AS PART of my lockdown life, I decided to learn how to make pasta. I know. Reader, my wife married him. In mitigation, I bake my own bread and so this seemed the next logical step.

When all of this kicked off, I had been away teaching in Spain. By the time I got back, the stockpilers had already cleared the supermarkets of anything pasta related.

I spent my first couple of evenings home trying to find the last few packets of pasta left in the country. Who knew black squid ink pasta was a thing? What I did know was that my children wouldn’t touch it with a social distancing bargepole. And so I bought a pasta maker and some flour instead.

I watched Jamie Oliver’s new programme, the one where he promised to make magic from the dusty jars and spices in the back of the store cupboard. Anyone can make pasta, Jamie enthused.

You just need a bit of flour, a splash of water and some bish bash bosh. A writer friend of mine followed his instructions, ending up with something she described as solid, slimy and one of the most disgusting things she’d ever eaten.

No matter. I was feeling confident because I had the right flour – ‘00’ status, which I hoped didn’t mean it had a license to kill.

I’d also found an instructor online, a wizened old Italian guru who said to use eggs rather than water. What’s more, he told me to swap out Jamie Oliver’s bish bash bosh for infusing the pasta with ‘love and passion’.

Swiss Toni from The Fast Show popped into my mind as well. But I followed his instructions and produced a surprisingly similar yellow ball of dough to the one he was holding up to the camera.

I wound it through the pasta maker, stretching the ball out into a long, thin, flexible sheet.

This I then fed through the cutting attachment where it transformed into recognisable strands of spaghetti. Maybe I was some sort of culinary Casanova after all.

Later that afternoon, I went back to the kitchen to finish supper. Life felt good. My children were excited about having pasta for the first time in weeks.

My wife seemed to be treating me with, if not a renewed respect, then slightly less disdain than normal. But as I picked up the bowl to cook the pasta, I realised that something had changed.

My love- infused strings of pasta had mutated. They had fused themselves back together into a solid lump of dough. Solid and slimy, I could hear my writer friend.

‘I’ve think they’ve got pasta back in the supermarket now,’ my wife quietly suggested.