(1938-12-04) Lancashire Hotpot
Details for Lancashire Hotpot
Summary: Domestics Club are making a savoury wintry favourite and in the process are regaled to a William Wallace style lecture on vegematarianism.
Date: 04 December 1948
Location: Club Room

Today's session isn't so much about magic as it is about ordinary cookery. The recipe is a regional favourite in the north of England. Lancashire hotpot is made with bits of lamb and vegetables baked in a dish. Mrs Patil has issued out recipe cards to each station in the club room and left the students to gather their ingredients. Medusa is once more cooking with Beatrice, why she isn't sure since Bea wasn't exactly helpful last time. There are others present, including Robbie and Gary in their little first year Hufflepuff awesomeness.

Douglas is here to convince Mrs. Patil that he's hugely interested in cooking. Which he's doing by sitting on a table, mostly in the way, and tasting ingredients.

Beatrice looks over at Robbie and Gary, "They're so cute and adorable. They should form a group, a barbershop quartet. Slick their hair back. Have fake moustaches." She too is doing very little, although Medusa does keep trying to give her jobs. So far she has manages to very slowly peel one carrot - without magic and with a lot of whinging.

"Hey," Medusa wrangles another carrot away from Douglas and gives it to Beatrice to slice. "Do you even like to eat hotpot?" she asks the Gryffindor. From the basket of vegetables meant to be used in the recipe she selects an onion. "Aren't they meant to be made in some kind of special dish?"

Douglas rolls his eyes as he sneaks another carrot from the basket, crunching down on the end. "Never even tried it," he admits, through a mouthful of carrot. "What kind of pot, and if you say a Lancashire one I will stab you with this." He pulls the carrot from his mouth, pointing it at Medusa threateningly.

Andromena arrives to the Club Room looking only slightly as if she feels woefully out of place. Tucked under her arm is a recently purchased apron, and her hair is pulled into a high pony tail - don't want those locks getting messy! Approaching Mrs Patil, Andromena spies both Medusa and Beatrice, as well as…Douglas. Had he joined, or was he just here to sample the goods? A quick wave to the trio, and then she's off to make sure she can join the…fun, yes fun.

Beatrice spies Andromena's apron and mutters, "Bugger." She walks off to rummage through the pile of aprons to find one that doesn't clash hideously with her hair. While there she happens to encounter a rather cute Hufflepuff and enlists his help in finding the right apron.

Medusa looks over at Douglas from under her lashes as she peels the first layer of the onion. "Are you sure you'd know where to stick it?" The jibe is delivered in a low voice so as not to carry. Her head turns and she grins at Andromena, "Hello. I wasn't sure when you were joining. Want to pair up with us? Well, me. The other two are hangers on."

Douglas smacks Medusa on the arm with the carrot anyway at that, then glances back, cutting short any retort he might have had and instead greets, "Meanie. I'm taking on the very important, vital responsibility of tasting to make sure nothing's poisoned."

Andromena, assured her presence is welcome, begins to don her apron. It has pink frills, yes, but the rest is white. Completing the piece is her fanatically grinning T-Rex, wand in claw. Little carrots dance about his head, because apparently this apron is magical and the food is question will make a debut there. "I'd love to," said to Medusa when she invites her over. A quick peer towards Douglas. "Don't say that in front of Alphard, he'll get so full of himself." And what if more people picked up on it? She picked up the recipe card. "Poisoned, huh?" With Andromena in the mix, this was possible.

Beatrice and her Hufflepuff friend are still apron inspecting for the moment. Or were trying to but Madam Patil came by and ruined all the fun. With a huff and her favourite apron with the dancing leprachauns on it, Beatrice sidles up to Medusa, giving Andromena a polite nod. She begins to peel the other carrot. "Poison? Medusa doesn't poison people. Her potions aren't that bad, Douglas' are worse. You should see them in class. If it isn't bubbling over or belching out goo at everyone it is a miracle."
You paged Andromena with 'Bea is here to contribute to an intentional snark in another round, then she'll be off.'
Andromena pages: Alrighty. I like Bea and her snarks.

