Never has the expression ‘drawerful of porridge’ seemed so apt. I’ve been chucking stuff out recently to make way for my new lodger; and it wasn’t easy. The Wunderkind came home to help and was indeed a fountain of strength. ‘Mum,’ he said, ‘you don’t need 24 mugs!’ Well naturally I disagreed with him on that. Then, struggling to squeeze half a apint of milk  into the fridge, it was ‘Mum, you have TOO MANY CONDIMENTS!!’ But after all, I pointed out, you do need a mustard for every occasion.

After he went back to the Mess (hahaha that’s a funny one) I got started in earnest, because every time I cooked anything I was knocking things off the bunker. How does Rachel Khoo do it, in her ‘Little Paris Kitchen’? Probably it’s easier if you’re young and sexy and photogenic and well-connected. Anyway I started looking at sell-by dates on my magnificent collection of spice jars … and in my defence, I don’t think 2012 counts as truly ancient, especially as whole spices have a much longer shelf life than ready-ground … However I don’t want my lovingly prepared dishes spoiled by lack of vim and vigour, so I was ruthless – and threw out no fewer than 13 jars. Here they are. Farewell my friends, you were loyal and true, but this drawerful of porridge is being cleaned out! Life is tough.