I do very much like a man who comes round to dinner with a James Mason film in his pocket that he thinks I might like to see.  I had never heard of “The London Nobody Knows” but it is a truly fabulous film.  It’s a vivid snapshot of life in London in 1968 – a documentary of the highest calibre – and what’s more it features a brilliant scene where several eggs are smashed to smithereens with a hammer.  That was my favourite bit. I also liked the close ups of old folks eating pie and mash and liquor.  Fab.

(A tip of the hat to Barnflakes for the nice composite picture)

As a thank-you for being so nice, Mr R was furnished with a jar of James Mason’s Plum Jam that I’d made earlier in the week for the grand poobah of cooking and growing contests The Muswell Hill Horticultural Society Spring Show.  Cathy and I had been plotting and planning for weeks in order to enter as many of the cookery classes as we could and boy oh boy was it FUN.

So the Temple Big Pan came into its own once more last week and the kitchen was full of sugary plum and lemon aromas as I boiled it all to buggery and back.  Excuse my swearing but I am still laughing about the first time I made Bette Davis Marmalade and my mum swore (very rare).

And whaddya know it won second prize!

On the morning of the show I made a Vincent Price Quiche (2nd prize), Diana Dors Fruit Cake (2nd prize), some Claudette Colbert’s Rice Bubbles Cream Meringues (unplaced) and also entered some Dorothy Wilson Chutney (2nd prize).  It was actually the chutney I was most proud of.  Firstly there were a LOT of chutneys to choose from, and secondly as most of the folks there are really gardeners rather than cooks, I should imagine they are very good at making all their allotment produce into chutneys.  Oh and yes, my Dame Pattie Menzies Cheese Scones won FIRST PRIZE.  Dame Pattie wasn’t a film star (she was a politician’s wife) BUT she sure knew a thing or two about cheese scones!

When I mentioned to Cathy that the members of the Horticultural Society might not have much respect for us because we are cooks rather than gardeners she said, “I’m not in it for the respect, I’m in it for the prizes!” which made me laugh for a long time.  But prizes she certainly got.  FIVE first prizes (not joking) and one second.  Of course, because of our friendly jokey rivalry on the day, I should point out that her second prize was in the cheese scones category – d’yougetme?!

Between us we got first or second prize in every category we entered.  The happiest day of our lives?  Possibly!

James would have been very proud of us.

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