Revel in the Ribaldry 21

Due to some over-enthusiasm with the last episode, I’ve managed to get out of whack with these excerpts. So,this time I’m taking you back to the first volume – being this…

So, if you don’t mind, here is the excerpt…

Then Lionel took a sip of the steaming-hot tea. If it hadn’t been wet it would have set his bifurcated lips aflame.

“By the Great Angler’s Enormous Tit,” he bellowed, “that’s certainly cleared out both my sinuses and my cobwebbed mind!”

He then went on to explain that he’d been deep in thought. But before he could actually explain anything at all, Boney interrupted…

“It’s about the pretty lass, aint it, son?” he said – which surprised both Lionel and Boney because he was so rarely this insightful.

“Yes it is.” Lionel replied. “And it’s all to do with that day, long ago, when I arrived here.”

“Nose-surfing on an ocean of filth, I seem to recall.” Colin piped up during a break in the game for TV advertising and a desperately needed lavatory break for the players.

“That’s right.” Lionel turned to his android colleague, “And who was it that caused me to slip and fall into that vile ocean swell of slurry?”

Boney had no idea where Lionel was going with this train of thought, but he figured it best to humour the youngster, “A tractor driver, weren’t it?”

Lionel smiled. “And what happened to said tractor driver?” he inquired metaphorically.

Boney recognised the inquiry as being metaphorical because Lionel answered his own question before there was time to so much as suck a lower lip in contemplation, “He was taken to Chunderford General Hospital!”

This last point was obviously very important; but it was still early in the day, and not all of Boney’s neurons were facing the right way when they fired.

“Hmm,” he said, “nasty business. Nasty, nasty business.”

“Would that be his perforated scrotum that you’re talking about there?” inquired Colin.

“Indeed it would.” Lionel turned his attention back to Boney. “And whose teeth left those deep, painful, incisions?”

This final question stumped both flesh and blood, and non-flesh and blood hamsters alike.

Eventually Boney mumbled, “Well it was Fanangy, weren’t it? But ‘ow can that be? She was with us the ‘ole time. But she wouldn’t lie about somethin’ as important as biting down viciously on some poor unfortunate tractor driver’s ball-bag: That’s a pretty major to-do, that is. Grievous Bodily Harm at least. What d’ya reckon the answer to this conundrum is?”

“Time travel!” Lionel blurted the words more loudly than he intended to.

This was not received well by Boney: He was certain that it was a well-publicised fact that time-travel was impossible, and would remain so until the end of…er…time. The best argument against the existence of time-travel was the fact that no one had yet met someone from either the future, or the past: Ergo – time-travel was impossible. Boney said as much.

Now Lionel was quite adept at constructing illogical responses to random ephemera whilst playing his beloved computer games; and since he was rapidly becoming an expert on the television science-fiction show, Rat Trek, he thought that he could see a hole in this line of reasoning so vast that he could sail an ocean-going raft through it at top speed, with microns to spare.

“But what if they didn’t let on that they could travel in time? He said.

For a moment this fabulously reasoned argument stymied Boney. He was forced to fall back upon a stock answer to such difficult questions…

“It aint my place to think about such stuff,” He said, “Better minds than mine ‘ave got ‘emselves all tied up in a knot over simpler things than time-travel and suchlike.”

He may have got away with such a poor response just a few weeks earlier; but Lionel had gained much in mental stature, even if he hadn’t physically. So Boney was forced to retreat into his mental castle’s inner keep.

“Arse-holes,” he said as Lionel scoffed, “I’m going for a shit!”

This verbal bombshell exploded in Lionel’s lap like a packet of bursting Grainobisk Crappettes. He was stunned at his employer’s bluntness. In fact he was so stunned that he utterly failed to see either Boney make for the lavatory, or Colin quietly depart for destinations unknown. Eventually, after taking several heartbeats to recover his decorum, he elected to merely sit by himself for a while, cogitate, and sip his scalding tea until it stopped hurting.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2012

Obviously I don’t need to mention that this e-book is available on most platforms, including those mentioned on the sidebar and on Tooty’s Books Available Here beneath the header: you already know. Well if you didn’t, you do now.

 

Tooty the Chef in…How Not to Cook Paella

Long ago, shrouded in the mists of time, Tooty the Chef cooked paella. He did it properly, using Spanish ingredientes; a Spanish butano stove;  and a casual Spanish approach. It was easy for him because he lived in Spain at the time. But his miserable life has moved on. He is no longer a handsome man in  his late forties, but a bewildered old duffer in his mid-sixties. Or, to put it another way, he kind of forgot how the cook paella: but he didn’t realise the truth until he was half-way through cooking the meal. Here is the tale.

It all started when he found this paella spice in the back of his ‘international’ cupboard…

As you can see, he was thrilled at the prospect of cooking up a splodge of his favourite meal. So, once more he delved into the deepest recesses of the freezer – to find this slightly aging Bream…

The fridge assisted by offering up a rather withered pepper. Luckily it wasn’t too far gone for Tooty the Chef to use…

Although, for a while, it did resist his blunt veggie knife…

Soon some generic cheapo prawns joined the Bream…

…along with a huge chicken breast and a pair of bacon slices…

The stage was set. But then Tooty suffered a lapse. For a moment he confused what he was doing with something else completely. So instead of cooking the chicken, followed by the pepper, some frozen peas and whole beans, and the other animal products…

…he sprinkled the paella spice and an inordinate amount of pudding rice (the closest he could get to paella rice) into his rather miniscule paella dish…

…and set about cooking it in boiling water. Unfortunately, not only did he cook things in the wrong order, he also lacked a butane powered stove with a large central gas ring for cooking paella. Instead he was forced to use the largest ring on his propane powered stove, and, quite frankly, it was not a match made in Heaven. Still, needs must, and in went everything else…

…which is where Tooty came a little unstuck. No matter how much extra water he added, or how much he stirred furiously…

…the heat was too great and too concentrated to cook the rice properly. In fact it became horribly vile…

…so he transferred it to a non-stick wok. Smart move…

It was about then that he discovered that his son hadn’t eaten all the chorizo after all, so happily included what remained…

But following a tasteless taste test it became clear that the paella spice had suffered a degree of entropy and no longer tasted of much. Cue the cubes of paella spice that his subsquent hurried search discovered…

Back on track – kind of…

So, with the application of more water to satisfy the rice’s insatiable demand, the deed was finally done, and Tooty the Chef found a use for the paella dish. It made an excellent lid to keep the meal warm whilst he rushed around warming some plates and poring out the bebidas…

…though, by then he couldn’t wait…

Any drink would do, just as long as it was alcoholic and would erase the memory of a complete gastonomic cock-up. But the finished product came out looking – and tasting – just fine…

Yes, he got away with it it once again.

