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Image The idea of supper for one can be the most luxurious thing in the world. I’m talking baths, I’m talking candles, I’m talking red wine and TLC. Nigel Slater nailed the concept of sophisticated solo dining when he wrote a gem of a book called 30-minute Suppers. The book is only minuscule, but features the phrase ‘serves one’ unusually often. Only Nigel Slater could make those words sound appealing, and never have they have the looked more so on this day (of all days), when all the lonely hearts need to be posting a package of TLC right through their own letterboxes yo. (That wasn’t a euphemism by the way. I just want to say Happy Valentine’s to all my single ladies (and lads). Bit creepy, soz.) WHO ARE YOU KIDDING. The ‘serves one’ dream is, for me, impossible. After much deliberation over my lunch break, I put it down to the following two reasons: 1)      If your life is anything like mine, then (as previously mentioned here) red wine and TLC is not compatible with the vibe I seem to be channelling currently (the fact that I own two pairs of velour tracksuit bottoms and wear running trainers all the time despite never having been on a run in my life may give you some indication what this means). And so, TLC in twenties-speak translates as ‘me in a pair of someone else’s boxer shorts (I admit. They’re dad’s), watching Friends repeats, eating baked beans and cheese (because who, really, can be bothered to wait for a jacket potato), and weeping because my hair just isn’t as nice as Rachel’s, and never ever will be. 2)      Eating by yourself is actually quite boring, and because nobody’s watching there’s nothing to stop you devouring an entire tub of Haagen-Dazs. This is not a good way to spend an evening, FYI. I have never actually made the recipe below, because while it might possibly be the most brilliant thing I’ve ever heard of, it is also possibly the most depressing recipe I have ever come across in my entire life. It’s a cake in a mug, made in the microwave. The consequences of this are almost, nearly revolutionary. This means, at any time of day, you can have a personal cake sitting in front of you within the space of less than five minutes. Hungry? Have a cake. Bored? Have a cake. Want to show off to that smug colleague who always has delicious-looking packed lunches? Make a cake and shove it in their face. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Quit whining Grace! This cake shebang sounds freakin’ awesome!’ But A-HA! Before you know it, The Happy Mug-Cake has become The Cake of Grief and Gloom. Bit miz because no-one’s asked you out on Valentine’s? Cake. Jilted at the altar? Cake. Cats die? Have another cake. And another one. And another one because nobody is going to stop you and it only takes, like 3 minutes baby! But happiness is not to be found at the bottom of that huge SportsDirect.com mug that you got free with the fake Juicy velour tracksuit bottoms with the elasticated waist. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. There are recipes for these little demon-cakes all over the internet. I think this peanut butter one has got the delicious-depressing balance just right. p.s. I swear I’m not bitter about Valentine’s day. Just sayin’. Ingredients: –          3 tablespoons flour –          2 tablespoons sugar –          1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder –          1/4 teaspoon baking powder –          pinch of salt –          3 tablespoons milk –          1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil –          1 tablespoon peanut butter Directions: In a large mug, using a fork, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt). Add the milk, vegetable oil and peanut butter. Whisk until smooth. Cook in the microwave on high for 1 minute and 10 seconds. Don’t be alarmed when the puffed up cake starts to sink like a soufflé when it comes out. This always happens. Serve immediately. (recipe: The Novice Chef) (photo: Lori Ann)

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