Apart from in the early years of our marriage, when our everyday plates were Melamine, we have had, for daily use, the pattern you see above. As someone said, I like blue! The pattern is called Indies and John Lewis used to keep it, so that whenever I needed to replenish the supply I just went and got more bits and pieces.
Eventually, John Lewis stopped stocking it and a few years ago I thought perhaps I'd go a bit more minimalist and get a plainer design instead. By this time, the children were beginning to leave so we kept the remaining bits of Indies for when it was just the two or three of us, but for bigger family gatherings, I chose Nil from Habitat.
This is it. I'm not minimalist by nature and now think it's nice but perhaps a bit plain (for me) but the real problem with it is that it chips very easily and because of the blue line round the outside, even the smallest chip shows up, as you can see in the photo. I was contemplating throwing away the chipped ones and buying some more, but was reluctant to buy more (because it chips...) and then Habitat went bust and that was that.
So: I've thrown away the worst-chipped Nil and am using the remainder together with the remaining bits of Indies for Mr Life and me, while using the new stripy/spotty china, padded out if necessary with the plainer unchipped Nil, for family lunches. Mix and match, you see. Thrift. Or something.
Anyway, enough of that. Would you like to see what I made for pudding the other day? We were having friends for lunch and since we've been having them for lunches for the past ... oh, nearly 40 years, I keep having to find something different to give them. In this case, Toffee Truffle Bombes. Not a vitamin in sight. Sorry, the picture above should be lower down.
First, you melt toffee or fudge in milk. Then you whip cream and fold it and some fromage frais into the toffee mix, and freeze the result.
Then you beat it and put it in your Nil cups, making a hole in the middle of your toffee mix.
Then you melt chocolate in cream (as in the saucepan picture), put this in the holes and freeze it again.
Later you unmould them, and - I forgot to take a photo of this bit - decorate them with toffee or whatever.
They're quite filling! But delicious. Not exactly healthy... though we did have them with strawberries. That's got to help. Or not.
Here's the recipe. Sorry if it's not in the right terminology.
Toffee Truffle Bombes
150 g (3 oz) toffees or - I recommend this - fudge (see note at end)
150 ml (quarter pint) milk
150 ml (quarter pint) double cream (ie thick)
75 g (3 oz) plain fromage frais (I'm sure you could use thick yogurt)
Chop up fudge, put in pan with milk and heat till fudge dissolved. Cool. Whip the cream but only until it's thickened a bit, add the fromage frais, mix into the chilled fudge mix and then freeze in a shallow container for an hour or two. Take out, beat enough to soften a bit and then spoon into six cups, spreading it up the sides to make a hollow in the middle. Pop cups in freezer.
150 ml (quarter pint) double cream
105 g (5 oz) plain chocolate, chopped
Place the cream in a pan, bring almost to boil, add chocolate, leave to melt a bit for a few minutes, beat till smooth, allow to chill a bit and then spoon into the hollows in the cups. Put in freezer for at least two or three hours.
Remove from freezer about 20 mins before you want to eat them and put in fridge to soften slightly. Unmould by putting them in bowl of warm water and then fighting them out with a palette knife. They should now be chocolate side down.
2oz chopped fudge, fudge sauce or whatever.
Note: the recipe said to use toffees: to put them in the freezer for 30 minutes before you started, to make them more brittle, and then to chop them into little bits to facilitate dissolving them in the milk. Mr Life happened to wander through the kitchen just as I was about to wield the knife and he kindly offered to do it. Some considerable time later, when there were little bits of toffee flying around the kitchen and he was covered with fine sticky toffee dust up to his elbows, we decided that fudge would have done just as well. In the interests of science, I tried the fudge version the following week and it was fine, much quicker and about 1000% less sticky.