A few hours later Tooty the Chef took the time to look through some of his greater culinery triumphs – and discovered the following three shots…

See, he does know how to do it. He just has to be in Spain to get it right!

Fishy Goings-On with Tooty the Chef!

It was a chilly day, so whilst Tooty the Chef scoured the kitchen for culinery ideas, he decided to wear his famous brown jumper – the most seen brown jumper on the Internet. It was a wise choice of apparel because his first port of call was the bottom of the freezer…

…where he stared myopically at items that had lain there for longer than he cared to remember. But eventually two items made their presence felt…

Sea Bass and Salmon: the obvious combination. Clearly it was time for a fish pie. Cue the packet of fish pie mix!

Well, as everybody knows – even Tooty the Chef – a fish pie recipe calls for mashed potato. Cue the spuds…

…which he boiled frantically. It an act of desperate inspiration he used the steam to steam some sprouts too. Please note: only keep a cloth beside the burning gas when your potatoes spit and dribble water down the side of the saucepan in an uninterrupted manner. Any decrease of flow could result in ignition!

So, whilst all that was going on, Tooty took to relieving the fish of it’s skin…

A filthy and aromatic task, I think you’ll agree…

Thereafter he chopped them up into chunks, before putting them aside…

Then it was out with a roasting thing. Not the regular roasting thing, or it’s smaller oval buddy: but a different roasting thing all together…

…into which Tooty sliced some tomato. He then did what no chef before him has dared to do: he added the steamed Brussels sprouts to the toms. Inspired or what!

Then it was time to add some butter and salt to the boiled spuds…

…and mash like buggery…

Setting the frothy mess aside, Tooty then mixed up the sauce with some milk and added a bunch of paprika…

Doesn’t it look appealing? It looked a whole lot less appealing when he added the fish, and boiled it all for five minutes.

Then it was time to add the resulting fishy goo to the sprouts/toms duo; pile the mashed spud on top; and shove it in the oven…

This gave Tooty the opportunity to take a short break and read a chapter or two of an Earplug Adventure – using Adobe Editions of course, which is free to download from Adobe and allows the user to read epub e-books on their laptop or desktop computer…

Tooty not only marvelled at the inventive stories and witty turn of phrase, but also at the fact that the e-books are readily available at most e-book retailers, and are remarkably inexpensive – or ‘cheap’ as it is more commonly known.  And look how amused he was by their silly silicon shenanigans…

But eventually it was time to return to cheffing, and before long he brought the grill into action for the first time…

Tooty the Chef avoids grilling if he can because his propane cooker was designed by a complete shithead, and he is forced to attach this shield to stop the knobs from melting. But that didn’t stop him sprinkling some cheese on top of the pie and set it to grill itself stupid…

Having done so he then took a moment to carefully select some pleasant Marks & Spencers ginger beer…

…before fetching the fish pie from beneath the grill and carry it to the serving area…

…where, once again, the finished product was proven to be aesthetically divine in every way…

…including the sprouts…

It tasted nice too. Another triumph!

Sudden Unbearable Sadness

Like most men (and probably women too) I like to put off the house work until I can’t put it off any longer. Ironing clothes in particular. So when the kitchen table begins to bow beneath the weight of so much laundry I reach for a CD to put in my ancient (1990s) stereo – before I pull the ironing board out from the cupboard beneath the stairs and plug in the iron. Today I selected this CD…

I bought it for my late wife. I don’t know if she ever played it; but I knew I hadn’t. I figured it must be pretty good – Richard Carpenter having re-mixed his original works with new accompanyment from the Royal Philharmonic – especially if the listener likes high production values, wonderful melodies, superb chord progressions, and harmonies to die for. Of course it also included many songs that I’ve been singing along to for the past five decades, so I knew I’d like it. It was a no-brainer choice. What could go wrong? And indeed, for 99% of the CD nothing did go wrong. In fact it  made the chores an absolute delight. Then, after a couple of verses and chorus or two of the final track – ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ – with me singing along with gusto – the words to the song suddenly penetrated into my consciousness. It is a joyous song about two young people starting out their life together. It is a beautiful song with wonderful lyrics. But it was those very lyrics which cut me to the core. At first it was just for me that I felt such sudden and unbearable sadness. Then my thoughts went to all of those millions of other, older people for whom those lyrics can be so painful. To anyone who has lost the most important person in their life  -. especially in these days of Covid 19. My eyes redden and my throat constricts as I write these words. I had been singing along so merrily too. Then “So much of life ahead. We’ll find a place to grow.” And other lines: “Sharing horizons that are new to us.” And: “working together day to day”. I suddenly thought – I’ve done all that. So many of us have. Struggled to raise a family and keep a roof over our heads. Just getting through life together as a not-always-dynamic-duo, doing the best they could. I don’t suppose any of us thought about a time when we wouldn’t be sharing those horizons. That we wouldn’t be working together day to day. How many couples have planned their retirement together? How many have worked a lifetime and now ask for the reward at the end of it – only to be denied when one partner dies? Utimately the answer must be everyone. Those are the lyrics of a young person, for a young person. That beautiful song – and it is beautiful – is now torture for me. Go listen to it: I’m sure you’ll agree. But not if you’re over sixty.

Spy Shot

The place I call Home sits at the bottom of a shallow valley. So if I want to go for a nice walk in the countryside I first have to walk up hill. The same goes for cycling – which is bloody hard work. It is the reason why I bought a motorcycle. But that’s by-the-by. Recently, as I sauntered casually along a narrow path, with my dogs, at the upper edge of the hill, I chanced to notice that (from a very restricted angle) it was just possible to discern my abode from those huddled around it. So, whipping out my X50 zoom Sony, I ‘zoomed’ in on it…

Oh dear, thought I. Any ideas of nude sunbathing next Summer will have to be put on perminent hold. With a really long lens someone will be able to see my willy!

