Katie, noting that the Quick Chef funnel looks like Mr Potato Head's leg
The Chocolate Almond cake has long been my most popular party recipe. It is tasty, easy, good for communal cooking and for showcasing the Tupperware. And impressive: a chocolate cake in 15 minutes!
Until tonight. As always, I put the chocolate into a Microplus Pitcher and melt it in the microwave for one minute on Medium power. Trouble is, after 30 seconds, one guest murmurs "I can smell burning...". I yank open the microwave to see the clear pitcher opaque with smoke. Taking the lid off, theatrical thick smoke boils out like from a witch's cauldron. Some of the chocolate has burned, and I toss it in the bin, but we rescue most of it.
It seems my hostess's microwave doesn't work on Medium Power, only Full and Defrost. Which is a problem because the cake needs to be cooked on Medium. I compromise with short bursts of Full and a bit on Defrost, but it's no substitute and the cake is a bit of a failure in both taste (burnt chocolate) and texture (not properly cooked). Oh, and I forgot the baking powder and had to chuck it in at the end.
Now normally I would be freaking out, but the pressure is off because the hostess is my stepmother Gill, who has convened some friends for a fundraising party for the Noah's Ark Children's Hospice in nearby Barnet. Sales + my raffle + Gift Aid lead to a £60 donation.
On the train back to Liverpool Street station, a group of young women scream their heads off and blatantly graffiti the carriage with a black marker pen. I report them to the station police when we arrive.
It's about midnight and at my bus stop outside Liverpool Street, a well-dressed, well hammered woman peers into my open kitbag, swaying and breathing through her mouth. "Tupperware," I explain, "just been doing a party." She flicks at the silicone cake tin, from which my Dad (below) has washed all trace of the dodgy cake and I explain what it is.
"Got any salad boxshes?"
"Loads. Here, have a catalogue. That's my name on the back."
"Is that bus going to London Bridge?", she slurs. I tell her yes, and she lurches on to the bus, doors closing on her. Last thing I see is her plonking heavily down, flicking through the catalogue barely focussing.