Tag Archives: cooking tips

Tooty the Chef in ‘Parsliotto!’

Tooty the Chef – when it comes to creating dishes – has been known to push the boundries of both his experience and his luck. Recently he decided that since everything else he has attempted ended in triumph and culinery glory, and also that the cupboard contained three packets of out-of-date arborio rice and the dregs of some Polish dried onions, he’d give Risotto a bash…

But when he looked in a cookery book for some rough guidence, he didn’t like what he saw…

So he put the book back from whence he discovered it…

…and decided to do it ‘his way’. In an aside, does anyone recognise this cupboard? If you’ve been reading Haunted Mars, you should. Look, it’s…

…part of Chef, Charles Du Glop’s Martian kitchen! But that’s by-the-by: on with the show. Well that self-same cupboard also contained this…

A rice cooker. Tooty the Chef is a big fan of rice cookers. He likes them so much that he keeps a spare in the attic. Never be without a rice cooker, that’s what he says. But before he set the wonder-device into operation, he sliced some chicken breast and peppers…

Then he proceeded to make some chicken stock by adding some ancient Spanish stock cubes (no Italian in the cupboard) to some boiling water…

After that he found time to turn his attention to the much-adored rice cooker, into which he poured sufficient water for three cups of rice…

Now Tooty the Chef is well-known for his stodgy meals; but on this occaision he thought it best to create something light and attractive that would linger in the memory for years to come. So, using his precisely measured Cafe au Lait cup, he poured in three cups of Waitrose Arborio rice…

Then – being an old and infinitely wise chef – he poured the remaining rice, from the packet, into a sealed jar – and didn’t forget to place a sliver of the packaging in with the rice for future identification. Good tip…

…even if the label was upside down. Well, no sooner had he done this, when it was time to start cooking the chicken and peppers together in olive oil…

But, of course, cooked chicken and peppers does not a risotto make. He knew he needed more. So he rooted through his supply of multifarious herbs and spices for something to add to the Polish dried onion. He found this three quarters-full container of parsley…

The onion was old, so it was a given that it would all go into the mix. Parsley is a bit of an unknown to our favourite chef, so he took no chances – or prisoners – and tipped the lot in. The result looked awfully like this…

So, whilst the rice steamed, blubbed and burst spectacularly in the direction of the kitchen sink…

…the parsley-stained stuff did much the same on the gas stove…

When he thought that it had bubbled like a looney for long enough, he reduced the heat – yes, you read that right: he REDUCED the heat – and let it simmer. This allowed him time to take out some plastic and cardboard packaging for recycling…

…and surrender to his prostate gland’s demands for him to visit the toilet…

Then, following a thorough washing of the chef’s hands (of course), it was back in the metaphorical saddle…

Which meant taking the cooked rice from the rice cooker and folding it into the chicken/peppers/Polish dried onions/parsley mush. It still turned out to be a complete stodge-fest…

But, boy, was it yummy! To call it a success would be to demean it. It was historic!

P.S This was written using WordPress’s fucking horrible Block Editing system. I anticipate that it took me twice as long compared to using their original system. If it was designed to reduce the amount of posts on WordPress, I imagine it has been a huge success: I’ve certainly cut back. Hmmm, I’ll have to try one of these Tooty the Chef tales on Wix.

Tooty The Chef in ‘cauliflower cheese cottage pie anyone?’

Tooty the Chef would have liked nothing more than to have replicated the original Cauliflower Cheese Cottage Pie he alluded to recently, but unfortunately there was a problem. Two problems actually. One: he couldn’t remember what he did last time. Two: there was a distinct lack of ingredients in the fridge. So, with this Mark Two version, he laid his mits upon this stuff…

Left to right: minced pork (couldn’t find any beef), packet cheese sauce and some Delmio pasta bake sauce (Chef forgot to buy any ready-made cheese sauce in a jar), packet cottage pie mix (why piss about making sauces when you can get it like this?), cauliflower (of course), an expensive pointy pepper (Waitrose had sold out of the usual kind), a courgette, and an onion. He later delved into the fridge again for some grated cheddar and mozarella cheese.