Tooty the Chef Goes Crock-Potty

In this thunderously wonderful instalment of cooking tips for those who don’t want to cook, but have to, Tooty the Chef shows you the delights of the slow cooker – or crock pot as it is sometimes known. Hence the title of this piece.

Well, naturally he went straight to rooting for inspiration through the nearest fridge…

And he came away with…

…carrots, pork, potatoes and parsnip. From the cupboard he liberated some dumpling mix – after all he’s never been one for pissing about with flour, water and suet. And why not: it could all go horribly catastrophic: it’s so much safer with packet stuff. Ditto the Moroccan casserole mix. The cous-cous is all right though: no one can go wrong  with that. So, with the ingredients carefully selected it was time to chop up the veg and hurl it into the slow cooker…

…then dice and remove the disgusting fatty bits from the pork…

…and chuck it in on top…

…quickly followed by a furious stirring action…

Tooty the Chef’s next act was to stir the spice-mix in with some cold water and pour it over the meat/veg combo…

…then put on the lid; select LOW; and go do something else – like shopping; riding his bike; visiting the lavatory; watching some TV; topping up the tyre pressures on his ancient (but one day classic) Toyota; walking the dogs; revisiting the lavatory; and a quick spot of shed-clearing. Five hours later he climbed back into his apron; put on his hat; and turned his attention to the remaining ingredients…

He was so confident that he was almost looking forward to it. He’d reasoned that surely a chef of Tooty’s standing could knock up a bowl of cous-cous, and roll out a few dumplings with one hand behind his back and the other holding his willy. Well maybe he’s not quite that talented, but he could do it with one behind his back. I’m sure of it. If he really wanted to of course.  Whatever, he read the instructions on the packet; somehow managed to create more dumplings than the instructions suggested he could; and pressed them gently into the bubbling caldron of deliciousness…

Then he took thirty minutes off to await the dumpling’s inflation…

Five minutes to go he poured the desired amount of cous-cous into a bowl and covered it with freshly boiled water. It, in turn, sucked up the water; cooked itself whilst doing so; and then enjoyed a frisking by Tooty with a fork…

Tooty the Chef then selected an apropriate drink…

Slapping the finished product on to a plate, he admired his work…

…and took a picture to prove that not everything he makes looks like it fell out the back of a commercial restaurant’s garbage truck…

Oh yeah; it tasted nice too. Not sure about the cola though. It created dumpling-flavoured burps that lasted for hours. Perhaps a red wine might have sufficed.

P.S “Why didn’t Tooty the Chef use an onion in his casserole?” I hear you say. Well there’s a good reason for the onion’s omission: you can’t share the left-overs with your dog if it has onion in it. Onion and dogs are mutually exclusive. Something in it wrecks dog’s livers – or kidneys, I can never remember which. Maybe both. Anyway, it’s not good for them.

 

 

 

Tooty the Chef Gets All Iberian

Now, you may have noticed (what appears to be) a typo in the title.

“Tooty the Chef?” I hear your baffled tone. “Where’s our Chef Tooty gone?”

Well I’ll tell you. Being an egotist of vast proportions, he Googled himself – only to discover that there is another Chef Tooty. A proper Chef Tooty. A Chef Tooty who doesn’t cut corners and boil things to destruction. A Chef Tooty who cooks for people who enjoy cooking. A Chef Tooty who is prepared to piss about making fancy sauces, and who wouldn’t touch a jar of pasta sauce if you threatened to disembowel him/her. So, with ego duly deflated, the Chef formerly known as Chef Tooty felt constrained to alter his moniker. Hence Tooty the Chef. It’s not the same; but it isn’t really different either. So, explanation complete, it’s on with another recipe for people who would prefer to buy out, but can’t afford to do so on a perminent basis.

Tooty the Chef was rummaging about in his ‘International’ cupboard recently, and discovered this…

“Perfecto.” He uttered when he noted that the product was a Spanish form of stock cube intended for use with lentils. “I can add this to some baked beans!”

He was thrilled further to discover some spuds in the second fridge..

So, as inspiration struck like a meteorite from the depths of space, he dragged all of these from their respective gastronomic domiciles…

Front row from left to right; bacon, toms, eggs.

Second row from left to right; spuds, stock cube.

Back row from left to right; chips spice, paprika, garlic granules, baked beans, spicy baked beans with chorizo.

He would have used two beans with chorizo, but they only had one can in the cheap bin at Sainsbury’s, so he had to improvise. Hence the use of the Avecrem stuff. So then he chopped up the spuds as though he was going to make Patatas Bravas…

…and lobbed them into some boiling water, and wound up the heat…

It didn’t take long for them to go soft, so it was quickly out of the water and on to the perforated French Fries cooking thing, where he sprayed them with garlic infused olive oil…

And, of course, some garlic granules…

Despite his prodigous use of saucepan lids to keep down the steam, sometimes the contents of spice jars still become solidified. So it was in with the knife and a quick wiggle on the chips spice and paprika…

Here’s a tip from Tooty the Chef that should always be remembered. Waggling a knife inside a jar doesn’t always work that well; so tip the loosened contents into your hand before sprinkling. Like so…

See, he does know what he’s taking about after all. And just to prove it – here’s what the spud lumps ended up looking like…

What Tooty the Chef should have done at this juncture was place the chopped spuds into the oven thus…

But what he actually did was slice the toms and place them beside the bacon on a second tray…

Sadly he placed them into the oven at the same time as the spud chunks. Bad move. Should have put the spuds in five or ten minutes earlier, which just goes to show that even gastronomic genii can make culinary errors. But, unlike sixty-five million years ago, it wasn’t the end of the world. But it was time to transform the Spanish stock cube into a sauce, which only required the addition of boiling water a good old fashioned stir…

Please note: you don’t have to pretend to be French to make a sauce: anyone from anywhere can do it. Even Namibia.

