I followed Mr Pandammonium into the kitchen when he went to make a cup of tea.
‘Shall I bake something?’
He suggested various things. I settled on biscuits. I’ve made them before; it took a while to comprehend my pencilled annotations, but I got there.
They have to chill for a while, so I left them to it.
Later, while the biscuits were still chilling, I had to make the tea. I found a jar of hunter’s chicken sauce in Tesco last week, so I was going to make that. Hunter’s chicken is, inexplicably, a chicken breast wrapped in bacon, which is bunged in the oven slathered with a barbecue-sauce-like sauce and topped with cheese.
I found the jar of sauce on the shelf. I got the not-chicken breasts out the fridge, then looked at the recipe on the jar. And that’s when I realised we had no not-bacon. A peek in the fridge confirmed it.
I would not make hunter’s chicken with not-ham, so I came up with plan B.
I was inexplicably determined to use the individual glass dishes I’d been going to make the hunter’s chicken in, so I had a think and a rummage in the fridge, and invented a concoction inspired by the Middle East.
I halved some cherry tomatoes and put them in the dishes , and put the dishes in the oven.
I fried not-chicken-breasts coated in some zhoug I found in the back of the fridge; the coating burnt and stuck to the pan. That’s what happens when you use an old pan that’s lost its non-stick.
I put the not-chicken on top of the tomatoes in the glass dishes and topped them with some chopped veg – the wilted inner bit of celery, a red pepper and some mange tout. I put a not-chicken stock cube in along with the rest of the zhoug. It seemed a bit dry, so I put some water in. Too much water. I thickened it with a cornflour and water mixture, which is a non-Newtonian fluid, and bunged it in the oven.
I put some rice on, with a halved Persian black lime (Waitrose, of course), a chilli, some dried rose petals, some cinnamon (in stick form) and some saffron. And salt.
I’d made a Chinese-style kale affair that was like crispy seaweed at the weekend (pretty good!), and still had half the kale left. I created a middle-eastern version by swapping the Chinese five-spice for ground cumin and cumin seeds.
The not-chicken had left a lot of burnt in the pan, so I put boiling water in it to soak. Then I inexplicably tasted it. It didn’t taste of burnt; it just needed some salt and some non-Newtonian fluid, and it would make a lovely sauce.
I checked the not-chicken and the veg. There was no way that was going to cook this side of Christmas, so I came up with plan C.
Mr Pandammonium was finding it hard to keep track.
I looked in the freezer for something that would take no longer than ten minutes to cook – time was a-ticking, after all. Not-fishcakes: perfect.
While they were cooking, I put the first batch of biscuits in.
The tea ended up being the rice, the fishcakes, the sauce and the slightly burnt kale. It was strange, but it wasn’t bad.
Dessert was tea and biscuits. The biscuits were lovely, and the second batch is ready for scoffing tomorrow.
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