Terse Verse and Teatime Treats

A Unique Combination Literary Competition and Cookbook!


Entrée an Epigram

An epigram is a short witty remark or poem, often with a twist in the tail. Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) was very well known for twists in the tail as exemplified by the remark in his play Lady Windermere's Fan, 'I can resist everything except temptation'.


If you fish for compliments you'll be handed a line.

Death is inevitable: you can't live without it!

Youth continually wears the hot pants of burning desire.

Even a bookworm can turn over a new leaf.

The increasing incidence of anxiety in our society is worrying.

(Now it’s your turn…)


Today we look at the humble hard-boiled egg

The Queen is very fond of eggs. Indeed the very first laying hens stolen from nearby Liechtenstein produced the finest eggs in Europe – although no longer in Liechtenstein. The Earl holds his position at court primarily because of his expertise with eggs (and gossip), and in particular his ability to remove the black line that tends to circle the yolk in a halved hard-boiled egg, which makes them look rather like the Queen’s eyes after a hard night plotting.

HM is also partial to pumpkins, particularly at Halloween (on which date her birthday falls – figures!). Being a waste not, want not sort of person, the Queen encouraged Cook to come up with a recipe for pumpkins left over from the celebrations, preferably roasted along with the people who had irritated her that year. Luckily, Cook created a soup which included a secret ingredient (not mentioned here) and The Queen was so entranced (read bombed) that she forgot all about roasting people – including the Cook.

Examples of both recipes follow.


The Earl on Eggs

Cold Curried Eggs

8 hard-boiled eggs, 4 tablespoons of thick cream, 1 level tablespoon curry powder (or less to taste), salt, freshly ground black pepper, sprigs of parsley.


Add eggs to boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Crack the jolly old shell and allow to stand in cold water until they cool. When the eggs are cold, remove the bally shells and slice lengthwise. Remove yolks and mash with a fork. Blend in the cream and curry powder and season to taste. Pile the paste back into the egg-whites and garnish with a sprig of parsley or something. 

Top hole nosh, eggs. Said so to Charlie only the other day – Wales person I mean.  Said to me, 'Can't eat that sort of thing – going to go vegetarian!' Well, I mean to say – what sort of a king's that fellow going to make, what? Chap talks to trees you know.  Really!  I have it on the best authority. Natters away to them. Whole family's got bats in the belfry.


The Cook's Hearty Soup

Pumpkin Soup

750 g pumpkin, 1 small onion, chopped, pinch sugar, 6 cups beef or chicken stock, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper, pinch nutmeg, sour cream, chopped parsley.


Peel the pumpkin and dice it into small pieces. Sauté 10 minutes in the olive oil with the chopped onion and sugar. Add stock, cover and simmer until pumpkin is well tender. Put mixture through sieve (or cool a bit and use one of them new-fangled blenders), return to pot and reheat. Season with salt, pepper and add a good pinch of nutmeg. Whack into serving bowls and add a swirl or a smiley face of sour cream. Top with chopped parsley. 

Good honest nosh this is – not like the stuff that Master of the Cellar bloke whips up.  Always poncing about…smashed to the gills.

© L.J. May