Naturally this was added to spice up the baked beans – to which the spicy beans with chorizo was also added. Then came the egg-frying part of the recipe…

…which Tooty the Chef juggled perfectly with the stirring of the beans…

You may have noted that one of the eggs broke when dropped into the hot olive oil. Normally this sort of behaviour would not be tolerated by a chef of such high standards, like wot Tooty the Chef is; but on this occaision it didn’t matter one jot. And here’s the reason why…

As you can probably see, the psuedo-patatas bravas don’t look particularly over-cooked. That is because they are not. Sadly the toms and bacon were on the verge of self-destructing in the oven, so the wise and wonderful chef called time on them. The only-just-cooked spuds went into a dry pre-heated wok on a low setting. The toms, bacon, and eggs were then shredded…

…and added to the spuds…

…where they were folded in. Note the word ‘folded’. They were not stirred; that would have wrecked the eggs and made it all appear like another of his vomit-look-alikes. Then, whilst the conglomeration of yumminess sizzled for a minute, Tooty the Chef selected the dregs of the rhubarb squash that had been sitting in the cupboard since early Summer…

…and added it to some lemonade. A perfect partner for this…

Not too bad, huh? next time, though, he’ll use the beans as a bed, and lay the other stuff on top. But, all in all, very scrumptious – though probably not terribly Iberian.

Revel in the Ribaldry 20

That last excerpt from The Abduction of Wetpatch Wilson was so divine that I thought I’d include an extra one. And here it is…

Only the Saint of All Hamsters knows how many slimy tunnels that the delightful Sprightly was led down by the floundering Wetpatch Wilson. Wetpatch certainly didn’t. He’d given up counting almost straight away, and even the normally observant field mouse had retreated into a world of her own. So when they literally stumbled upon a gang of huge mutant woodlice – each emblazoned with rather faded examples of the emblem of the Crustacean Collective upon their tough, segmented carapaces – both rodents were very surprised. Wetpatch was well aware that woodlice couldn’t speak – even huge mutant ones – but he was reasonably well-versed in the semaphore language of the local woodlice that lived amongst the rotting mushrooms and other disgusting detritus of Hamster Heath’s famous Danglydong Dell. So, despite being an insolent youth, he attempted to convey his thoughts in the time honoured fashion of sign language.

“Hello.” He said by waving his paws above his head in much the same manner that woodlice use their antennae to communicate. “Can you show me the way to the Federation Council?”

Unfortunately the mutant woodlice that lived within a vast series of tunnels that had been burrowed into a submarine mountain didn’t speak Danglydong Dellish. All they read was, “Herpes. I’d like to show you something that bounces.”

Well naturally, having little contact with mammals, the woodlice had no conception of herpes. But the idea that there were things that bounced intrigued them.

“Show us. Show us, oh damp furry thing.” Their leader implored, “Bouncing things are simply marvellous.”

Unfortunately Wetpatch read this as, “Bow to us. Bow to us, you damned flaccid thing. Dancing will sting my mother’s anus.”

Wetpatch looked to Sprightly for help. Fortunately, being a servant of the Federation, she recognised the creatures for what they were – terrestrial woodlice that had been deliberately bio-engineered for use as construction workers in areas that were too hazardous for both mammals and water-dwelling crustaceans. She had instinctively spoken fluent mutant woodlouse since the day when she bounced upon the knee of her lesbian aunt – the strange Uncle Daphne – and now turned that talent to good use. So in order to placate them she picked Wetpatch up and shook him so violently that his swollen testes bounced with sufficient vigour to satisfy the woodlouse leader’s request, and added “There, was that what you wanted?”

“That was lovely.” The leader woodlouse signed. “Thank you vastly. How can we repay you for such intense entertainment and a profound sense of fulfilment?”

“Well what we’d really like,” Sprightly signed carefully lest a stray finger might suggest that she wished to procreate, “is to be taken to the Head Council Member with almost infinite alacrity.”

To her surprise Sprightly watched as the entire group of mutant woodlice bristled angrily. “Have I said something out of place?” She enquired.

Then, to her dismay, she watched the lead wood louse as it signed, “Sorry, no-can-do. Think of something else.”

“I can’t think of anything else.” Sprightly complained. “We’ve come here on a mission to save the Crustacean Collective from tearing itself apart with petty rivalries and stupid empire building. Why can’t you take us to the council, you foul multi-legged abominations?”

“Because we’re runaways.” The leader replied in an agitated manner that made his antennae difficult to read. “We don’t work for the lobsters no more. We work for ourselves now. We’re building our own empire. It’s not very big yet: But you know what they say – from substantial tubas giant rhubarb trees grow. Not that any of us have seen a real rhubarb tree of course: But we’ve felt the Braille descriptions, and they seem majestic and desperately moist.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Like I’ve mentioned countless times previously, this magnificent e-book remains available at most e-book retailers (including the one of your choice), despite the fact that, in seven years, not one bloody copy has sold. Please do something to recify this desperately unfair situation!

Revel in the Ribaldry 19

Revel on the Ribaldry 18 featured an extract from The Psychic Historian. So, mathematically the next extract should come from this less-than-successful e-book…

And so it does – purely at random too…

Cecil staggered aboard the Disemboweller upon unsteady legs. He took a moment to check fore and aft to see if he’d left anybody upon deck; threw up over the side; then dropped into the conning tower, and sealed the hatch shut behind him.

In their tiny submarine that was parked directly astern of the huge former-pirate vessel, Tutu and Gloria sighed with relief. Finally they were about to get underway.

“Now am I right in thinking that Cecil understands about the Z-Drive?” Gloria asked over Tutu’s shoulder from her position upon the spectacularly embroidered pillion seat. “I mean – he does realise that the field that we generate might not encompass his entire vessel, and that it may be torn to pieces by seismic sheer, or whatever the computer called it?”

“I imagine so.” Tutu replied coolly.

Actually Tutu was having second thoughts about taking the Disemboweller along. His original plan was to find the Bargebutt – which he was certain would be desperately damaged by the exploding volcano, and utterly unserviceable – and carry everyone to safety aboard the pirate ship. But now that he’d had time to consider his plan, he now thought that it might be total cak.

“My plan is total cak.” He verbalised his thoughts. “The Disemboweller is a rust-bucket, and Cecil Seasalt is a drunken tit. What was I thinking? The mission is clearly doomed from the start. We might as well give up now, and go live in the woods.”

Naturally Gloria blamed herself. Her beauty had obviously dazzled Tutu into a state of intense ‘thickicity’ and ‘twat-ness’. Due to the unexpected sight of her scanty bikini, he’d obviously lost his power of proper reason, and only now was he really showing signs of recovery. She cursed her genes. Then she cursed her skin-tight denim jeans, because they were giving her a right royal ‘wedgie’, and she wasn’t enjoying it.

