At the weekend you can be normal, socialise and cook, never mind the state of the nation. And so the Head of Animal Care and the teaching staff went to a lovely birthday party. As well as hearty congratulations, cake, long conversations and drinks, there were lots of interesting things to eat, which moved me to provide the promised recipe for the cure for the common cold and for the recession. Here they are.
Cure for the common cold, or how to make horseradish sauce (serves 4)
1 Get hold of some horseradish root. If you want, you can chop it into handy chunks and freeze it. You can then use it directly from frozen or defrosted.
2 Take a piece about the size of a big walnut, or two or three skinny bits about an inch or so long, and scrape off the white outer skin (think of it as tough ginger root). You might start weeping and blowing your nose straight away - and don't rub your eyes or imagine it could spice up any other parts of your delicate self.
3 Chop it into small bits and pound in a morter and pestle. It's very fibrous, but this is the bit that will cure your cold. You will need a box of tissues on hand. Alternatively whizz it up in a blender, which will not cure your cold unless you inhale on lifting the lid, in which case you may never complain about the recession or indeed speak again
4 Nearly done. Add a scant half teaspoon of sugar, a quarter of a teaspoon of salt, and a teaspoon of vinegar (cider vinegar goes well). At this point you can also add half a spoon of mustard powder too, which helps if the horseradish is relatively mild. Mix everything, and stir in three or four heaped teaspoonsful of creme fraiche (about the same quantity as you have of pounded horseradish). Taste gingerly (or radically) to see if it needs a little more of anything. Serve almost immediately, traditionally with roast beef, mackerel or other oily or smoked fish, or anything you might enjoy with strong pickles. It freezes well.
Cure for the common recession, or how to make analogy sauce (serves them right)
1 Get hold of the root cause (Wikepedia no help here, sorry - suggest greed coupled with naive faith in unfettered free-market economics).
2 Take a chunk of greed (there may be a lot of mud to wash off first), expose the pungent part by peeling back the smooth tough skin, and chop into manageable bits.
3 Pound furiously with the pestle of ridicule in the mortar of irony (sarcasm will do), weeping copiously as you do so.
4 Nearly better. Add salt of the sweat of your brow, the strong vinegar of disapproval (tarragon can be nice), and a little sugar (they've got to swallow it after all). Be careful about inhaling, and serve immediately, preferably at Lord Young's table. Alternatively put in posh little pots and place innocently on tables at such places as the Bullingden Club, the Bank of England, 10 Downing Street, etc. May export, does not freeze.