New Years Eve is almost upon us. It’s a time to stop and reflect for a moment on the year gone by, the lessons learned, the things that we intend to do differently in the future.Â For my Aunty Jennifer, this mostly means not planting Pampas Grass in her front garden.
The first indicator that something was more than usually afoot came when her neighbor offered to give the plant a quick trim. Would she like him to go ahead, since he had a strimmer handy?
Given that she had only just planted said Pampas Grass, my Aunt replied that no, thank you, the grass was fine the way it was, and did not need strimming, though it was a very kind offer.
The following day, Aunty Jen returned home from work to find that the once abundant six foot stems had been hacked back to short two inch stubs. Whatever had the neighbor been thinking? What did he evidently have against Pampas Grass?
Eventually he came clean. He’d heard on the radio that a front garden full of Pampas grass was a common signal to mean that swinging occured in the house, and he’d wanted to keep the street decent. If there were going to be wild sex parties, it would be better for everybody if they were not advertised in the form of prominent foliage.
Aunty Jen, it turned out, was not all that interested in hosting impromptue partner swapping and canapÃ© evenings, so she accepted the sudden lack of plants in the garden with good grace and stoicism. “The lesson I learned from this is, be careful what you plant, or have a more interesting life, your choice.”
With this in mind, Happy New Year.
Chocolate Torte (serves 8 – 10)
This Delia Smith recipe is a family classic for my husband. Christmas, Graduation, 21st Birthdays, out comes a plate of pure chocolate. It’s delicious. Very rich. Very decadent. Very New Years Eve.5 tbsp liquid glucose (or light corn syrup) 5 tbsp rum 450g good quality chocolate 1 pint double cream 3 oz Amaretti biscuits coco powder nad chilled cream to serve Butter and line a 9 inch cake tin (25ish cm) Â
- Crush the amaretti biscuit and sprinkle over the bottom of the tin
- Heat the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (or in a microwave, very gently), with the rum and glucose. Once it is smooth and melted, leave off the heat for a few minutes to cool a little
- Whip the cream into soft peaks and fold into the chocolate
- Spoon everything into the cake tin, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight
- To serve, run a knife around the edge, then turn the whole thing upside down onto a serving plate. Dust with coco and serve with pouring cream
For more about the pampas grass/sex party urban myth/realityÂ see here.
Fancy buying some pampas grass? Check out this link.