Darlings, it’s been a trying weekend. Three cases of man flu and one heavy cold, a trip to a medieval fayre (complete with authentically medieval facial deformities, dentistry and drunkenness) do not make for domestic harmony. Also WHERE ARE MY FUCKING INTERNETS. Let’s gloss over this nest of ridiculousness however and instead, let me give you my Easy Living-esque tips for ‘simple’ ‘delicious’ birthday brownies (not approved by the Health and Safety Executive) for the malingering snorer in your life. Lucky, lucky you!
Two days before intended recipient’s birthday, get really really sick. Snotty, disgusting sick. Decide to make cake anyway. With two small snotty fellow sufferers.
Look at Nigella’s book of domestic badness. Choose brownies on basis that they don’t need to rise. Rising seems way, way beyond you at this point. Also, malingering snorer likes chocolate. Result.
Take snotty hordes to corner shop for supplies. Realise on arrival at corner shop that one of you is wearing snoring malingerer’s white plastic thongs, and the other two of you are in socks. Buy supplies from Damien. Usual sleazy “compliments” conspicuous by their absence. Go home very quickly.
Get out shit loads (that’s an imperial measure. 375g, metric people) of butter and chocolate. Marvel at quantity. Realise there is slightly less than there should be as a large slab is wedged horizontally in smaller child’s mouth. Allow small children to heat – yeah yeah fire, bad. Fall into reverie at smell of chocolate. Mmm. Chocolate.
Remember noone has washed their hands. Fuck it, too late now.
Realise that, improbable as it seems, you do not have enough sugar (500g). Inveigle prog rock step dad into going for sugar. He, at least, is able to locate his shoes.
Send snot monsters outside to ‘cool chocolate and butter mixture slightly’. Smaller monster has bright idea of using Lightning McQueen mini fan to cool the giant vat of hot buttery chocolate. Immersion of Lightning McQueen mini fan in giant vat of hot buttery chocolate gives interesting spatter patterns all over walls and windows. Catch smaller child licking walls, whilst larger child licks fan. Admire own prescience in deciding this should be an outside activity.
Set older child, slightly wiped, to breaking walnuts (300g). Arm larger child with rolling pin. Put nuts in plastic bag on tray. Stand back. Start mixing (six) eggs (attempt to remove larger pieces of shell where possible) with sugar. Fall into a trance once more, hypnotised by the whirring of the Kitchenaid. Remember how much you love Kitchenaid (inappropriate Christmas present from malingerer, falling into the outlawed ‘domestic appliance’ category) even though slightly dull silver finish. Wish Kitchenaid was pistachio green. Or almond.
Allow elder child to add (200g) flour. Approximately 140g falls down front of elder child’s jumper. Brush elder child’s front into bowl as best as possible. Remainder goes on floor, to join walnut fragments, sugar, chocolate and residual filth.
Pour mixture into tin, aided by small children, using their hands. Fail to prevent small children from sinking hands into mixture and swirling around. Keep them at bay with large wooden spoon and give them giant pan to lick.
Whilst your back is turned placing deliciously simple brownie cake in oven (190°, 25 minutes), small children have managed to coat their entire torsos in chocolate mixture. Smaller child in particular now appears as two malevolent eyes in a mass of brown goo, reminiscent of Père Fouettard (of whom, much MUCH more later).
Wrap upper bodies of chocolate coated children in several rolls of kitchen towel. Escort upstairs with the aid of a large wooden spoon poked in small of back when either appears likely to touch something. Place children in bath. Hose down with shower. Remember, whilst hosing, that you have forgotten the teaspoon of salt.
Fall into another somnolent trance in corner of bathroom, dreaming of Sinutab and hot water bottles. Fail to see small children have emptied two bottles of shampoo in bath. Once children are de-foamed, remember brownie cake, which has been in the oven for considerably longer than 25 minutes. Remove slightly blackened (‘crunchy’) cake. Remove smallest child’s fingers from centre of blackened cake. Scrape blackened bits off with fingernails.
Coat with nuclear pink sweets. Squabble over number of candles; decide on sparklers instead. Foil larger child’s plan to bite holes in all the nuclear pink sweets in order to accommodate sparklers. Replace nuclear pink sweets eaten by smaller child in meantime. Supply larger child with exact same number of nuclear pink sweets to ensure fairness. Listen to lengthy dispute about relative size of sweets.
Short circuit argument with FIRE! Fail to coordinate lighting of sparklers. As each dies, the next whooshes to life. Give up on synchronised sparkler display. Rouse grumpy malingering snorer from afternoon of sitting in chair listening to Squarepusher and dreaming of spreadsheets and dancing tortoises. Sing. Eat sweets. Discard cake. Fall into sugar coma.
Later, find five walnut halves down bra.