If you ask me, I am pleased to announce that my magazine for the no-can-do woman, Not OK!, comes with a free set of recipe cards this month, as is in vogue.
Everyone is at it. Nigella has a new book out which has been serialised, as have Hugh, Nigel, Gordon, Lorraine and Jamie, but if you think this is all too much, I urge you to recall the Great Recipe Famine of 1714 when, for want of recipes, much of the population was forced to eat bark, dirt and dust, a million people died, and what recipes there were either changed hands for vast sums, or were extracted with violence.
Indeed, if you have read the records of the time, you will know about the poor fellow who was tied to a chair and ferociously beaten until he handed over the recipe for herb-stuffed cod fillet with a salt crust. “You can stop the pain!” he was told. “Just give us that cod recipe!”
Anyway, back to my own recipe cards, which include that time-honoured family favourite, Hope-For-the-Best Stew. For this, you will need to scoop up whatever ingredients come to hand, throw them into a pot, and leave unattended in a low oven for several hours while hoping for the best. If you wish, and are an optimist at heart, you may stir midway and add more hope. But if you are a realist, you will probably want to skip this step altogether.
You may also like to try Sarcastic Lasagne. This is the lasagne you will slave over all afternoon but then, just as you are ready to serve, one member of the household will announce: “I’m going out. Didn’t I say?”, as will the other, to which you can only retort: “Oh, great. That was a whole afternoon of faffing and layering well spent.”
Plus, you will also find a step-by-step guide to making The Furious Omelette, which is perfect for those evenings when you come in late after work and are tired and they all look up at you expectantly, with their mouths shaped into perfect little “O”s, like goldfish in a bowl waiting for you to sprinkle their food.
For The Furious Omelette, you will need to set your face to somewhere between cross and really cross, then crack the eggs, possibly on your teeth, which should be nicely bared by now. Next, beat the eggs with a great deal of spite, then incinerate everything in a frying pan while swearing your head off. Good accompaniments include your own body weight in alcohol and an icy: “ Happy now?” If not icy enough, return to freezer for an hour, although I personally never have any issue with the iciness of my “ Happy now?”