"Ow," Medusa pretends the carrot hurt, but ruins it by grinning at Douglas afterwards. She rolls her eyes, "Yes, let us not increase the size of his ego. It is bad enough as is. Especially with Esther being sychophantic over us both these days." She points to a chopping board beside Douglas, "Hand me that." No please, just a command.

"Esther Lowe's sycophantic over everyone," Douglas points out, twisting back to reach the board and holding it up out of reach. "What do you say, Malfoy? Manners cost nothing, remember." He does give Beatrice a grin. "I'm distracted by you, Nott, you know that. I can't keep my eyes off you."

"The problem is Douglas is the only man here, and poison is a woman's work - or so I've always heard it said. I guess he has a right to be concerned." Beside Medusa, she's grinning too. "The Hair?" Andromena questions when the blonde mentions Esther. The two of them rarely came into contact, though Andromena knew she was also cousins with Myrus Lowe, and that they spent a lot of time together. Her eyes arch up toward the cutting board. Disastrously out of reach for one so despairing of height as she. Instead, she tries to make herself useful by gathering up some of the other ingredients found on the card.

"Merlin's shriveled cold one, her again?" Beatrice rolls her eyes and grabs a knife. Showing a surprising amount of skill she lops off the ends of the carrots in turn. "The Hair?" Bea laughs at this. "I call her that too. She was all cozy in the firelight with Alphie the other night. Could tell she had nothing on under that blouse too. Bet she sat near the fire just to make sure he noticed. It's the sort of thing I'd do." The ginger glances at her cousin and Douglas, "Get a room," she teases.

Medusa holds up the hand with the knife and waggles her brows at Douglas, then after sneaking a glance at Patil sets the knife down on the counter and leaning in to kiss his cheek, whispers quietly to him. She steps back and with a smile holds her hand out, "Please may I have the chopping board?" A nod is given to Andromena but before she can say something her nosy cousin butts in. "I highly doubt Alphard would be swayed by Esther, Beatrice. Not everyone has your short attention span."

Douglas grins quietly, relenting and giving Medusa a nod as he hands the chopping board over. Settling back on his hands, he shrugs. "She's all right, Nott. Anyway, everyone knows that if you're going to have your chebs out, it's better in the cold."

"I must have heard it from you," Andromena muses as she too picks up a knife. There was something delightfully primal about it. Chop, chop, chop. "But not too close to the fire, right Beatrice?" So close to saying Marshmallow, but she refrained. Didn't need her to start calling her Meanie, after all. Andromena was sporting a decidedly wicked grin, which only grew in size when Douglas came to the same conclusion as she. He was just more to the point about it.

"Not like she has anything to show off. My knobbly knees have more shape," says Beatrice as she begins chopping one of the carrots in earnest. "And the cold makes them hurt, so no you're wrong Doug."

Now that she has the chopping board Medusa can get to work. She is still new to cooking and isn't from the type of family where her mother would hand down some quirky family tradition about how to avoid crying while chopping onions so Medusa is left to get watery eyes. She sniffles and makes the mistake of bringing the hand with the knife near her eyes to wipe them on her sleeve, only making matters worse. "Sodding vegetable," she mutters.

"Aw, did I hurt your feeling, Malfoy?" Douglas mocks, swinging his legs as he leans back, grinning. "I didn't think you even had one left. Or are your boobs cold? I could warm them up for you?"

Andromena too finds her eyes watering. "Ugh," she gripes, looking skyward, trying to keep any tears from rolling down her cheeks. "People endure this sort of stuff?" Like Beatrice, she sticks to the carrots. "You don't stand out where it's too cold," she tells Beatrice. "Just cold enough." Just enough to catch attention. Shouldn't the red head know about these sorts of things? "And I don't think Patil would appreciate any sort of…other activity outside of cooking, Douglas."

