Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3556 Set by Leonora Casement

You were asked for recipes from a top chef for some of the simple meals that people today consider to be "cooking", like reheating a prepared meal.

Report by Ms de Meaner

I feel terrible. A magnificent entry for last week's comp came in from David Silverman, and somehow the words "Delia" and "bake" got it filed with this week's entries. I feel I must print it in full and give it a prize.

Come Together

He play the pan pan, he sing

"Groovin' up slowly", he sing

"Luvverly Wreetah" in his

Estuawry mockney, he swing

Down . . . shift . . . from his knees -

Get that Barnum effect on his flying


Come together, right now . . . over me.

He wear no car bra, he drive

Free and easy, he show

Zero tolerance for them

Fascist bus lanes, he just

Drive where the hell he please -

What's that in his lunch box - is it

Camembert cheese?

Come, etc.

He don't read Delia, he bake

Sheep's Eye Candy, he put

Mouse potato on his

Ratatouille, he serve

Yorkshire pud with Dover sole -

There's nothing like his "Baked toad in

the glory hole".

Come, etc.

He no mean hacker, he know

Every password, he get

Black information from them

Merchant bankers, he now

Expert on financial sleaze -

Nothing he don't know about them

Labour MPs.

Come, etc.

This week's winners get £15; the bottle goes to Ian Birchall.

Delia Smith's quick snack

"What I'm going to do now is show you how to prepare a Kit-Kat. When I go into the shop, I usually say something like, "Kit-Kat, please". Although it doesn't matter too much what phrase you use, don't forget to make it clear that what you want is a Kit-Kat.

"What you need to do next is - you need to open it. Some people break it in half while it's still wrapped. You can do this, but do be careful to get a clean break. You want to end up with two equal halves. I always prefer to unwrap it. First, take the red wrapper off . When it comes to the silver paper, what you need to do is peel it off like . . . this, taking care not to tear it. Later on you can smooth it out and see how flat it will go. Or you can roll it into a ball, fiddle with it all the way through sociology, then see how far you can flick it, using your thumb and forefinger, like . . . this (oops, sorry)."

David Silverman

Escoffier's Haricots blancs a la sauce tomate

Three days before serving, remove the beans from the tins, draining and reserving the thick liquid, and wash them in cold, salted water to remove the excess. After discarding any misshapen or damaged beans, change the water, add more salt and a little sugar (1 tablespoon to 5lb beans) and tightly seal them in glass jars. To prepare the sauce, saute a finely chopped onion, add three chopped tomatoes and cook with a little brown flour for a minute; then add 1/2 pint red wine and 1/4 pint mutton stock, reduce to half, and strain through a cloth before combining with the liquid from the tins. Allow to stand for at least 12 hours. Season. Cut slices of bread from the centre of a large loaf; one side of each should be so cut as to give a corrugated surface. After toasting, remove the crusts, place the slices, smooth side down, on heated plates, and spread some of the sauce warmed through gently over boiling water, on each. Plain boil the beans in new water, with some paprika from a bouquet garni; using two fruit forks, arrange them in neat rows on the toast, and top with more of the sauce.

Alan Frith

Delia's traditional English breakfast

Wipe bowl with damp sponge. Rip cornflakes packet at end marked "Open Other End". Pour flakes into bowl. Sweep flakes from floor and replace in packet.

Shake milk carton, holding thumb over aperture to prevent spillage. Estimate contents, then hold under cold tap to make up required volume. Pour on flakes.

Fill kettle. Switch on electricity. Pour off surplus water to prevent automatic switch-off. Insert long knife into coffee jar and hack at congealed lump adhering to glass until thoroughly powdered. Pour into cup and add boiling water. Do not add milk (see above).

Take pan. Use knife to remove leftover baked beans. Hold under tap and fill with water. Put on gas cooker. Bring to boil. Pour off excess water and relight gas.

Take two eggs. Drop one on floor. Leave till later. Put other egg in boiling water. When roughly 90 seconds are estimated to have passed, set watch time for further two minutes. Remove egg. Detach solidified lump of egg-white exuding from crack in shell and place egg in eggcup. Remove top with unwiped knife, allowing liquid yolk to run on to tablecloth.

Ian Birchall

No 3559 Set by George Cowley

"If there is one thing worse than a fuzzy intellectual, it is a focused one," said John Lloyd. Could we have dialogue between them by 31 December? Max 200 words.

This article first appeared in the 11 December 1998 issue of the New Statesman, Plato rules, OK?