Wednesday 13 November 2019

Joint Enterprise... on the brink of homicide

Though working together pushed Sophie White to the brink of homicide, Himself still tries to tempt her back into business. There's always one last great idea

Dark chocolate for 'confauxtionery'. Photo: Deposit
Dark chocolate for 'confauxtionery'. Photo: Deposit
Sophie White

Himself and I worked together for many years. People often expressed amazement that we could have such a harmonious working relationship while also being romantically involved.

We smiled smugly, offering our wisdom on the inner workings of a successful business/pleasure partnership - neglecting to mention that we measured our success in terms of our continued restraint, despite overwhelming urges to kill one another.

We actually instated a safety word to minimise the bloodshed. Traditionally, the safety word is a strategy used by sadomasochists to call a halt to proceedings during boundary-pushing adult play. We had no such sex play; our safety word was only used to diffuse rising tempers during ever-escalating arguments about portion size and buying pre-peeled garlic versus fresh.

Even just choosing the safety word was a contentious conversation. I suggested 'tippy toe' as it was used by the characters in Seinfeld for a similar scenario. A fight broke out, as we debated whether the reference related to Seinfeld - it did - or, as Himself maintained, Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Our first joint enterprise was Pooch Perambulators, a failed dog-walking service we set up in the early Noughties. We were way ahead of the curve on that one; the Irish market for outsourcing menial tasks wasn't really there yet.

I still get pangs of hostility when I pass anywhere near a Mutt Ugly - the wildly successful doggie-daycare chain. "That could've been us," I think bitterly. "Damn my incredible foresight." The demise of the business was probably for the best, as I have something of a fear of dogs anyway. Any time Pooch Perambulators signed a client, I had to outsource the gig to Himself, who had no such fear.

Our next venture was a private catering company. We created buffet-style meals and canapes out of a kitchen the size of a small garden shed.

The urge to kill Himself was never far from my mind. Working in proximity to someone who hums incessantly would be a challenge for the most serene of souls. Working in proximity to someone who hums incessantly while you have boiling oil, knives and julienne peelers close at hand is an exercise in major self-control.

Another low-grade offence of Himself's that really bothered me while we worked together was the obnoxious habit he has of song-jacking. This is when one person is happily singing a song and another person cuts across them, and then proceeds to sing a new song louder, thus drowning out the original song.

In many ways, we make a good team. I panic too much and he doesn't panic enough, meaning that, as a unit, we usually approach jobs with the appropriate emotional responses. Still, I'm happy to not have to work with Himself any longer. But it is tempting to daydream about new entrepreneurial adventures. Himself loves to identify a gap in the market and tries to convince me to jump back in with him.

Lately, in the wake of a stunningly bad hangover, we hit upon the idea for an adult daycare that offers full-service hangover treatments - basically, we go to clients' homes when they are hungover and ply them with tea, crappy films, beige deep-fried food and, if required, some light cuddling.

Another pet idea of his is a product called confauxtionery. These peanut butter cups are still in the prototype phase, but Himself reckons they're going to be big. He's targeting what he calls the "fun-free market" as these treats contain no refined sugar. I didn't want to burst his bubble and point out that this market is already well covered ­- see the opposite page.

Peanut butter Cups

Makes 12.

You will need:

200g (7oz) dark chocolate

12 chocolate sweet moulds or silicone ice-cube trays

80g (2½oz) pitted dates

3 tablespoons peanut butter

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon desiccated coconut

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1-2 tablespoons almond milk

Melt the dark chocolate in a pot over a low heat, taking care to stir it frequently to prevent the chocolate from burning. When the dark chocolate has melted, allow it to stand for a couple of minutes. Using a teaspoon, carefully line the sides of the sweet moulds or the ice-cube trays, whichever you're using, with the melted chocolate and place them in the freezer to set. Set aside the remaining melted chocolate to use later.

Put the pitted dates, the peanut butter, the coconut oil, the desiccated coconut and the ground flaxseed into a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Add the almond milk, a little at a time, to achieve a soft consistency.

When the dark chocolate moulds are set, fill each one with the date, peanut butter, coconut and flaxseed and almond milk mixture. Melt the remaining dark chocolate again if it has set, and seal the top of each chocolate with another spoon of melted chocolate.

Return the peanut butter cups to the freezer to allow them to set completely.

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