Beatrice rolls her eyes at Andromena because she knows. "Don't go giving away our secrets to a boy, Andromena Rowle or you will get kicked out of the girl's club." She looks at Medusa then and laughs. "What the heck is wrong with you? You aren't turning into one of those vegematarians are you?" She pulls the next carrot over and slices a bit off, "Woe! Woe for the poor carrot!" Another slice. "The poor defenseless carrot!" And another. "All this poor carrot wanted to do was to grow big and tall. He didn't even mind that he couldn't grow free anymore like his ancestors had. Free in the wilds of…Kent where all the free things used to grow." She slices off a few more pieces, sobbing now. "This poor poor carrot. Forced to die so greedy, thoughtless, careless people like us could eat it."

Medusa starts to laugh. She cannot help it. Sometimes her cousin is too ridiculous. She wipes at her tear stained cheeks with her hand and tries to keep chopping the onion. "Cruel," she nods her pale head in agreement. "We are so cruel to fruits and vegetables. Yanking them from the warm bosom of the earth when we feel the time is right. Never asking how they feel."

"I'm not offering my other activities to Patil," Douglas points out amiably, reaching for another carrot. "Let me guess, all you want is… world peas?"

Andromena was going to try and defend herself, but instead just found herself appalled by Nott's behavior. Some day, in the far future, there will be people that take the Marshmallow's words as gospel. She'd given the recipe card another look, because she really does want this to turn out splendidly. "Just imagine how animals must feel," Andromena mutters as she finishes chopping up another carrot. "If this is how we treat fruits and vegetables." Last, but not least, there is Douglas. King of the punch line. Andromena groans, giving an exaggerated roll of her eyes.

"Pulling them from the nurturing embrace of trees and shrubbery." Beatrice tuts with all the aplomb of an elderly spinster aunt. Her ginger head bobs in agreement with Andromena. "We should give up eating everything altogether. No fruits. No vegetables. No cheeses or milk. No bangers or mash!" She brandishes the unchopped portion of carrot and sets her knife down. "Rise up Domestics Club! Avoid the tyranny of serial killing of cereals! Chop no more. Reach for no mashers or those hammer things, whatever they are. Don't even drink water, because you haven't asked if it likes being drunk only to be wee'd out by all of us."

All around them other students, several of them who are crying over their own onions are laughing at Beatrice. Little Robbie and Gary, those impressionable youths, are brandishing their carrots and in their Mancunian accents taking up Beatrice's battlecry, sort of. "No more chopping! No more chopping!"

Medusa puts her knife down and slaps an oniony hand over Beatrice's mouth to silence her just as Patil comes over and demands to know what is going on. "Give peas a chance?" she jokes, rather lamely and looks to Douglas and Andromena for help.

Douglas straightens, giving Patil his best, most charming smile. "Uh, we were wondering if there's a way to stop crying over the… uh… poor slaughtered, vegetables."

"Look," said Andromena to Medusa and Douglas. "She's become your very own William Wallace." But ah, there is Patil, spoiling all the fun. And this on Andromena's first day in the wonderful world of cooking. "Nott is excitable," she adds after Douglas. "But we…" Eyes dart back and forth, make it about cooking, she thinks to herself. "We really would like to know if there's a method for chopping these onions so they're not as hard on the eyes." Andromena gestures to Medusa and her poor watery eyes.

Beatrice isn't as strong as Medusa and can't pull her hand away, she knows this and so doesn't even try. What she does do is narrow her eyes and glare at her cousin. Clever enough to know to take one for the team when the other two offer explanation the Nott girl nods in agreement.

Madam Patil narrows her eyes suspiciously but when sweet Andromena steps into the breech she believes her. "You need a very sharp knife, but we don't let students have them that sharp. And you shouldn't cut the end off it entirely like Miss Malfoy did." She is about to say more but a chubby blonde Hufflepuff runs up, panting. "Robbie…has…a…carrot….up…his…nose." Spying Medusa the girl makes muppet arms and runs away again, Patil chasing after.

