For breakfast this morning I had some explaining to do. She took it all in, but I could see by her eyes that she would probably continue to give me the silent routine for the rest of the day. My past has a habit of revisiting me in the most unlikely of places. I should have known by the insecure little steps he took as he approached our table clutching the chilled bottle of wine so firmly by the neck in his proferred soggy palm. Our eyes met in a mid-mouthful moment of recognition. Siobhan had just asked my opinion on which movie had the worst of endings. He stammered a nonsensical greeting of stuttering fluffiness. I had once adjusted his kneecap and three of his toes over an unpaid debt and then given his wife the money for a taxi to Gartnavel hospital. I have always been one for the manners. He had invented a gimmicky device which had been sold via door to door catalogues. The kind you came home to find laying wet and soggy within their unsealed clear plastic wrapping beside your door. The kind you left, unopened. He was now broke, balding, divorced and living with his mother in a small house on one of the cities moderate housing schemes.
I could see Siobhan was trying very hard not to stare at the way in which his brown toupée didn't quite meet what was left of his oyster grey thatch. I admired the way she lip-synced her way perfectly through the full fifteen minutes of his success story monologue while remaining agog at his field of carefully coiffured hair. I'm always wary of be-wigged strangers you haven't seen in twenty years pouring out their hearts as you politely endeavour to carry on eating your Wiener Schnitzel. It took him a while, but eventually he trotted out the obligatory faux pas for the inconvenience he had caused me back in the day. The silence was nearly as loud as the original scream when I had altered his shoe size and trouser length forever. I took my final look around at the elegant decor of my favourite restaurant as I decided the size of the tip. I would miss the fayre, I would miss the ambiance, but most of all I would miss the taste of those delicious veal cutlets I had grown so fond of. I left him a twenty. As I helped Siobhan on with her coat I couldn't help but think that the answer to the movie question may have been 'Kismet'.
8 slices brown bread
small cup of mixed flour
2 large fresh free range eggs
2 tbsp full fat milk
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 veal cutlets (scaloppini) patted dry and flattened evenly
55g of unsalted Scottish butter
In a food processor, pulse the bread into fine crumbs. Put them into a shallow bowl, covered. Put the flour into a shallow bowl or a lipped plate. Break the eggs into another bowl and whisk with the milk, season with salt and pepper to taste.
To bread the cutlets:
Dredge a cutlet in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip it into the eggs and coat evenly with the breadcrumbs. Set aside on a piece of waxed paper or baking sheet. Continue with the remaining cutlets. Heat the butter in a non stick skillet over a medium heat. Pour yourself a large glass of chilled white wine. You deserve it for getting this far without making any mistakes.(I saw you drop a wee bit of shell into the bowl. Fish it out and I'll pretend I never saw it)
While the butter is still foaming add the breaded cutlets and cook, swirling the skillet in a tight circle until golden brown and cooked all the way through. I usually do 2 minutes for the first side. Turn the meat using wooden tongs and cook for 1 minute to crisp the breading. Transfer the cutlets onto plates, sprinkle with the lemon wedges and serve with fluffy mash and minted peas. Alternatively, serve with potato salad, chunky bread and fresh rocket. Enjoy.