The Queen and I

The bunting industry must be gargling with champagne this weekend at the bonus it’s been handed by Queenie’s celebrations.

She’s done well to cling onto the throne for 60 years, especially as many of her peers have been unceremoniously escorted from the Royal premises and bundled, if they keep their heads, onto planes bound for Switzerland.

As a teenager I would have called for the same treatment for Queen Elizabeth and her extended family but I’m far more relaxed towards the Monarchy these days. I’d settle for moving Liz and Phil into a granny annex and turning Buckingham Palace into a year-round tourist attraction.  We’re in a reccession, we all have to make sacrifices.

I may not be a huge fan of Royal retrospection but I do like a retro dessert and today we took advantage of the brief sunshine to indulge in banana splits with Cornish ice-cream. Although there’s many a foodie who would shudder at the mere mention of it, we topped the treats off with canned whipped cream. We even scattered some patriotic sprinkles over the pudding.

Anyone for sprinkles?

We served the retro dessert from 1950s style banana split dishes. I’ve collected vintage tableware for years but I have to say that my friend Holly is Queen of that particular scene.

I first met Holly in the toilet queue at a Halloween party where she was wearing a (unused) MacDonalds paper bag with eye holes and a scary smile cut out of it over her head. The theme was Circus Freak and I’m still not sure of the connection but it was a very effective costume as it was quite sinister.

However, after just a few minutes of chat, and the removal of the bag,  it became apparent that she would be one of the most interesting friends I would ever make. She also happens to be one of the best cooks with the most enviable collection of plates, glasses and dishes dating back from when Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne.

I recently visited the Holly household for a lunch date that, despite having her wisdom teeth out and feeling like she had gone a few rounds in the ring, she kept. Like Queenie, she’s a trooper.


As much as I would have loved to have photographed Holly holding up the gorgeous 1970s serving dish filled with a squash & chickpea stew, I didn’t ask given that half her face was still bruised from the dental work. This is where the paper bag could have had a staring role.

The stew was a River Cottage recipe. If you fancy serving it up, then both Holly and I would suggest you have it as a side rather than the main attraction as we both felt it was a little bland.

Unlike Holly’s dining table, which is always one of the most interesting places to spend time.

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