Then the computer said, “Engaging Z-Drive.” And it didn’t matter anymore: Gloria was screaming too loudly in fear to worry about chafed labia majora.

Quite how the computer knew where to point the two vessels as they transited null-space no one knew: But one moment they were bobbing up and down alongside the quay at Chunderland – the next they were bobbing up and down somewhere else entirely. Although inebriated Captain Seasalt grabbed the periscope and turned it through three hundred and sixty degrees. He was greatly relieved to find that the submarine had remained intact, and that none of it was now slipping forlornly to a watery grave upon the seabed immediately alongside the quay in Chunderland harbour.

“Any idea where we are?” He asked of the navigator – Gustav Grossemember.

“Nein.” The former pirate and rock group roadie replied. “One sea is looking much like another to me. I am usually navigating by chasing smaller vessels, capturing their crew, and asking the way.”

Cecil nodded: It was good system: Certainly he would have employed it – had he ever been a pirate of course. “Not much help to us here though, is it?” He responded in a most ‘captainly’ way.

“Sorry; Kapitan.” Gustav looked down at his huge feet in shame. Then a thought occurred, “Hey, maybe those two on the really titchy submarine are knowing.”

Cecil nodded again, but wished that he hadn’t. Unfortunately his sea legs appeared to have remained back in his office in Chunderland, and it made him feel decidedly nauseous. “Yes.” He said, “Pop across and find out, will you?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Okay, this book isn’t the great work that the 3rd book in the Hamster-Sapiens series is; but it isn’t total ‘cak’ either. How about you break it’s duck and go purchase a copy. The Lulu logo on the sidebar will take you to the publishers. Or, alternatively, click on one of the book covers (also on the sidebar) and you can get it for your Kobo, Nook, or Kindle. Doesn’t that sound like a really good idea? iBooks also sell it. And others too numerous to mention. 

Chef Tooty and The Dissenting Voice

Chef Tooty…

Every day millions of fans write in to thank Chef Tooty for his wonderful cookery tips – particularly fans who hate cooking, but have to because no one else in the house/apartment/pension/galley will – the idle, lazy, bastards. Some tell him how his techniques helped save their marriage. Others remark upon how much their dogs enjoyed the leftovers. And a few mention the fact that his meals taste almost as good coming up as they did going down. We don’t quite understand that last remark, but we’re confident that it’s meant in a complimentary fashion. But, every once in a while, a non-fan writes in to complain. Some have gone so far as to suggest that Chef Tooty isn’t very good at cooking. LOL. A very small minority cast aspertions in his direction. The word ‘Shit’ was mentioned more than once or twice.  But one letter, in particular, caught our attention. We shall quote from it…

“I don’t know what all the fuss is about. That Chef Tooty is a charlatan. He couldn’t cook his way out of a tool-roll. Almost all his meals look like vomit. I cannot understand why everyone thinks he is so fabulous. Anyone would think that the sun shines out of his arse-hole.”

Well, say we in response to this, it’s strange you should mention that. Because, only the other night, Chef Tooty felt the need to do a spot of midnight cheffing. He didn’t want to disturb anyone, so he didn’t bother turning on the lights. This is what the security camera caught…

Clearly his fans think correctly.

Easy-Peasy Cooking with Chef Tooty

Chef Tooty: he who gives tips to reluctant cooks who only cook because they have to. Today a quick and easy knock-up – Tuna Pasta Bake!

For a Tuna Pasta Bake Chef Tooty recommends these items…

…and, of course, some pasta – but not the toaster: that only appears in shot by accident. To begin with, our resident gastronomic giant threw some pasta in a saucepan – on top of a sprinkling of olive oil, which he swears  stops the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Then he added some boiling water and set it going…

Note how he placed a lid upon the saucepan. Yes, that’s right: it means that  the gas can be turned down, and the clean clothes on the dryer in the corner of the kitchen…

…don’t get pleasantly steamed and made soggy again.

About ten minutes in, he repeated the act (minus the oil) with some peas and sweetcorn…

Then, when he judged the pasta to be perfectly done, he strained it and lobbed it into the famous Roasting Thing…

Please note how not a single dollop of pasta has adhered to the bottom of his pan. One fancy chef, I think you’ll agree…

Then it was repeat time with the veggies…

Yes, I know that’s an awful lot of steam; but (like rushing off to the toilet) some things can’t be avoided. Once his glasses had lost their misty veneer, Chef Tooty took on the most dangerous procedure: the opening of the tuna can…

Oil/spring water could have gone everywhere. Fortunately Chef Tooty has a high tolerence to squirty cans, so it wasn’t long before he was depositing the contents onto the pasta/veggies amalgum..

This was quickly followed by the contents of the tuna pasta bake sauce jar, which, as you can probably imagine, is the mainstay of most great chefs…

Naturally a hearty stir followed…

… which itself was followed by the mandatory sprinkling of grated cheese – before being deposited into a pre-heated oven, which (on a rare occasion) wasn’t quite maxxed-out…

…for approximately ten-or-so minutes. Well long enough for a quick trip to the loo, a moment of relaxation, and a congratulatory chocolate chip cookie…

Then it was back to retrieve the finished product before incineration commenced…

Yummy – or what?  For an accompanying drink Chef Tooty eschewed the contents of the bodega this time, and instead selected some lovely…

…sugar-free strawberry and watermelon Tango. Perfecto! Who would have thought of that? Such class.

 

 

Photography as a Coping Mechanism

I was well aware that my wife’s death was imminent: it was a long time coming. But when, that September morning, I walked into our room, and checked for (but failed to find) any sign of breathing, it still came as a devastating surprise to me. At any time leading up to that moment the scenario had always remained hypothetical – even to her, despite it’s absolute certainty. Now ‘The Event‘, as my Son had labelled it only a day earlier, had occured. Not being a complete dunderhead, my higher functions took over and I took care of the situation. Her Doctor had been expecting the call, and came round the house as quickly as she could. She, in turn, had called others, and by the time she arrived, so had personnel from the three agencies that had been caring for her. Then, having called a funeral director, I finally took a moment for myself. As the Doctor was making Linzi’s passing official, I took a few moments for myself. My Fujifilm Finepix SL300 lay upon the kitchen table; so, taking it with me, I went into our sunny garden to take a picture of something with which I could associate my beloved wife. I took this  photo of some berries…

The reason that I mention this now (November) – two months later – is because (at that time) I needed to share my very raw grief with the world, and so posted the photo on Flickr. Tonight, whilst perusing my portfolio of shots on that platform, I stumbled upon it. Because she had planted the bush upon which these berries grew, I had dedicated it to Linzi. So now, as Autumn looks towards Winter, and the berries have been eaten by the wild birds that Linzi had planned to feed, I re-dedicate this picture to her. I titled it ‘Life Continues’.