When the librarian has left them Medusa lowers her hands and says to her cousin. "Shut it you, better yet scram before you cost Douglas some points." She none too gently gives Beatrice a shove after taking the carrot from her. "Right, so what is next on the list, Andromena?"

"Robbie's just confused about where it goes," Douglas notes quietly, pushing himself from the table to stand, idly looking through the rest of the basket. "Where's the meat? Don't you do the meat first?"

Andromena's lips thin at Chubspuff; she's trying not to laugh. Of course someone shoved a carrot up their nose. Of course. Unfortunately, when the girl runs off in that most preposterous manner, the Ravenclaw is unable to help herself and she giggles behind her hand. A quick waggle of her fingers as Beatrice is advised to leave before Andromena composes herself. "Well…" She says, thoroughly lost. "Does the meat go first?" This was bad. She literally knew nothing when it came to cooking, magically or naturally. "It's probably be kept somewhere." Andromena does, however, know you can't just leave raw meat laying around. It's unsanitary.

Beatrice takes her apron off and puts it over Douglas' neck before sauntering off, wiggling her fingers at the cute Hufflepuff boy as she leaves.

Where is the meat? Medusa begins looking for it and finds it in the icebox. "Ah, here it is. Stewing lamb and kidneys, right?" She takes the cold dish out of the icebox and sets it on the counter near Andromena. "May I see the recipe card?" She doesn't take it but peers over the girl's shoulder.

Andromena holds the card so that Medusa can read it without trouble. It lists their required ingredients first, and then goes on to give actual directions. Something about browning the lamb and kidneys, chopping of vegetables, and frying. Andromena has very quickly found herself woefully out of her depth. "Sounds right," says Andromena to the blonde. She peers toward the chilled meats, expression pensive.

"We should heat up the dripping." Which is conveniently on the counter. "I'll do that and get the meat going if you finish with the vegetables, Andromena." Medusa doesn't give Douglas a job, just lets him hover and be a nuisance. Nothing unusual then. Collecting the dripping on the way, she checks the oven temperature only to discover Patil had set them all before the session began. The dripping is put in a dish and set into the hot oven to heat up.

Andromena can do that! It is a task she performs dutifully and without incident. "So I may have missed this, but why are we cooking this particular way today?" The Ravenclaw has yet to determine just how she feels about cooking at all. It's yet to feel like a horrible bore, but maybe that's because she has Douglas and Medusa for company. Neither, however, does she feel as if she's taken to it like a fish to water.

Medusa is watching the fat melt in the oven. "I don't know. I suppose because people eat it during the winter or something." When she has determined the dripping is hot enough Medusa begins to carefully brown the meat, using an oven mit and tongs. "Madam Patil chooses what we do, some days it is cooking. Some cleaning. I don't always stay on those days."

Andromena watches Medusa for a moment as she handles things by the oven. "Can't say I'd like to, either," she agrees. Unfortunately, Andromena wouldn't be so bold as Medusa to leave. She'd just stay behind and take it, because that was just the sort of person Rowle was. "It does sound like it should be good." So long as they didn't botch things.

Sometimes cooking is exciting and sometimes it is boring. The boring bit is the waiting once it is all in the oven. Especially as this recipe takes ages. However, wizarding ovens are magical and more than cut the cooking time in half. Which is a good thing because Medusa has the attention span of a gnat at times. She busies herself with blowing breath on the nearby window and drawing shapes in the condensation.

Douglas helps with drawing pictures. Only his pictures are of carrots. With two onions at the base. Hairy onions. And why is the carrot spitting?

Attention spans aside, Andromena reads and rereads the recipe card. She hasn't the courage yet to share with the others that she really feels like she's utterly clueless. Maybe she should have come back on a day when little firsties were just going over the basics or something. Vegetables are cut and set aside, even the potatoes. "Your carrot looks rather deformed," she tells Douglas, eyeing the drawing with a critical, yet ignorant eye. "And what is that? Water? It's going…" Wait, wait, wait. Andromena looks between Douglas and Medusa; is she the only one?

