Saturday, 17 January 2015

Just a Small Fire!

I came very close to becoming homeless yesterday evening. Oh, okay I exaggerate but there was a small incendiary incident in the motorhome.  Having bitten the bullet and agreed to let Louis have a friend over for a sleepover.  I bought hot dogs and cheesecake for supper. There was a frantic phone call at 4:30.  'Can we have fondue pleeeeeeeeeease?'  So I stopped for a block of cheese and a bottle of wine on the way home.

Now the Co-op in Ashburton is a teeny weeny branch. There was none of the Gruyere or Emmental called for in my recipe.  Nor cornflour either.  I thought I'd improvise.  Here's my recipe for a rather English cheesy fondue made with the ingredients that I could muster up.

1 1/2 glasses of white wine
350g Mature Cheddar grated
50g - ish Parmesan left over from before Christmas when you bought enough to feed a family of rats for a month.
1 clove garlic
A generous shake of paprika
1 tsp English Mustard
A good glug of Worcestershire Sauce
Ditto Balsamic Vinegar

1.Dress in clothes reminiscent of Margot Leadbetter to get in the mood.
2,Cut garlic clove and wipe inside vintage '70s fondue pan.
3.Add a glass and a half of wine to the pan along with paprika, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar.
4. Fill burner with methylated spirits generously.  Spill everywhere.  Pop pan on top.
5.Light burner. After  a couple of minutes surrounding area will be alight.   Be mesmerised momentarily as flames lap across the table top. Shit!!!!!!  Swear in front of another person's child who will probably never be allowed to visit again when he tells parents that I am indeed van dwelling low life with a potty mouth.  Take pan off heat.  Throw tea towel over top of burner.  Watch it singe and then check where the air might still be fanning the flame.
6.Once fire is out wash off meths from all surfaces and start again.
7. Repeat stages 4-6.
8. On third occasion use less meths.
9. Get bored with the fact that heating wine on burner could take until 2017 without surrounding radiant heat caused by burning table top.  Move to low gas ring for a serious blast of warmth.
10.  Add cheese gradually and heat sauce until bubbling.
11. Decide that sauce isn't thick enough so add whatever flour you have to hand.  Watch as it congeals into hearty lumps.  Squish these onto the side of the pan.  It will be alright.
12.  Pop back on meths stove.  Serve with dips.  Ours were cooked sausages, saute potatoes, onion baguette, carrot  and cucumber sticks.

And what do you know!  It turned out to be lush. Furthermore the boys learnt a lesson in how to put out a fire by starving it of oxygen.  How valuable might that be in later life? 


  1. I've never fondued and probably never will now!

  2. That was my favorite story on any blog so far in 2015. "van dwelling low life with a potty mouth" destined to be a classic.

  3. I echo Sam's comments! Glad to read that no permanent damage was done. Jx

  4. Sounds delicious...and entertaining. If friend has any sense he will not tell his parents!! I bought a wooden spatula with holes in recently (it earns it's space)...great for lumpy sauces!

  5. Thank you for the laugh, erm, fondue instructions! I think I will give this one a miss

  6. We had this happen on holiday in France. We all shifted our rumps pdq I can tell you! I've freecycled my fondue set but have a lovely recipe for one which uses stock rather than oil. Makes a fabbo soup the next day.

  7. The friend probably thought it was the best night ever! How many evenings involve a close quarters fire?