End-of-the-Week Cookery Needs Adaptability – with Chef Tooty

First up has nothing to do with End-of-the-Week cooking – in which Chef Tooty uses up what’s left in the kitchen cupboards. Nope: first he’d like to share with you his latest cheffery gear. Yes, it’s…

…Mr Spock socks, with sticky-out ears!  Aren’t they lovely? You may loath cooking; but of you’re anything like him and have to do it anyway (because no one else in the house either can or will) it’s advisable, at the very least, to appear sartorially elegant, like wot he does.

Well, for this end-of the-week Chef Tooty took to poking around the kitchen in search of inspiration from his depleted stores. As usual he found these…

“Courgette and Potato? Wheeee!”

And, unsurprisingly, he discovered even more fish in the bottom of the freezer…

“Ooh, and only seven months old. Practically brand new.”

Of course, from these constituent parts, there could only be one result…

Double haddock dolphin nose! So, without taking a moment to consider what he was about to do, Chef Tooty cut the courgettes into large lumps…

…and the potato into much thinner slices. This made sense to him because, as every famous chef – even if they’re crap – knows that courgette cooks more quickly than potato…

Then our favourite kitchen genius popped out his Roasting Thing, into which he poured some olive oil. He then laid some of the potato slices in it. Unfortunately the courgette lumps proved too tall to fit inside the rim of the Roasting Thing, so Chef Tooty showed his innate adaptability and sliced them in half…

That adaptability displayed itself once more when he realised that his Roasting Thing was too small. So it was out with small: and in with the big…

 

With so much room available, he had no problem whatsoever flopping the vile-smelling haddock – both smoked and unsmoked – on top of the courgettes…

The final layer of spuds quickly followed, which was when he realised that he had peeled one potato too many. So, being an adaptive kinda guy, Chef Tooty plonked it in a Tupperware tub with some water to stop it going brown, and placed it in the fridge for another day…

You know what they say: “Waste Not: Want Not.” And it’s true. Chef Tooty wastes almost nothing; and wants a Yamaha MT-03! Hopefully problem solved. Anyway then it was a case of adding the dolphin nose powder to some milk and boiling it insanely for much longer than it says on the packet. Chef Tooty particularly hates this procedure because it takes a lot of time, and he doesn’t enjoy an over-abundance of patience. But, finally, when the ghastly deed was done, he poured it all over the stuff in the Roasting Thing and shoved into a pre-heated oven at max. Is there any other setting beside Max? I think not. An hour later he took it out, marvelled at the resulting product’s beauty, and  sprinkled some grated mozzarella and cheddar liberally on top…

Another fifteen minutes in the oven (which probably should have been five) later…

Well bugger me – he’s done it again. And five minutes to spare! Time to break out the Cruset and R Whites lemonade…

…and toast another splodge of extremely tasty cat sick…

P.S The burnt-on bits at the bottom are excellent for adding to your dog’s dinner. They’ll thank you for it. Remember: waste not; want not.

 

 

Make of This What You Will

During the weeks since my wife passed over, there have been occaisionally hints that she is still around. The first came on the day of her death. Our dogs…

…had kept a vigil beside her bed until eventually driven out by all the care and health workers who attended to her night and day. They moved to the top of the stairs, where they could keep an eye on her. But upon her passing they returned to their beds in the living room. Then, in the early evening they suddenly galloped up the stairs; rushed into the room; stood upon their back legs, and took turns to study her lifeless face. Apparently satisfied with what they saw, they returned downstairs and have never returned. Both are perfectly happy – which suggests to me that they are aware of her presence in the house and feel no loss. They were  devoted to her – their favourite human – but neither has pined in the least. But, more impressively, on the same day (and half-way into the following day too), my daughter (who has speech and language problems amongst her multifarious woes) abruptly expanded her vocabulary by something in the order of a thousand percent; began speaking clearly and concisely; and eased my burden by giving advice on subjects that hitherto she knew next-to-nothing – including financial. When, a couple of weeks later, I mentioned this to her, she had no memory at all of that time period. Another example came a few days later, at a time when I was feeling desperately low. I was awoken one morning by a kiss upon my forehead. I was alone, so knew exactly who it was, and felt much better for the rest of the day. Then (so I’m told, because I didn’t witness this myself) on the day of her funeral she took another opportunity display her talents.  As my son, daughter and I were about to leave for the crematorium, I felt a sudden need to return to our bedroom and pick up the solar-powered Hula Girl that danced happily in the sunshine during my wife’s  final weeks. ‘She’ looked exactly like this…