When she sees what he has drawn Medusa elbows Douglas lightly and wipes the window clean. "Hmmm? Oh, he's just being silly." She pulls the warmed baking dish out of the oven and sets it aside, then encourages Andromena to watch and even help through the next few stages. Browning the onions in the rest of the dripping. Boiling the carrots. Adding the meat to the onions along with some flower, spices and the stock. The recipe is simple enough once everything is prepared. "The trick," she says as if she cooks regularly, "is to get everything ready first and know what to do in what order. And then if it all fails say sod it and dump it into the oven together. So long as it tastes nice and looks half way decent nobody cares. This isn't fine dining."

"And if all else fails, send a minion off to the dining hall to snag a Cornish pasty and a bottle of something," Douglas suggests sagely, rolling his eyes as his beautiful fine art is wiped clean from the window. "I'll get my wand out ready to conjure something, shall I? I mean, your cakes are all right, but this? I'm not holding my breath."

Andromena is only too happy to help, and feels a tad more confident since Medusa is there guiding things and she seems to know what she's doing. The mistakes she does make are easy enough to fix, though Andromena doesn't appear all that thrilled to have made them. "Now why couldn't we have made a cake today?" Sweet things are more or less what had Andromena joining Domestics in the first place. "I'd be content making some brownies now and again. Here you go, Alphard, have a brownie and milk." Specifically when he was frothing. "Just on occasion, mind," she tuts. "I'll dump him if he starts to get fat."

Medusa laughs at that last bit. "I wouldn't date a fattie either. Thankfully Douglas is lovely all over." And standing right there. "But he does eat a lot, same as Alphard. Both of them seem to eat even more when sat near each other at meal times." Once everything is in the oven to cook and the potato layer looks decent enough for a school cookery class Medusa dumps everything in the sink. "Mind you, I doubt he'd fancy me with a fat arse either."

"You're so shallow," Douglas accuses the pair, sniffing. "Just because I happen to have a body like a greek god now doesn't mean I'll always be this damn good looking. You should look deeper inside. Character. And stuff."

"Oh sure, it works both ways," Andromena says. "I'd sooner fling myself off a bridge first, though." In regards to gaining a fat arse. "You look for character after the fact. Or you just stop being so fit after it's too late for the other to leave."

Medusa rolls her eyes. "As if you'd have me if I looked like Whalesong," she accuses right back. "This," the girl taps the recipe card that sits on the counter, "Is the kind of thing I suspect Alphard would like you to cook for him along with cake for afters. Followed by a cheeseboard and fruit."

"You could be fat," Douglas decides after a moment, drawing more doodles in the condensation on the window. Let's call it a… take on a prehistoric fertility symbol. "I only want you for your money, remember?"

"True," Andromena says to Medusa, about Douglas. "He will accept you for your money, and then go and have himself a mistress or three on the side." As for Alphard? Andromena peered into the oven, and tried to imagine herself cooking all of that. "Hopefully I'll have elves to prepare all of it." Alphard would still give her the credit for seeing it made, because he was the sort of person that was above seeing his help as anything more than a means to an end.

"That one looks pregnant," Medusa says of his drawing. Her own drawings are less sexual in nature, more animal shaped. They look vaguely like a cross between a big-eyed bug and a bird. "He's with me for my money, but I'm with him for the se-snogging."

"So why are you learning to cook, Meanie?" Douglas asks, glancing back over his shoulder, then leaning across to add boobs to Medusa's drawing. "I mean… you don't plan to have elves for that?"

Andromena decides to be honest when Douglas asks her why she's learning to cook. "Because Alphard threatened to enjoy the cookies of other girls," well, not quite, but she took it that way! "If I was unable to make them myself." A little fist clenches as she thinks about how easily he manoeuvred her into doing just what he wanted. "So here I am. Not a single cookie in sight, making this…hot pot? I guess I ought to learn a bit about it all, since I've never bothered with any of it before."

