The Lockwood Cookbook

A single red tomato, viewed from above. It's sat on a light wooden worktop.
Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay

If you’ve had nothing better to do with your time, you may have seen The Lockwood Echo’s new Food & Drink section. A cornucopia of bite-size morsels waiting to be devoured by you, my ravenous reader. (If the metaphors are already proving tedious, you may wish to log off now).

If you are yet to consume this supplementary offering, let this be an introduction for you; an hors d’oeuvre of the main course.

It will be the Hostess Trolley of all things culinary. A veritable buffet of true-life dinnertime disasters, fictional feasts and cookery cock-ups. Nice for them to have a cupboard of their own.

Our very own Madame Charlatan – not only a Teller, but also a Cook of Misfortunes – has many a tale to tell. Please have your Pepto-Bismol to hand for those.

My own food preparation skills are a legend in their own lunchtime, so it’s a joy to be able to serve these up and share my kitchen knowledge for you to avoid at all costs.

As I’m no Fanny Cradock*, please do consult a bona fide chef/cookery book/fire department before embarking on anything you read within those pages. The Lockwood Echo will not be held responsible for any food poisoning/paralysis/apocalypse resulting from an ill-thought out enthusiasm to recreate the stories you find there. Messing with cookers is not for the faint-hearted amateur.
*I would really encourage a read of this Wiki page, whether you are familiar with Ms Cradock or not. It may seem sad for a section entitled ‘Downfall’ to be included, but it’s all too pure and delightfully odd.

And you may be wondering, though I suspect you’re not, what are my personal favourite dishes? Well, we do like a pizza in our house. Usually we’re more than happy to pay someone to bring one to our door or brave the crowds and purchase one from a supermarket freezer cabinet. On occasion, bored with edible pizzas, it’s not unheard of for me to boil my own. I find the most difficult bit (apart from making it a viable food choice) is shaping the base. Round doesn’t really work for me, so I tend to go with my heart and create something free-form in nature. And ‘rhombus’ is pizza as God intended.

If I have a dizzy burst of irrationality, I have been known to bake. Sometimes I even turn our oven on to facilitate this process. You know the song ‘MacArthur Park’? Someone left the cake out in the rain? Yeah. Sorry. That was me. Only way to keep it moist. Didn’t want to serve up a brick. And no-one really likes green icing anyway.

Pretty good at putting together a picnic too. A posh stick of bread and a selection of cheeses. Although I have been known to forget the bread for this two-ingredient combination.

I once made the most divine alcoholic pudding. So colourful, a taste sensation, really boozy and delicious. Okay, so I may have just served up some foil-wrapped chocolate liqueurs in a bowl. But it went down a treat.

My biggest hurdle to cooking is usually the prep and mess. Let’s go back to the creation of that pizza and I’ll walk through the simple task of adding the toppings;

  1. Apply a thin layer of tomato paste.
  2. Pause to wash sleeve, so the paste that squirted sideways doesn’t stain.
  3. Add grated cheese.
  4. Wash hands, gather purse and keys. Run to shop to buy more cheese.
  5. Sprinkle over some dried oregano.
  6. Scrape everything off and start all over again because you’ve picked up the dried mint jar instead.
  7. Add some basil, cut fresh from the garden.
  8. Scrape everything off and start all over again because, you know, mint.
  9. Google basil and mint so you know the difference between how they look so you don’t make the same mistake next time because it wouldn’t occur to you to do something as obvious as SMELL THEM.
  10. Forget everything you’ve just Googled.
  11. Add sun-dried tomatoes.
  12. Take a half hour break to clean up all the oil you’ve just spilled trying to open the jar of sun-dried tomatoes.
  13. Place finished pizza in oven to bake for 20 minutes.
  14. After which; turn oven on and bake pizza for 20 minutes.
  15. Ring partner with the exciting news there is pizza for tea.
  16. Check oven to see if pizza is nearly cooked.
  17. Turn off smoke alarm.
  18. Wait 20 minutes for air to clear enough to see into oven.
  19. Order new oven.
  20. Ring partner again to ask him to stop by a shop to purchase pizza.

