Some years ago, when FirstCat was about to turn one, and SecondCat was perhaps a few weeks away from being conceived, I said to my mother-in-law can I help with anything? It is the kind of question to which you expect the answer to be: hmmm, not really, oh, well, since you asked, could you peel the carrots and grate the potatoes then pop down to the shops because I forgot to get the cream.
Instead, she said: make this.
She handed me one of those magazines which sits in the drawers of such women, never quite forgotten, but barely remembered. It was a Christmas Bombe. Charged with this responsibility – which weighed heavily on the shoulders of one for whom fruit salad is not simple – I should perhaps have drunk one less
bottle of sparkling red on Christmas Day.
Nonetheless, the bombe went down a treat, and there’s nothing like a bit of adulation to make you try something again. So, here we go, this time without a recipe and with children old enough to want to help.
To make a Christmas bombe parte one
You must start early, because the ice cream needs to be really, really hard by Christmas Day. Go to the shops and buy the ice cream. Go to the post office first to buy the Christmas stamps, because yesterday when you went they had run out of Christmas stamps. At the supermarket, stand in front of the freezer thinking to self, now I’m sure I had two flavours last time, vanilla and chocolate, but how did that work, did I just mix them together, that seems a bit strange. Buy two litres of the best vanilla available at local supermarket. Remember to get the almond slivers, the chocolate chips came home on Saturday.
It is good to do this on a hot day, and to have only one bike between two children, so that the children can bicker about whose turn it is to ride it all the way home even if they did promise before you left home that of course they wouldn’t argue, of course they could share, please please please. Just keep walking and occasionally calling back I’ve got ice cream don’t forget. Hope that all the people who normally hear you are home, so that they know that at least this time you are not just being a grumpy mother with unrealistic expectations of her children. This time, you have purpose.
By the time you get home the ice cream will be pretty much
melted softened. Tip ice cream into mixing bowl. Finish softening.
Have flash of memory about why you had two flavours of ice cream last time. Congratulate self on superior memory. Divert children’s attention from ice cream now can we have a try, now can we lick our fingers with ice blocks. Green ice blocks. Congratulate self on cunning.
Tip in almonds. Mix. Tip in chocolate chips. Turn back for one second.
Console self with child’s quick-witted response. There were too many, the recipe said only thirteen.
Mix in chocolate chips. Prepare the least unsuitable bowl chosen from your range of unsuitable bowls. Curse self for only remaining commitment to sustainable lifestyle – no rolls of glad wrap – as you try to get bread bags to sit in bowls. Squish smaller bowl on top to make room for chocolate ice cream, to be added another day. Think to self: there’s a chance this won’t work so well, these bowls really aren’t at all suitable.
Impress self by only having to move one thing to make room in freezer. Think to self: at worst, we’ve got good quality ice cream with almond slivers and chocolate chips mixed through.
Now you can lick the bowls. But NO! not the floor.