A while ago, I had some cold cauliflower which I decided to use up by turning into cauliflower cheese. I was undaunted by two significant facts which in retrospect should have daunted me: Mr. Waffle and the Princess do not like cauliflower cheese and I had never made it before. I turned to Mr. Conran for help (one of the many cookery books Mr. Waffle brought to our marriage). The quantities were for a head of cauliflower and it all seemed surprisingly complex. This is where I made my first mistake. I decided I couldnâ€™t be dividing everything by four so I cooked the rest of the cauliflower. Then, Mr. Conranâ€™s recipe had tricky bits in it like â€œmake a mornay sauceâ€ but add extra butter. So with a greasy thumb, I flicked between the cauliflower cheese and the mornay sauce recipe. And then it transpired that the mornay sauce recipe was a variant of another recipe on a different page; you know the kind of thing â€œas x sauce but with ingredient a instead of b and five times more câ€. So I created a lifetimeâ€™s supply of cheese sauce using recipes from three different pages of the book. It tasted quite nice too but that didnâ€™t encourage the Princess or Mr. Waffle to indulge and a head of cauliflower cheese lies waiting in small packets in the freezer to be fed to my sons over the rest of their lives until they leave home when they will be taking the remainder with them to university.
Regular readers will, I am sure, recall that I bought wild boar in the supermarket months ago. Last week, I decided to cook it. I used Mr. Waffleâ€™s â€œLa cuisine pour tousâ€ which is a terse French cookbook originally published in 1932. It assumes a lot of knowledge on the part of the reader. None of your sissy modern day explanations for Ms. Mathiot although she does give excellent instructions on how to manage the hired help and how to lay a family dinner table. The recipe for the marinade gave quantities for some of the ingredients in dl. I was not sure how much a dl was and neither was Mr. Waffle and none of our cookbooks gave instructions on this point and we were too lazy to turn on the computer (foolish, foolish people). We decided how much a dl was (by looking into our hearts and comparing the results) and using the handy calpol measuring spoon we carefully spooned in what we believed to be the correct quantity of vinegar. The beast was marinaded and on Friday night served up to my misfortunate family. Actually, the boar itself wasnâ€™t too bad. A bit gamey but not tough. Regrettably the sauce didnâ€™t taste of cloves or peppers or sherry or red wine (3/4 of a litre) or anything really, other than vinegar. I am reassessing our guess on dl quantities. Mr. Waffle and I gamely (ha, ha) ate some but the Princess, very sensibly, refused to have any truck with it. However, later in the evening on our way to the cinema, Mr. Waffle turned to me and said â€œIâ€™m not quite sure how to put this but, do you think we could stop for a toasted sandwich?â€. Who was I to quibble. And to round off the evening, the film was quite, quite dreadful. May I recommend that you avoid Code 46? Having seen Samantha Morton in this, Minority Report and Morvern Callar, I have decided that I have suffered enough and I am going to foreswear any film in which she features in future. Happy Feet, anyone?
And finally, in other news, the royal grandparents are in situ for the week, minding the Princess for mid-term. They are not yet exhausted from their labours but we aim to send them back to Dublin shrivelled husks. Mind you, the Princess refused to go out with them this morning because she wanted to stay home admiring herself in her Snow White carnival outfit. They took Michael out instead (Daniel was napping) and he nearly expired from happiness at having two grown-ups all to himself. She did let them take her out this afternoon though. I am sorry, obviously, that I didn’t mention to her grandparents that she has got into the habit of putting on as many underpants as she can at a time. Not as sorry though as her grandmother who had to take her to the toilet in the local cafe and help her out of 14 pairs of underpants.