2 FEBRUARY 2002, Page 59

Q. I have recently reverted to bachelor status, and have

been fortunate enough to find spacious accommodation on the top floor of a house owned by an elderly female friend. The only problem is that my 'landlady' has failed to provide me with any cooking facilities other than a kettle. She boasts of being 'neurotic about fire hazards' and will not even allow a microwave. She invites me either to eat out or join her for hot meals. The price here suits my pocket,

Mary. How can I get round this difficulty without upsetting my old friend?

S.P., Hampton Court, Middlesex A. Buy a second kettle in which to cook boiled eggs. Couscous with miso can be done out of a kettle and makes a more or less acceptable dish when supplemented with tahini and tomatoes. For more substantial fare, why not take a tip from the late Jill Craigie and bring a salmon steak up to readiness for consumption simply by ironing it?