Fortunately we are the proud owners of a dishwasher to alleviate the stress of the mess. Though it’s not quite big enough to put the cooker in. You will not meet ANYONE as devoted and in love with their dishwasher as me. It’s the height of sophistication and grandness as far as I’m concerned. The most luxurious of luxuries and I’ve wanted one FOREVER. I absolutely detest washing up, so I have been saving up for a dishwasher since I was about four years old. As soon as I was old enough to hold a tea-towel, handed to me by someone with very poor judgement, my piggy bank had but one purpose in life; to buy me a machine to deal with that shit. Due to a variety of previous domestic arrangements and locales, the Dishwasher Dream had eluded me until we finally purchased our own home two years ago. The second we had a moving date, my dishwasher was on order. Having already identified The One, it even moved in before us. So determined was I to have this baby running from the off, I single-handedly researched, purchased parts and executed a joint washing machine/dishwasher plumbing configuration. This miracle box has CHANGED MY LIFE. As I always knew it would. No exaggeration.

I have gathered together a handful of posts to get my Food & Drink section launched. I hope you find something there to satiate your hunger for humour. More will be added if I can find any way of justifying their inclusion. In the meantime, take a look at this compilation of Christmas themed clips from Fanny Cradock’s TV series. If the whole six minutes or so is too much, promise me you will at least see it through to the two minute mark to witness her rather unique method of serving turkey. There is no denying her as one of the inspirations for Madame Charlatan. An approach to food preparation like no other.




  1. Your pizza sounds DIVINE. I laughed so hard that I fear I injured myself. My lawyers will be in touch to exchange insurance info with y’all because this might get spendy. I watched a segment of Ms. Fanny there and was thinking to myself when she was drenching whatever that was in cream and adding cutesy bits of fruit and biscuits… i thought “How fiddly is that?! Those Brits sure are patient!” I’m re-blogging this so that loads of folks will come visit your lovely cookbook and your blog. Recognition is due!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankyou so much! It’s difficult to know what that turkey, or was it a goose, did to Fanny Cradock to deserve that treatment, but it sure did pay a heavy price. I suspect lawyers may have been involved there too! So glad you got some laughs, tis always, usually, my intent. And thankyou so much for delivering it out to a wider audience. I hope it doesn’t put anyone off their dinner. 😬


  2. oh my dear….please for the love of God and all his creatures..stop cooking! I don’t think I have laughed that hard in 30 years…I KNOW I ruptured necessary internal organs. Don’t worry, my lawyer shall be contacting you shortly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • THAT has won you comment of the day award and an instant follow. Sorry about the internal organs, I hear you can get replacements via the internet. Your not the first to mention lawyers, so I shall continue to present myself in a semi-anonymous fashion. I can’t promise to stop cooking, but I can promise to share my woes for others to point and laugh at. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s someone at the door…….


    • She certainly did provide some very good spoof fodder. Ripe material for impersonators. It’s car crash TV. We watch with a horrified fascination. In the day, she was revered for her no nonsense approach, fancy food without breaking the bank. This clip doesn’t show it, but she often presented her shows wearing a ballgown. I, on the other hand, do not wear a ballgown to cook. Full flame-retardant apron, welding mask and steel-toe capped boots (in case I drop a cupcake). 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Mrs Bryntin is a professional pizza maker. She set up a business doing it proper and everything (until the provider of the pemises worked out there was money in it, kicked them out and does her own now)

    So, for tips, don’t ask me. Or her, because it still upsets her.

    There, that was a helpful comment wasn’t it? At least you’ll have clean dishes by the time you read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How dare someone taint a much-loved foodstuff and ruin Mrs B’s business. It does rather sound like she’d make a success of her very own tearoom, selling all her delicious cakes. Guaranteed customer here next time we Go West. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Stunningly brilliant, once again. There are so many delicious phrase-toppings to pick off this truly-satisfying slice of blog pizza that I don’t even know how to annotate them all. So I shan’t. But I am compelled to say that two lines in particular are vying for Best of Show: Step #14 in the pizza recipe, and the image of piggy bank whose sole purpose was to “buy me a machine to help me deal with that shit”.