"Horace doesn't have boobs," Medusa protests. She looks back at Andromena, "Rather sneaky of him. You have to admire his way with things sometimes. He isn't subtle often, but every now and then he gets it right. Of course what he doesn't realise is that you are subtly getting him to do what you want too."

"Sex," Douglas states solemnly, giving a nod.

Andromena gives Medusa a sly grin. She knows the way of it. Of course, the Ravenclaw is utterly lost when Douglas mentions sex. Is he saying to use that to direct Alphard, or is he just…saying it? So she chooses to nod solemnly back at the tall youth. Sex indeed. "I think Alphard is learning, though…about how to be subtle, that is." Which was probably going to make him an even worse monster to his victims, but that wasn't her problem now, was it?

Douglas earns himself a swat on the backside and a pointed look. "The party should be good, even if that awful Genevieve is there." Medusa cannot bring herself to like the girl. "She had the gall to tell me that because I called professional quidditch players stupid that it means I think Douglas is stupid. And she is obsessed with the idea of my not being happy."

Douglas snorts a laugh. "I'd never play professional quidditch. I think the whole damn game is stupid," he admits cheerfully, despite playing for his house. "If I could get the same squealing women from playing rugby, I'd play rugby instead."

"Let her be obsessed," Andromena advises Medusa. "As far as I can tell, she never really settles on one thing for very long, right?" Or was that just boys? At any rate, Andromena didn't spend all that much time around Solomon. Probably for the same reason she never spent all that much time around the Quidditch players in her own house. Leaning towards Medusa she adds, "It only serves people of that nature to show them you are effected. When they grow bored, they move on." Why Alphard was friendly with her was beyond her understanding as well, but Andromena settled for the explanation that they were team mates. A pat to Douglas' shoulder. "The trials one must undertake to get some squeals."

"Next Gryffindor game Andromena and I will have my pawns hold signs cheering for you. We will instruct them to bounce up and down. I know how you like it when girls bounce up and down." Medusa smirks at him. As buzzers start to go off around the room she leaps up and rushes to the oven to peer inside it.

"I do like it when girls bounce up and down," Douglas confesses, running a hand through his hair. "Aren't we playing Ravenclaw next, though? We should have athletics, too. I would clean up at the sprinting."

"And squeal as loudly as they are able," Andromena adds. Following on Medusa's heels, Andromena stands just out of 'in the way' range as she attempts to peer into the oven as well. Thank goodness for buzzers, because she had been rather wrapped up in their conversation! To Douglas, Andromena shrugs. "No clue, but even if you are I won't mind cheering for you. I mean, look at the Ravenclaw team," her hands waved in the air in a disgusted manner.

Medusa reaches over and grabs the oven mitts without standing upright. She carefully opens the oven and pulls the dish out. "Careful," she warns them both as she slowly stands up and moves towards the counter. "To be honest, I only went to the game because Douglas and Alphard were playing. I promised Alphard and well…," she grins a little even as she prods at the potato layer with a fork, "I would go watch Douglas grow grass if he asked." Her head turns towards him, "Please don't ask."

Douglas opens his mouth, then grins as she tells him not to, and closes his mouth again. "She just likes watching me in tight clothes, doing death defying tricks with my broomstick."

"Yeah," Andromena drawled somewhat. As if she'd ever been seen at a game before getting all chummy with Alphard. He'd asked her to go, and it had just felt wrong not to attend after that. Plus, Medusa had been kind enough to invite her to sit with her, which had made a world of difference. "You can't blame her, Douglas," she tells him, backing out of the way as Medusa brings the dish towards the counter in a slow and steady manner. Idly, Andromena watches the steam that rises from it. "Alas, not sure grass-growing has much in the way of any of the aforementioned things. Oh hey, has Douglas ever taken you riding on his broom?" Asked innocently enough.

