Recipes for difficult relatives.

Here we are in February, March is next (all the news, here, first.)

For some of us this means that we have been shut indoors for a year with our relatives.  How enchantingly easy has that been?  The joy of being shut up with those who will not shut up, is indescribable (though you know me, I’m going to have a go).

As so many will attest to, endlessly on social mee ja, proving that it’s not just your lot who can bore the pants off captive listeners, what can help a lot is a nice new recipe.  So here are mine.

Ursine surprise.


One large brown bear, or polar bear depending on your colour scheme.

A double ended pick.

A large reinforced shovel.

Three medium fish (skin on).

A small shark net.

Three eggs.

Hedge clippings or fern fronds (to decorate).


Using the pick to break up the top soil hardened by the sun or the ice (depending where you are on the planet) and the shovel when the ground becomes workable, dig a substantial pit in the back garden.  Take two of the fish (skin on) and lay them on their sides in the base of the hole. When the bear has climbed down into the hole after the fish, place the net over the hole.  Separate the eggs and use the yolks to seal one of the shark nets round the edges of the hole. Place the fern fronds or hedge clipping decoratively on the net and lay the third fish in the centre of the net.

To serve.

Stroll indoors and say, casually, ‘Have you noticed there’s a fish on the lawn?’

Stand back and enjoy the screams.

Serves up to two relatives right.

A galaxy far far away.


One small frilly apron.

A black hole.

A bottle of champagne.

A box of fairly heavy champagne truffles.

A very attractive champagne glass, ideally with a gold rim.

Egg whites left over from the previous recipe.

Icing sugar.


Before cooking, rearrange the fridge shelves moving the top shelf as high as it will go to make sufficient space in the centre of the fridge to stand the open champagne bottle upright.

Open the champagne, mmm nice.

Install the black hole at the back of the fridge, centre shelf.

Have another swig.  Yum.

Whisk the egg white until frothy.  Place about a tablespoon of sieved icing sugar on an anti-bacterial chopping board.  Dip the rim of the glass into the egg white and immediately into the icing sugar.

Place the decorated champagne glass with the far edge of the base just into the black hole, keeping it balanced in the known universe with a champagne truffle, if necessary melting the truffle by dipping it in hot water, or licking it until it goes soft enough to stick to the fridge shelf and balance the glass upright.

After another quick swig, oh yes, and another for luck, woo hoo, place the bottle upright in the middle of the fridge and carefully close the door.

Take all your clothes off, put the apron back on.

To serve

Say ‘Oh darling, come and see what I’ve got for you, hoo.  The champagne’s in the fridge.’  As your spouse arrives in the kitchen, let them reach for the bottle, then bend over to retrieve the cork from the floor, murmuring ‘A glass, get the glass!’

Remain bent until the whooshing noises have stopped. Get dressed, make a cup of tea and finish off the truffles.

Flight of fancy.


A medium shark net with enclosed base.

A twenty inch stainless steel spring.

Nine heavy duty bulldog clips.

A cardboard box.

Grey paint.

A ladder long enough to reach the gutter.

100 grams self raising flour.

Two small eggs.

100 grams caster sugar.

75 grams butter (softened.)

Chocolate chips. .

To serve, extra flour, 50 ml. room temperature water.


Cream the butter and the sugar, beat in the eggs, fold in the flour and chocolate chips.  Place in a 180 degree oven for 25 minutes in a greased cake tin or bun tins.  Remove to a wire rack, allow to cool.

Take the cardboard and cut to the rough shape of a paving slab, block of concrete, brick paviours or whatever your driveway is made of outside the front door.  Make the fake surface with edges deep enough to contain the spring.  Paint grey or to match the drive.

Up the ladder fix the shark net to the edge of the gutter with the bulldog clips.

Put the ladder away carefully, because accidents can happen..

Make up a stiff flour and water paste in a saucer.  Compress the spring flat under the cardboard paving slab, just outside the front door, sticking the edges all around with the flour and water paste, applied with a pastry brush.

Place the cake or buns gently on the far side of the fake paving slab, so as not to set off the spring, but just out of reach, walk back round the slab into the hall.

To serve.

Ring the doorbell.

Well, that’s it for now.  For dessert, I suggest you just enjoy the silence.


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