Monday 23 April 2018

The Domestic: The style counsel

Some couples just need a nudge in the right direction, says Sophie White, although Himself won't be swayed

Basil is an aromatic addition to the fritter.
Basil is an aromatic addition to the fritter.
Sophie White

Sophie White

When two people pair off, there is, usually, a welcome merging of their respective social circles. Picture it as a Venn diagram: the merging of the two groups is the union, then the intersection inevitably arises. This happens when members of each social set begin mining the other set for sexual conquests. This can often lead to embarrassment, and the eventual disintegration of the Venn diagram.

It can also, however, lead to love. This is the more desirable outcome, though it seems to involve the inevitable defiling of one's couch in the process.

What I'm saying, basically, is that, some years ago, one of the Bitchherd got with one of the Bro Hoes for a whole weekend, on our couch, and they have been the intersection of our friendship Venn diagram ever since.

It was a beautiful thing, and has, effectively, made myself and my friend sister-wives. There's a lot to be said for this. Double dates aren't tortuous affairs requiring spousal cajoling, and you don't have to set your other half up on awkward getting-to-know-yous with other Bitchherd boyfriends.

Also, Himself gets a close-range look at another relationship, which I use to try and instil in him new, better behaviour patterns. This rarely works, but I persist in highlighting how, for example, Mick brings Jess flowers for no particular reason, how they spend their free Saturdays on home improvements (OK, this one is not even remotely true), and doesn't Mick look great since he started letting Jess dress him?

Himself refuses to believe that Jess picks Mick's clothes, but this last one is actually fact. My friend works in fashion and has such an amazing eye for dressing boyfriends that I have tried to convince her to start a boyfriend styling service called Pimp My Ride.

I even tried to get her to subtly advise Himself on some clothes purchases, but he has a highly tuned manipulation radar and in (I suspect) defiant response, returned from shopping with even worse purchases than usual; brown corduroy flares and a purple tie-dyed Bob Marley T-shirt. I eventually came clean to him about the boyfriend styling service. Himself argued that men who don't let their own partners dress them are hardly likely to be bullied into dressing better by other random women.

This led me to expand the basic idea to include an option for picking your boyfriend's stylist to conform with his "type", meaning that, if your guy likes tall blondes, then that's what his stylist will look like – my theory being they'll give in to being styled by a girl they fancy.

I know, I know – surely they should fancy you, right? But, really, by the time you're trying to get them into a nice pair of boot-cut jeans, fancying has long gone out the window. "What woman," Himself countered, "would send her husband off to be fluffed into some good shoes and a smart jacket by a busty blonde?"

"That is how much I hate your mustard chinos and Isis T-shirt" I replied. "You can do whatever you want with her, if she'll have you just come back in something vaguely reminiscent of Jon Hamm doing pared-back weekend casual and we'll call it even."

Speaking of weekend casual, these sweetcorn fritters are the perfect brunch when teamed with poached eggs, roast cherry tomatoes and bacon. Nearly as delicious as Jon Hamm.

Sweetcorn, spring onion and comte cheese fritters

Serves 4.

You will need:

110g (3¾oz) flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon sugar

3 eggs

110ml (3¾fl oz) milk

1 x 325g (11½oz) tin of sweetcorn, drained

3 spring onions, finely sliced

Big handful fresh basil, finely sliced

100g (3½oz) comte cheese, grated

Sunflower oil for cooking

Eggs, bacon and tomatoes, to serve

Combine the flour, the baking powder, the salt and the sugar in a bowl and whisk in the eggs and the milk, ensuring there are no lumps of flour in the mix.

Allow the batter to rest for a few minutes. Add the drained sweetcorn to the batter, along with the finely sliced spring onions, the finely sliced basil and the grated comte. Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and spoon large dollops of batter into the pan. Cook until little bubbles appear on the top, then flip the fritters over and cook for a further five minutes, until golden brown and firm. You'll need to cook a few batches, adding a little more oil to the pan each time. Keep the fritters warm in the oven while preparing the eggs, bacon and tomatoes. Enjoy!

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