Prior to the service, I had the Funeral Director place Hula Girl upon her casket. Thoughtfully he noticed a beam of sunlight striking the casket lid, so placed Hula Girl in it – where she shimmied throughout proceedings. As a cheerfull way to end the service, the Celebrant suggested an up-beat song that reflected Linzi’s chosen profession – a song about a dancer of course. I agreed to Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. I’m told that no sooner did the latin beat begin, Hula Girl’s gentle shimmy transformed into a manic dance. “She went crazy.” is how it was described. And those who saw it were left in no doubt who was responsible. If I had seen it myself, I probably wouldn’t have sent Hula Girl into the furnace with the casket. When I learned this, I immediately bought a replacement Hula Girl. She had to be identical. When she arrived in the post I placed her beneath a table lamp, where she began to shimmy. Then, to my Echo Dot I said: “Alexa: play Copacabana by Barry Manilow.” But I took what happened next as an etheral slap on the wrist. As the music struck up, instead of going bananas, Hula Girl stopped abruptly, and refused to move. I understood in a second, and so stopped the music. We, the living, cannot and should not influence those on ‘the other side’.  But it didn’t put her off me. Recently I awoke to the smell of her favourite Ellie Saab perfume. Then this morning (12/Nov/2020) something quite remarkable happened. At around six in the morning I was apparently awoken by her voice as she read something to me – as she often did, even if I wasn’t much interested. When I rolled over and opened my eyes I became aware of two things: daylight entered the room through open curtains: and Linzi was propped up upon her pillows and reading from (I presumed) her iPad. I had to speak her name three times before she heard me and stopped talking. Reason took over. Linzi’s remains were in a small box in the living room: this had to be a dream.  But that didn’t stop me from asking her: “Is this real? Is this real?” As if in reply, I woke up properly. It was six in the morning: it was only half-light – some of which entered the room through a central gap in the curtains, which, for some reason, since her death, I must have. It’s silly, but I get scared without it. But, by that light, I saw her – still seated beside me. She looked directly at me; leaned forward quickly; and kissed me gently upon the lips. Then, as I stared in hope and disbelief, she simply faded away – revealing the curtains that she had obscured only a moment before.  “Damn”. I snapped in frustration. For a moment she had been tangible. She had existed there, beside me. But, for whatever reason, she couldn’t stay. I couldn’t ask or tell her anything. But she knows I love her; and she obviously still loves me. And despite my tears as I write this, I’ve had a wonderful day. And I wonder what her next trick will be. I just hope that wasn’t a swansong.I don’t think so. She’ll be back. Time means nothing over there.

P.S I suppose it’s no surprise that she didn’t look old or haggard in my vision. Age and infirmity clearly have no place over there either. Of course I have no photo that can match what I saw this morning; but this one comes as close as any…

Any thoughts?

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 18

So, in an effort to maintain continuity, prepare yourself for an excerpt from this magnificent piece of hamster fiction…

…which, as you probably already know, is the greatest hamster book ever written – even if I do say so myself. Selecting an excerpt at total random has produced the following. Please enjoy…

Soon the weeks passed, and Missus Dazzlepaint quickly learned the routine of visiting multifarious communities of desert-dwellers, and making everyone feel much better about themselves. Then one day they discovered that the road upon which they travelled approached the city of Al Kaboom.

Naturally Missus Dazzlepaint was reticent to enter the city from which she had been so forcefully ejected. She said as much – in such a vociferous manner that Missus Nozzlejet blanched, and Missus Muzzleflash covered her ears and began to sing a tuneless song very loudly indeed. But she needn’t have worried – because just as their stag beetles began pulling the caravan in a crawling advance towards the main gate – a vast metal sailing vessel materialised out of thin air, and came crashing down to earth right in front of them. The materialisation of an advanced vessel within range of the city’s defensive archers was normally enough to start an all-out war; but before the inhabitants of Al Kaboom could react, large portals were opening in the sides of the vast vessel, from which a host of armed and armoured cavies disgorged. They were through the main gate before anyone could say much more than “You what?” and the city had fallen before its inhabitants even knew that it was under attack.

Hidden in the shadow of the huge sea-going craft, the Trinity’s caravan became almost invisible. Consequently no one bothered to investigate them, and they found themselves free to do some investigation of their own. Creeping about in night-black underwear, and smothered in their own concoctions that rendered them aroma-less, they slipped into the city – only to be amazed at the sight of sentient cavies everywhere.

“They must be demons from hell.” Missus Nozzlejet opined intelligently.

“Or creatures from another world, where cavies aren’t dull-minded beasts of the field.” Missus Muzzleflash suggested in a moment of inspiration.

But Missus Dazzlepaint made the most accurate appraisal of the situation.

“They must be mutations from an alternate universe.” She said adamantly. “Someone, or some thing, has created them. Presumably whomever, or whatever it was – was then overthrown by his/her/its creations, and they subsequently commandeered a vessel with inter-dimensional capabilities.”

Missus Nozzlejet nodded in agreement. “With new-found intellect, and a superior technology, it must be as easy as pie for them to run roughshod over any number of inferior civilisations, and possibly enslave them.”

“A piece of piss.” Missus Muzzleflash confirmed her friend’s hypothesis.

“What can we do about it?” Missus Dazzlepaint rolled up her sleeves preparatory to combat.

“We?” Missus Nozzlejet replied, “Nothing, dear. But you most certainly can.”

Missus Nozzlejet then outlined a plan that was so audacious and unbelievable in its simplicity that it wasn’t just bound to succeed: It would become the stuff of legend.

The next day Missus Dazzlepaint slipped unseen into her old apartment in Al Kaboom. She was grateful that no one had replaced the lock or had moved another tenant in: She had  no wish to utilise her karate skills upon some poor unfortunate who just happened to get in her way. Crouching behind the balustrade of her former balcony she took out her charcoal and papyrus, and settled down to draw.

The day after that two burly cavy guards escorted Missus Dazzlepaint into the presence of their leader – Lord Mutor the Mutant Cavy.

“So, inferior gerbil-being, what’s got you so fired up that you just had to come visit?” The mutant cavy boomed in a most mutated manner that fairly shook plaster from the walls of the Sultan’s palace, and made the massive throne’s gold leaf pucker and curl.

“These.” Missus Dazzlepaint replied as she withdrew a sheaf of papers from a satchel that bounced lazily upon her hip. She handed them to the self-imposed new Sultan.

To say that Mutor’s eyes bulged so alarmingly that it looked like his head was about to explode would do his appearance an injustice. Beneath his dense facial fur the skin turned red, and super-heated steam could be detected escaping from his anus.

“What is this supposed to mean?” He inquired as his index claw drew Missus Dazzlepaint’s attention to a charcoal drawing of a naked cavy as he lowered himself into the stench pit. “My gonads are far larger than this artist’s impression suggests. Correct it – or I’ll have you eaten.

“I only draw what I see.” Missus Dazzlepaint remained calm in the face of death, “I could no more alter that drawing than I could stride purposefully across the desert with my knickers ‘round my ankles. And that’s only a copy anyway.”

Lord Mutor started at this information. “Whatta ya mean – a copy?”

Missus Dazzlepaint raised her snout deliberately until her eyes were locked with those of the super-intelligent cavy. “You’re a super-intelligent cavy.” She snorted, “You work it out.”

