Hi Gentle Reader. Oh Oh Oh where to start……….. I’m back after a wee sabbatical, so thanks to LP for keeping the home fires burning…. Not that I would trust our lovely daughter with anything remotely combustable… or pointy or non water soluble come to think of it.
Gentle Reader, we live in dangerous times and there are risks skulking round every corner, with their collars turned up and their hair slicked back, thinking they are too cool for school. Following some unpleasantness at work this week where I was "named and shamed" for not completing some online training, I feel that my once lackadaisical approach to Health and Safety has now been replaced with a keen interest in all things safety. I should point out that my interest is not in any way the same, or as concerning as my Antipodian Sister's fascination for Fire and Rescue personnel. By fascination I mean lust. AA's obsession with Firemen and all things Irish caused South Island in New Zealand to be placed on high alert during the recent St Patrick Day Celebrations.......To be sure, what could possibly go wrong?
I would also like to point out that, having taken up the gauntlet of online training I scored an acceptable 85% in the exam, so LP, YM and indeed my colleagues can sleep safe in the knowledge that I will not be rushing into a building any time soon in order to extricate them. I will merely raise the alarm, but only if it is safe to do so.
My new found confidence has afforded me the opportunity to flirt with danger a little too. It is indeed true that risk can actually be seen as a positive thing and that there is a lot to be said for, as ABBA once sang, taking a "ch-ch-chance".
By way of testing tis hypothesis, in the past few weeks I have taken to cooking lunch at work as I find myself in a slightly awkward and embarrassing position now that Clarkies, the local baker’s, have started to use me in their advertisements in order to purvey more pie’s to the unsuspecting general public. I am also in morning training to prepare LP for commencing attendance of her child minder, who sadly is not Scandanavian……nor in her 20’s, a fact which I have yet to bring to the attention of YM. This means that I have little time in the morning to create a packed lunch or to have more than one cup of coffee and the leftovers of LP’s, not inconsiderable, mountain of fresh fruit and toasted Hot Cross Bun (or as LP say’s "hod-cwo-bum"). My Manager who is affectionately known as "Posh Aunty Laura" (PAL) to LP, appears to casually present at the kitchen door around 12:30 pm, precisely when the room takes on the atmosphere of sweaty Turkish prison, as I attempt to cook pasta with the minimum of equipment or indeed crockery. On the day’s that PAL is not counting calories she assumes a Dickensian pose holding out the glass turntable of a long defunct microwave in her hands waiting to be fed. On one particularly memorable day I just happened (as you do) to have taken receipt of some Summer Truffles (that’s another story). I suggested to PAL that she may wish to have some of the Truffle shaved over her pasta. PAL, my risk averse Manager, recoiled at the very thought and stated that she had "better not " as she had not tried them before and, due to her well publicised allergy to Kumquats had taken to wearing an Epipen round her neck which was frequently confused by less knowledgeable members of the public as a electronic Cigarette. With some persuasion PAL eventually capitulated, but only after I reminded her that it is not every day that a subordinate offers her Linguini with Truffles and Smoked Salmon of a lunchtime. I am, ehm, happy to report that Lunchtime went off without the need to perform a Cricothyrotomy with a blunt knife and a Bic pen.....sadly.
Clearly there are areas in our lives which we can visualise a risk and then take appropriate action. That said, there are also things that lurk, quietly, patiently waiting to reap havoc on the unsuspecting….
Chocolate Angel Delight is one such thing.
Let me take you on a journey…. When I was a very wee boy I lived with my Granny. Everyone called her Bambi, but no one really knew why. It would be fair to say that Bambi taught me how to cook. She made short crust pastry, baked cakes, roasted lamb and made the sort of casserole that you fantasise over. One of my abiding memories was of her making noodles so thin that you could see the pattern of a tea towel through them. Sadly, she then hung the long strands of noodle over a pulley which was suspended from the nicotine stained ceiling and gently wafted by the smoke of many Benson and Hedges cigarettes eagerly consumed by my rather wheezie Grandmother. I remember picking mint, which grew wild in the local park and was only occasionally mistaken for nettles, and it then being dried out in an airing cupboard prior to Bambi deftly chopping it with a strange circular contraption with a zigzag blade, to make mint sauce. Bambi was and continues to be my culinary role model as I hope, one day, I will be LP’s.
