A sweet treat, says Sophie White, can restore the peace at home, even if you have run out of things to say to each other
Curiously, in more than seven years of cohabiting, Himself and I have never really lived together without having others for company. After reviewing our various accommodations over the years, each more shambolic than the last, I have counted 28 housemates — I don't know if that is saying something about what Himself and I are like to live with. There is much talk of the other ‘magic number’ that people find themselves reviewing and questioning at the end of their 20s, but, as a serial monogamist, I have no real concerns on this front.
I am far more concerned with my domestic, as opposed to sexual, promiscuity. Are we like those families who run through pets at such a rate that one suspects neglect, or murder? Are we going through housemates at such a clip because we are impossible to live with? Or perhaps my serial house-sharing is a fear of living alone with Himself ? On our wedding day, there was a lull in the proceedings, just before the reception, during which Himself and I were left alone. I remember feeling a stab of fear that I had nothing to say to him. We had already run out of conversation less than an hour after legally binding ourselves. I mused that perhaps arranged marriages had their advantages, as the couple could spend the first chunk of the marriage just getting to know the basics about each other and would not be stuck in silence just a couple of hours in.
I was clinging to Herself 's comforting words of solace uttered that very morning — “sure, you can always get a divorce” — when Himself saved the day by breaking the silence with a comment on the torrential rain “unseasonable for June” pouring down outside. Thank God. What would we do without the shit weather?
Since then, marital conversation has progressed with reasonably few gaps, though we have yet to cohabit as just the two of us. The last in our line of long-suffering housemates is my father-in-law, or Pops, as Himself and I call him. One friend pointed out that Himself and I both referring to his father as Pops has vaguely incestuous connotations in that it makes us sound more like brother and sister. This comment spurred our quest for a home of our own, probably in the nick of time.
Like many before him, Pops's patience was wearing thin. We are preparing to move into our first house and the packing has begun. I suggested our friend Fat Tits move into our spare room, but Himself says it's time to put this relationship to the test and find out if we have anything to say to each other.
Years of making enemies of housemates has taught me that when the situation sours, a treat will sweeten people right back up again, even when they find out you ate their last Jaffa Cake, or left your electric blanket on for three days straight. Put the butter and the condensed milk in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the butter is melted and the butter and milk are well combined. Put the roughly crushed digestive biscuits, the desiccated coconut and the lemon zest in a large bowl and pour the condensed-milk-and-butter mixture over it. Mix everything together until all the dry ingredients are well coated.
Line a 9in (24cm) square baking tin with baking paper. Pour the biscuit mixture in and press it firmly into the tin. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to set.
Mix the sifted icing sugar and the lemon juice together until you have a smooth consistency. When the base is firm and chilled, pour the icing evenly over it and sprinkle the top with the extra desiccated coconut. Return to the fridge overnight, then cut the tiffin block into squares with a sharp knife.
You will need: 125g (4 oz) butter 175g (6 oz) condensed milk (about half a tin) 250g (9oz) digestive biscuits, roughly crushed 100g (3 oz ) desiccated coconut Zest and juice of 1 lemons 200g (7oz) icing sugar, sifted 2 tablespoons extra desiccated...