    I am fully sated. And a bit belchy…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, Step #14. If only it was there just for comedic effect and had never really happened in real life to two hungry people wondering why dinner’s taking so long to cook. Thankyou so much for your wonderful comment, I love it almost as much as my dishwasher. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • We find the smoke alarm incredibly useful, letting us know when our meal is on the well-done side. And feel free to steal those pizza shapes, get creative, remember to go with your heart! It comes with much consolation, and no surprise, many of you have similar cooking abilities. I’m super happy that we have all connected here to shout proud about who we are! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am all aquiver to find a fellow non-cooking cooker. I hate it with a passion and would live blissfully off box food if that didn’t involve so much cooking! Off to gander at the new section.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘Blissfully live off box food if that didn’t involve so much cooking’. I HEAR YA! I’m glad this has brought so many of us together. There’s no shame in an inability to provide legal, healthy, edible sustenance. There should be a support group out there for us. ‘Incapable Cooks Anonymous’ or ‘Epic Gaffs Group Support’, EGGS for short. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I’m just preparing a BBQ, so expect burnt playing cards (yep, that happened), smoke-infused mulled wine (yep, that happened) and stuff left forgotten in the house oven for hours whilst we got drunk on the patio (yep, that happened). Thankyou for your enthusiastic use of foodie metaphors and even though I know you CAN cook, I also know you are a supporter and not a judger. Welcome to my kitchen!

      Liked by 1 person

        • I’m all about the Hotpoint myself. Got Hotpoint everything in my kitchen. Probably initially chosen for looks and price, but have been so impressed with design and longevity, I’ve stuck to the brand. For the posh amongst us, people do love an Aga. Other popular brands I think would be Beko, Indesit (Hotpoint) and Rangemaster for those who can cope with more than 2 pans on the go! Having said that, I’ve no idea what brand our current cooker is. It came built in and I hate it. We had to sell our free-standing Hotpoint, which now lives 4 doors down.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. My God – that was YOU who left the cake in the rain?! And here I’ll never have that recipe again.

    That show wasn’t for real, was it? What about the woman behind her with the smirk on her face, wearing what looks to be my grandma’s housecoat? Surely she’s in on the joke?

    Liked by 1 person

    • As a proficient baker, you must be horrified at my technique for keeping cakes moist. I can only apologise. As for the recipe; I’m sure it’d be easy to recreate. Flour and ……. errr ……. some other things, no need to bother icing it. Alas, the show was for real. My exposure to Fanny Cradock mostly comes from TV trips down memory lane and parodies. She was an easy target for impersonators. As for her assistants, here’s a quote from her Wikipedia page (Johnnie was her husband);
      ‘As time went by, however, her food began to seem outdated, with her love of the piping bag and vegetable dyes. As she grew older, she applied more and more make-up and wore vast chiffon ballgowns on screen. Cradock had always included relatives and friends in her television shows. Johnnie suffered a minor heart attack in the early 1970s and was replaced with the daughter of a friend, Jayne. Another assistant was Sarah, and there were a series of young men who didn’t last very long.’

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A kindred spirit, I see. I’m incapable of baking to save my life.I’m a fairly decent cook, as long as I stay away from the oven, but I can see my oven-using skills bringing about the apocalypse. I wonder if I should try…

    Now on to the Food & Drink session to see what wonders I can find there! Hope you’re having a good week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • All good here, hope with you too. Being such a loyal reader, you may have already seen the other posts in the Food & Drink section, but it will be the home for anything I can even remotely make a foodie connection with. And welcome to the Can’t Cook Won’t Cook Club. Or rather the Can’t Cook But Willing To Risk The Apocalypse Anyway Club! At least I know I can share the blame with you. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glad you’re doing well! And my memory is so bad I’ll probably think everything I’m reading is new (this is actually very close to the truth). Thanks for the warm welcome! I can cook, but everyone is safer if I don’t! Ha. At least I’m safe as long as I’m kept away from the oven. Otherwise, I can definitely cause the apocalypse before whatever I’m baking is ready. The difference between our cakes is that yours are bricks, and mine are pizza – I have no idea how, but I can bake cakes that stretch out like melted cheese when you cut them. Mysteries of the “art” of baking lol 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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