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

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - HEALTH -

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...

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