How to Cook Like a Toff – Post-Festive Cooking

Prunella teaches you how to cook like a toff!

It’s the morning after.
You stagger from bed at 6am, with a bladder like a Harrods’ carrier bag, a face like a badly folded napkin, a mouth like the bottom of Primrose’s loose box, and a headache of the sort that screams like a toddler on a sugar high.
The rest of the household still slumbers, but you know there’s no more sleep for you – although you have yet to recall quite why that is the case.
It isn’t until you are halfway down a restorative Bloody Mary that you remember today’s the day when the Hon. Rodney and his chums are to be out about the moor on a shoot. Your loathing for the man you were foolish enough to marry reaches epic proportions as you grapple with the concept of driving a Land Rover out across the frozen wastes, laden with lunch for a bunch of red-faced townies – most of whom couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo – all toting shotguns and large appetites.
Opening the refrigerator your eye falls on the obscenely naked bones of a goose, the scrag end of a once noble ham and several plastic containers of assortedly repulsive vegetables. That part of your brain which hasn’t be atrophied by three days of conversation with the wives of Rodney’s work colleagues recognises the makings of game soup, and, more immediately, a bubble and squeak breakfast.
Undaunted, you grasp the largest saucepan the kitchen can provide muttering ‘bloody soup’ as you throw every bone and scrap of unwanted meat into said receptacle and haul it over to the range. Just before you drop the whole thing onto the hot plate and walk away, your brain adjusts sufficiently to the vertical state of your body to understand that liquid of some sort may prevent a conflagration.
Water seems tame and unfestive and you remember a gallon container of truly awful red wine that some oik brought along for the festive bar. It fits the bill without a doubt and you chuck it into the pan alongside a dozen or so onions and the same number of large peeled potatoes.
Leaving that to do its worst you move swiftly onto the bubble and squeak which is comprised of every leftover vegetable you can find, shoved into grandmother’s huge cast iron frying pan and bulked out with a large packet of repulsive instant mashed potato. Add a large knob of butter and turn the vegetables over. Get a drinkie. Add more butter and turn again. Eat something or you will be too pissed to get breakfast on the table. Add more butter to the frying pan and turn some more. Stir soup pot and add any of the following that may be found in the refrigerator: cranberry sauce, gravy, fruit salad, stuffing, bread sauce. Add more butter to the frying pan and turn over the vegetables – you should by now be getting lots of nice crisp brown bits. If you aren’t. Turn on the hot plate and have a nice cry.
Stir both pans and contemplate cooking bacon. Decide you can’t be arsed and shout up the stairs to the effect that breakfast will be on the table in ten minutes.
Make neat depressions in the top of the bubble and squeak and break an egg into each depression. Liberally sprinkle with bits of whatever cheese is still lurking and shove the whole thing into the oven to cook the eggs.
When the men arrive, dump the pan on the table and let them help themselves.
Into the soup pot add a couple of handfuls of pudding rice, a tetra-pack of passata, and about half a bottle of Worcestershire sauce. Leave to simmer.

Alternatively, look in the fridge. Feel sick. Find cornflakes and milk. Surreptitiously open six cans of Baxters Game Soup.

Look out for more tips on how to cook like a toff next week!

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