So, I hear you ask what has all this to do with Chocolate Angel Delight? Well, there were two desserts that I remember from my childhood. This fact is odd in itself as Bambi produced apple pies and steamed puddings which I now attempt to emulate but never quite manage. The first of the memorable desserts was Bird’s Trifle. This, my young or indeed overseas friends was and still is a trifle in a box which you reconstituted with the appropriate fluid. Despite the number of chemicals therein, Bird’s Trifle was absolutely amazing and my job was to sprinkle the hundreds and thousands on top though, sadly, there was never enough! As much as I loved Bird’s Trifle it was more a Sunday lunch dessert back in the day. Chocolate Angel delight was a week day pudding. I fondly remember Bambi helping me use a rotary whisk to combine the ice cold milk and chocolate flavoured chemicals prior to it being pored into glassware, which I seem to recollect was redeemed from accrued vouchers from the local VG shop.
Soooooooo, Imagine my surprise when YM spontaneously presented LP and I with ikeaaaaaaaaaa plastic bowl’s full of Chocolate Angel Delight. Gentle Reader, I know you won’t see this as anything other than a frankly mundane event. I ask of you to look further into the significance and indeed irony of this.
It’s funny how there are probably a million and one things that LP has done over the months which could be considered as significant moments or even developmental milestones, why is it that I will always remember Chocolate Angel Delight in the same way that I remember Bambi making Mint Sauce all those years ago? In reality, it’s easy to see the interconnected link. The concept of "Set and setting" demonstrates a bond between my mindset and the environment in which I inhabit.
Please allow for some atmospheric, swirly music and a jump forward of 40 odd years and consider the wee ikeaaaa bowl’s brimming over with Chocolate Angel Delight placed in front of LP who is sitting in her ikeaaaaaa highchair having just devoured mince, sweetcorn and roasted new potatoes (Gonna be some funky Code Brown’s tonight!). YM and I had, by this time, adopted the "sod it we were going to replace the carpet anyway" approach to parenting after having finally said goodbye to the Storks and decided that LP was big enough and displayed the appropriate amount of manual dexterity whilst utilising cutlery. LP had demonstrated this having previously speared a slice of lorne Sausage with all the skill of an Amazonian tribesman. It was indeed time to remove the stabalisers and allow LP to attempt pudding by herself. Although LP has developed good skills in the cutlery department, which should be praised, it is clear that she has not reached a stage where she should be left unsupervised with a grapefruit Knife or indeed a lobster pick and allowed to simply get on with it. If this were the case untold damage would befall our home and I suspect the hound’s, quite legendary, patience would be sorely tested.
As LP armed herself with her plastic spoon YM and I should have realised the writing was on the wall. I say writing, but what I actually mean was the Chocolate Angel delight was. As I mentioned earlier LP has grasped the stabbing of foodstuffs with a plastic fork, but is perhaps less proficient with a spoon, having not graduated to "scooping" yet. LP lunged towards her bowl of Chocolate Angel Delight with a demonic glint in her eyes and her wee purple plastic spoon making a frantic stabbing motion. With some force the spoon penetrated the mousse causing the bowl to fire off LP’s Ikeaaaaa high chair and wing the hound. This, in turn, caused the hound, who had taken to circling round LP’s high chair like a great white shark waiting for a 70’s prom queen to go skinny dipping, to charge off, shaking her once bonnie coat in a vain attempt to dislodge globules of Chocolate Angel Delight. LP found all this to be quite hilarious. She demonstrated her deep joy of the situation and simultaneously displayed solidarity with The Hound by smearing what Chocolate Angel Delight which was still adhering to her spoon all over her face and hair. It has to be said that a little Chocolate Angel Delight, goes a long, long way. YM pointed out that that Chocolate Angel delight may have been the work of Beelzbub himself and therefore, by name alone, would have fallen foul of the Trade Descriptions Act. YM also pointed out that bath time was my responsibility and therefore it was my job alone to bathe LP
Now, where did I put those coal tongs?