Day 29

I made a perfect cheese sauce. I can still remember my mum teaching me the roux method, when I was about 14. I still feel terribly chuffed every time it comes out right. I don’t measure anything any more, so satisfying.

I made my daughter squeal with excitement when she saw I had bought both smooth and crunchy Biscoff. This a spread made from those little Belgian biscuits you get with coffee at the hairdressers pulverised up. It’s the most outrageously delicious thing ever. Peggy eats it spread onto slices of apple.

Smooth is definitely nicer.

My cat has a tail like a plume.

I’m doing a lot of generalised research into the elderly for a project I’m working on. I came across this lady. She’s 99.

http://www.liveleak.com/ll_embed?f=b983e63c682e

Day 26

tony

My adored friend Tony Howard came over to fix up my tiny little jungle of a garden.

This is like having Gordon Ramsey coming over to rustle up a cheese on toast, or Karl Lagerfeld darning your socks.

As well as being a big and real proper head gardener, Tony is a chef, but most importantly… my favourite dancing partner. We disco down and tear up the floor.

Tony used to be in the army and still smokes a cigarette with the red end tucked inside his palm, so his nickname – and Instagram tag – is @squaddietony. He’s really worth a follow.

He can also crack a coconut with his bare hands.

Two years ago I won one on the coconut shy at Port Eliot and I walked away saying, ‘Great – now what do I do with it?’ Tony took it from me and then handed it back in bits.

I love my friends. (I’m sure I’ll get onto his husband Derek in future despatches.)

I have made a chicken pie of such splendour I’m quite behind myself. I even made the puff pastry.

Thanks to Nigella Lawson, after years of cooking fear, I am now completely confident with all species of pastry.

The binding sauce is a velouté, made with the stock from the boiled-up carcass.

Get me.