As everything looks okay Medusa tugs off the oven mitts. "Could you please close the oven, Andromena?" As Andromena crosses that little space and for a moment has her back to them, Medusa grins up at Douglas, "Fancy taking me for a ride on your broom?" She risks a peck on the lips, hoping Patil is also distracted as there are a few forlorn sounds and students lamenting over their hotpots.

"There's always space, it's a big broom," Douglas responds with a grin, leaning to one side to check Patil-status, then returning the kiss with more enthusiasm, if with only limited time. "So… do I get to eat this now?" he queries, nodding to the steaming hotpot. "Will it kill me?"

Medusa laughs, "Yes you can eat it." She rummages around in the cupboard and finds them each a plate and some cutlery so they can try it. Douglas is handed a serving spoon. "It wasn't too difficult to make. I bet the severing charm would make it much easier to get the vegetables ready."

Douglas spoons a helping onto each plate for the girls, then just tucks into the rest with the serving spoon. "Ow! Shit! It's hot!" he warns, huffing around a mouthful and wafting at his face with his free hand.

"It just came out of the oven." Medusa shakes her head and sees to getting him a glass of water before she carefully blows on a bite and then tries it. "I've never had this before. I like how it tastes, but is it mean to taste this way?"

"Many carrots died to bring you this delicious hotpot," Douglas tells her solemnly, bowing his head after taking a sip of water. "A minute's silence for their sacrifice." And in honour of that sacrifice, he gets himself another big spoonful, blows on it, and chows down.

Medusa bows her head, but more because she is chuckling and trying to keep the food in her mouth from escaping. She swallows and then drinks some of his water before asking, "What do you think of it? Should I add it to the list?"

"It'd be better with more… more oomph," Douglas decides vaguely, waving the spoon as if that'll help explain what he means. "But I like it well enough. Is it easy to get hold of everything for it? Are we going to need an oven?"

"The flat had one in the kitchen and I think the cottage did." Medusa eats a little bit more. "Maybe garlic or something?" She shrugs, unsure of what would add oomph but agreeing that it is a little boring. "We can always check again. There is another Hogsmeade weekend this weekend. Oh, speaking of which my brother Cassius is coming up. He's the one you met before."

Andromena returns! She had been pulled away for the time being by a younger student too afraid to ask Medusa a question. But now that she was back, she wanted to have a bite of their hard work as well. "Oomph?" She queries, bringing her own spoon the her lips, cooling it with a few quick blows before having a bite. "I like it well enough," she declares afterwards.

"Or pepper?" Douglas suggests, raising a brow. "What does he want? Do I need to be on my best behaviour again for him?"

"Thank you Andromena." Medusa makes it sound like she did all the work herself. "No, I don't think he expects to see you at all, Douglas. I wrote him about family things and he wanted to come discuss them with me. Privately." She moves over to the spice cupboard and finds the pepper grinder then hands it to the boy.

"You're welcome!" Chimes the younger girl, blissfully unaware. She had helped marginally at best, and likely would have destroyed the dish entirely if it weren't for Medusa's being there to alter the course. "The safe bet is to be on your best behavior anyway," Andromena says to Douglas. "In case her brother gets some sort of wild hair and decides to check up on you."

Grabbing the pepper and adding some to the top of the hotpot, Douglas muses, "If he doesn't expect to see me, I'll just make myself scarce. I'll take Horace out or something."

Medusa sneaks a bit of the hotpot with the pepper added and nods appreciatively. "It is better with the pepper." She shrugs, "It's up to you if you want to be around when Cassius comes or not. Winning him over would be useful. He did like you last time, or at least found you amusing." The Malfoy considers something and asks, "Do you think maybe it would help if I met one of your sisters?"

Andromena doesn't add any pepper to her plate, content to eat it as it was. Listening to the back and forth banter, she interjects. "It typically seems as though impressing an older brother is better than impressing a sister." Women being the mercurial creatures they were.

"Probably not," Douglas admits, wrinkling his nose. "It's my mum you need to impress. And without impressing my dad too much, or she'll think he's got a thing for you."

( http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/9099/lancashire-hotpot )

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