watching them. His sense of self-worth
would always outweigh his sense of humour. She dried her
finger on her jeans, sneaking a thoughtful glance at his face.
They'd been together for only three months and theirs was
one of those office romances that was probably fairly ill-fated
anyway, especially given that he was separated but still
married, but it was becoming more and more apparent that
they weren't really destined to last. Outside work and their
fervent interest in journalism, what did they really have to
talk about? She prodded her lamb, which was now so hard
it would make a better missile than a meal.

'Eat up – I'm due back for that meeting soon,' he
reminded her briskly.

'Yes, and I really want to return to the dig for another
couple of hours.' Kate was nearly at the end of a long piece
about an archaeological find on the fells outside Easedale.
'I'm almost done with the Roman settlement. I need to get
my teeth into another good story.'

'I think I've left some of mine in that bloody chop,'
grumbled Jonathan. He took out his wallet and threw some
notes on the table. 'Come on, let's get out of here.'

With relief Kate put her knife and fork down on her
almost untouched meal. Following him outside, she heard
her stomach rumbling loudly. 'I'm still hungry, dammit!'

BOOK: Recipe for Disaster
2.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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