Well, if nothing else, Lord Mutor was a super-intelligent cavy – due in no small part to genetic experimentation carried out upon him by an earlier version of his dimension’s equivalent of Professor Desmond Squealch – and could extrapolate significant ramifications with only the merest hint of data.

“Where are they? The other copies I mean.” He demanded, “Speak – or I’ll eat you myself – and I’m normally into herbaceous borders.”

“Wherever you’ve stationed your troops.” Missus Dazzlepaint replied calmly. “I am a master potionist as well as being an absolute whiz with the charcoal and papyrus. Disguising myself with various potions that have been created to confuse and mind-boggle, I have infiltrated to the very core of your mobile empire. There I have secreted facsimiles of this charcoal misrepresentation: At an appointed hour they will become visible. When they do – your empire will implode.”

“It’s not a foregone conclusion.” Mutor sounded defensive.

“I think it is.” Missus Dazzlepaint retained her cool demeanour, “What cavy army would follow a leader whose private parts were so shrunken and insignificant? I’ll tell ya: None.”

Mutor could find no reasonable counter-argument, so he said, “Ah, but they’d know the truth when I got out my personal protuberance and associated doo-dahs, and showed them!”

Missus Dazzlepaint merely smiled wanly at this. “Do you really think that would work? Would they really follow Mutor the Exhibitionist? I don’t think so. Or Flasher Mutor. Perhaps they might consider obeying the commands of Mutor the Insecure: But not for long, and with little enthusiasm. Face it, Mutor, your days of ruling Al Kaboom are over.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

You know, it’s been too long: I really should try writing another of these Hamster-Sapiens books. But until I do, this (and the other e-books in the series) remains available to all and sundry. Check out the book covers and the Lulu logo on the sidebar to access them. Really, it’s a good idea.

 

Chef Tooty in…High-Speed Cheffing!

A hardened end-of-the-week produce chef must often ponder what he or she is going to do with the paltry remains of the week’s shop in the kitchen larder. It’s a task to test the Devil himself, I can tell you. But once the chef has found a degree of inspiration, how is he or she going to actually cook it? Ponder, ponder, ponder…

On this particular occaision, Chef Tooty discovered that he had a number of sweet potatoes in the fridge…

“Hmmm,” he thought, “I feel a blaze of brilliance about to erupt inside my ageing, but still fertile mind. I can add these to the couple of ordinary spuds.”

But, of course, a few potatoes does not a gastronomic delight make. He needed something extra-special. Needless to say he found it in the bottom of the freezer. And it was only thirteen months old!

“Perfecto!” He bellowed. “All I need is some sauce or other.”

Lo and behold, on the top shelf, at the back of the cupboard, hid this…

A generic white sauce and some black pepper. More than enough for a foodilicious genius like wot Chef Tooty is. Then he noticed the time.

“Shit!” He roared, before adding “I have to be in the next town in thirty minutes, and it’ll take fifteen of them to get there!”

So, before he had time to cast aside his kitchen wear, he shifted into panic preparation mode…

In next to no time he’d spread a layer of olive oil in his famous roasting thing; peeled and sliced the regular potatoes and laid them on to the oil; removed the skin from two salmon fillets; likewise two trout fillets; sliced them into vaguely goujon-like shapes; laid them upon the spud layer with some sliced peppers; then peeled and sliced the sweet potatoes – laying them on top of the fish / peppers combo – followed by a generous sprinkling of black pepper. There was no time for fancy measuring out of the white sauce granules: he simply emptied the contents into a jug and kept stirring and pouring in boiling water until there was a lot of it and it was moderately runny. Then it was pour it over the ingredients time; slam it all into the oven; jump into some trousers; grab his wallet and car keys and be out the door with zero seconds to spare. An hour and a quarter later he returned to sprinkle some grated cheese on top of the nicely bubbling manifestation of the culinery art; warm some plates; pour out a glass of ginger mulled wine and Sprite; and present the world with this…

Actually he was so pleased with the result that he’d like to present it twice…in a more Parisian style…

“Et voila!”

And, bugger me, it was nice! His best yet.

Chef Tooty: Suitably Attired

Every day millions of fans write in to complain that Chef Tooty isn’t suitably attired for his primary role. When this point of view was put to the great gastronome his reaction was swift and telling. He didn’t complain or fly into a rage. He didn’t even break wind with fury. He simply went straight on to E-Bay and did this…

No, I don’t mean he cooked up some minced beef for his dogs: I mean he bought a chef’s hat and apron. And very nice they look too – perfectly matching the ex-German Army shirt that he’s wearing in the photo. Of course, suitably attired, he set to work – quickly running off this fry-up…

…which is actually not quite what it appears. The chips were not fried, but cooked in the oven. Likewise the bacon and tomatoes at the same time – thus saving gas, money, and (fractionally) the environment. Only the eggs were fried – in olive oil naturally. So, as you can plainly see, now that Chef Tooty is in full possession of the acoutrements of chef-dom, he can take it to the next level. But, oh dear, I think Chef Tooty will need to return to the Internet: he’s clearly forgotten to order some chef’s trousers!

Oh well, you can’t win ’em all.

Chef Tooty Does the Unthinkable!

Yes, Chef Tooty has done the unthinkable. Not only did his motorcycle boots and his Captain Kirk outfit remain inside his bedroom: not only (in an unprecedented display of modesty) did he leave his cacks covering his slight but pleasantly pliable buttocks: and not only did he not bother to adorn his virile frame with his famed Waitrose Christmas apron – either green or red: but he actually took some care and paid full attention when cooking a meal. By that I mean he didn’t short-cut like the sloppy git he is normally: he spent a proper amount of time preparing and cooking. A full one and three-quarter hours to be exact. Unfortunately so pre-occupied was he with doing things right that he forgot completely to pick up the camera that lay quiescent upon the kitchen table. So, only as the God of Gastronomic Success blew the metaphorical horns of triumph in a silent fanfare, did he remember to pick it up; turn it on; and point it at the finished product…

 

 

 

Nice – isn’t it!

But, rest assured, next time he cooks this particular meal, he’ll remember, and he’ll share his fabulous techniques with all you guys and gals who hate cooking, but have to because no one else will.

 

P.S If you’re wondering, it was Dolphin Nose with Chicken Goujons  a la Ras El Hanout, with Bussels Sprouts.