Delia, my lookalike

I HAVE in the past, been likened by some to the renowned celeb chef Delia Smith. This is not, I hasten to add, down to me spending time kitted out in green and yellow watching Norwich City F.

I HAVE in the past, been likened by some to the renowned celeb chef Delia Smith.

This is not, I hasten to add, down to me spending time kitted out in green and yellow watching Norwich City F.C. Perish the thought. Unfortunately it is also nothing to do with my culinary skills.

'Gosh, you look just like that woman, what's her name, you know the one who cooks on the telly,' a lady remarked on first meeting me back in the 1980s.

Oh, if only a dark brown bobbed hairstyle like I had back then could bestow on me the ability to rustle up tasty fare à la Delia. Especially as our much longed for dining room extension is now on the cards and due for completion sometime later this year.

What I wouldn't give to be able to create dishes in a calm, controlled manner with loads of innovative gadgets to hand. Sadly, I haven't a clue what the latest labour saving devices are, and my antics in the kitchen mean that I do more of an impression of a highly strung whirling dervish than Delia.

That's why when hubby suggested we both go on a one day cookery course at a local country hotel I was all for it. Well, I certainly wasn't going to refuse, not when the only activities I would be involved in would be watching a demonstration and sampling dishes.

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The latter began the minute we arrived. Start as you mean to go on I thought as I helped myself to a cuppa and a couple of squares of delicious shortbread. Then we, along with two friends whom I might add are very accomplished in the art of dinner parties and the other seven eager participants keen to pick up tricks of the trade, were led by the head chef into the kitchen.

Talk about watching a master at work! I stared in awe as this magician of the cookery world produced two starters, two main courses and two desserts in the space of two hours. It was nothing short of a minor miracle considering we were constantly bombarding him with questions and badgering him to show us things that were not on the beautifully typewritten agenda.

Having an assistant in the form of his sous chef, helped of course. So much for the saying 'too many cooks spoil the broth'. What I wouldn't do for one of those in my kitchen.

When we eventually left the hotel - one yummy meal, a cookery discussion with our fellow guests and the head chef, and more eats and drinks later - hubby and I felt enlightened, enthused and fit to burst.

Of course not having Delia on our screens for the last five years has been a major stumbling block for me. I was therefore delighted to read that she is coming out of her cookery retirement and will be back with a new series to be shown on BBC next spring.

Apparently it's based on an updated version of her 1971 book 'How To Cheat At Cooking'.

Sounds just my thing.

I simply must mention an amusing tale told to us by fellow cookery course attendee Margaret, a marvellous Scottish lady.

This wonderful silver convertible MG-driving octogenarian was relaying how she enjoys giving tea parties, that feature all things Scottish such as 'girdle scones'.

Our subsequent remark that that word is not often used in a cooking capacity, in these parts at least, reminded her of an occasion when her innocent use of the word had produced much hilarity all round.

Requiring an ounce of suet, she had made her way into a leading Ipswich butchers. The assistant, taken aback by a request for such a small amount, cried 'Only an ounce?'

'Yes', Margaret had nonchalantly replied, 'I need it to grease my girdle'.

Needless to say the other customers and the shop staff were left in fits of giggles, as were we. What a gal!

DEAR oh dear, what can the matter be?

Children are now banned from buying rum and raisin ice cream from a major high street confectionery chain, because it contains 0.7 per cent alcohol.

The fact that I regularly indulged in such sorts of cornets in my youth, along with bags of rum and butter toffees must mean, according to this new view on the subject, that I was permanently squiffy.

Funnily enough though, no-one seemed to notice at the time. Whatever will be next I wonder - a ban on wine gums?

Knowing what my hubby and I are like when faced with a new dance step, I became quite excited when we learning one called the 'hesitation drag' in the quickstep.

With it being something that we do naturally, I was convinced we would master it quite easily. How wrong can you be?

Believe me it's not so simple when you are trying to do something so deliberately. Once the music's in full swing I get so carried away I often forget which leg I'm supposed to be dragging, which is a major problem if you happen to be standing on the wrong one.

A very precarious situation may indeed ensue, which has to be handled very tactfully. One false move and the following lockstep could result in a serious domestic at the very least.

We are both absolutely determined to go all out to get to grips with it. Now if only I could learn to loosen my grip on hubby…


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