You know that bit in Bridget Jones’s Diary, when she has a dinner party and ends up serving her guests blue soup and marmalade? Had a bit of a moment like that last night. I saw this recipe card in a supermarket, for artichoke and avocado salad, and it looked like the kind of thing that laughing, lightly tanned people eat at sunset on a beach somewhere, with a glass of pinot grigio. So, naturally, I thought I’d make it for my family. Because, of course, if you live with people who think egg and chips is halfway to heaven, they are really going to love an artichoke salad.
The ingredients were extraordinary. Powdered sumac, for example. (Isn’t that the stuff that grows in American forests and can kill you with a single touch? Ed). Sumac? Wtf? Still, they sell it in Waitrose (because that’s where the cosmopolitan intelligentsia shop, after all) so I mortgaged one of the children and bought a small pot. I got the rest of the ingredients in discount supermarket Aldi (because I need to save the rest of the children for a rainy day).
I’d just like to say here that I blame everything on WordPress. The trouble with attempting complicated recipes (or anything else) is that you have to think about them, and not what’s happening to your blog stats. So in between nipping to my computer to see if I was getting any comments, and shouted conversations with my teenage son on the lines of, ‘You mean you’ve had the entire holidays to do your homework and you’ve only found out about it now?’, I began.
Of course, I had failed to read the recipe correctly. The first thing it called for was half a ciabatta. Of course it did. So I got out two slices of Hovis, cut them up with a pair of scissors, put them in a bowl with olive oil and the sumac and then put them into the oven to turn into croutons. Then, feeling unusually domestic, I made a quiche and put it in the oven.
Then I went to check on my blog again and forgot where I was. Then I remembered about the croutons. Got them out of the oven just in time. Husband entered kitchen, looked at them, and said, ‘Are we having dog biscuits for tea?’
Got out large knife and chopped up husband other ingredients. Except the most important one, the lettuce, which I forgot. Took out the quiche. The pastry had collapsed, and I realised I had also forgotten to put any cheese in it. It looked like an omelette pond. Put salad on table. Put quiche on table. Called everybody.
Three hours later, the shy inhabitants of the house’s interior begin arriving in kitchen. Son looks at salad and picks up a crouton. ‘What’s this?’
‘Dog biscuit,’ says husband.
Son looks pityingly at him. ‘That’s not a dog biscuit, dad. It’s a futon.’