So then it was straight into prioritising mode. Time was tight: barely a moment to lose. Clearly he would require the Roasting Thing: but what else? Ah-ha – a big frying pan and the Microwaving Thing…

Decisions made, it was time to chop up the cauliflower, which was so huge that his microwaving thing was only half big enough…

So he had to cook the cauliflower twice. Here’s the first load going into the microwave for seven minutes…

With the first load heating up nicely, it was time for Tooty the Chef to start dicing. Within seconds this had happened…

When I say ‘seconds’, actually, by the time that he’d tossed it all into some hot olive oil in the frying pan, the microwave had gone ‘ding’, and Tooty was fighting with some super-heated cauliflower…

But no sooner had the second load of cauliflower begun its journey into culinery hell, when the meat-veggie amalgam demanded Tooty’s attention…

Now it was at this point that our wonder chef displayed his multi-tasking skills. The ones that have him swearing like a trooper. Yes, he had to mix up the cottage pie mix whilst boiling and stirring the cheese sauce mix (which drives him insane) and keeping the meat-veggie amalgam on the move so that it cooked evenly and didn’t create any nasty burnt bits…

As is normal, the cheese sauce took an eternity to cook. When he was half-satisfied he added the pasta bake sauce with a generous helping of grated cheese…

…which gave Tooty the opportunity to display his remarkable talent for thespianism that has had thoroughly employable actors crying into their beer – and shows just how much he enjoys using Waitrose products. Waitrose, please note this free advertising: perhaps you would like to get in contact? Whilst that mess bubbled nicely for a few seconds, Tooty upended the frying pan into the Roasting Thing and poured in the cottage pie mix…

Of course the second load of cauliflower had long-since cooked, so it, and the first load, were gently laid upon the first layer of the cauliflower cheese cottage pie…

Then it was simple matter of using a spatula to spread the cheese sauce all over it in a most generous manner, and stuff it into the very hot oven for fifteen minutes…

Now you might have noticed at this juncture that Tooty the Chef has revealed a slender buttock: should Waitrose be wise enough to sponsor HamsterBritain.com, he may have to cook with his underpants on. It’s sad, I know: but Waitrose and buttocks are probably mutually exclusive. Of course, should the John Lewis Partnership elect to go it alone into an uncertain future, Tooty can continue to show his arse willy-nilly. But that’s by-the-by. With fifteen minutes to spare, it was off to the toilet (of course) and a quick watch of the local news on TV…

So, shortly, it was check-the-dinner time…

It was bubbling insanely, and was clearly cooked; but it just didn’t look properly cooked. Our favourite chef decided that it needed a few minutes under the grill. So, whilst Tooty selected some sugar-free Sprite and Mulled Wine…

… and warmed up the plates in the microwave, the cauliflower cheese was getting somewhat blasted by the grill, which left it looking slightly worse for wear…

But, being a seasoned kitchen campaigner, he quickly stirred the nasty burnt bits into the meal. And when he slopped it onto the waiting plates…

…it was, of course, glorious. It tasted quite nice too – with a good texture. And only one person noticed the burnt bits. All-in-all a vast success. You should try it.

Tooty the Chef in ‘Root Canal: Toots Banal’

After several days of the abject misery that comes with having unrelenting toothache, Tooty the Chef went for a quick bit of root canal work. Finally, after so many missed lunches and dinners, he could let his culinary imagination loose. Only, when the time arrived, he seemed strangely lacking in that department. Late week meals are usually a special time when he uses up the remnants in the fridge, and his imagination is allowed to soar into the gastronomic stratosphere: but this time around the fridge was replete with perfectly usuable stuff that wasn’t out of date. So, rather reluctantly, he chose these very sensible items…

So what do we have? L to R = sliced pork, courgettes, breadcrumbs, eggs, ras el hanout, dessicated cheese sauce, cheddar cheese, olive oil, and cauliflower.

Naturally time was of the essence, so it was out with the microwave cooking thing…

…into which he placed the chopped-up cauliflower, and placed into the microwave oven for nine minutes…

Then Tooty the Chef laid into the courgettes, slicing them into thick slices with gay abandon…

Quickly followed by the breaking of eggs into a bowl and the addition of a generous sprinkling of ras el hanout, followed by a quick whisk of the ghastly mess that ensued…

But, of course, he didn’t choose sufficient eggs. He never does. Fortunately he had another in the fridge…

Then it was dip-the-courgettes-in-the-eggs time…

And again with the slices of pork…

At this point the microwave went ‘beep’, so the good chef tipped the super-heated cauliflower into a roasting thing…

Tooty absolutely hates making sauces from packets; but being a really good egg who always does the right thing, he went straight ahead without complaint…

By the way, here’s a simple cookery tip to save time and retain your sanity. When you’ve poured the sauce over whatever it is you pour sauce over, don’t use a spoon to retrieve the dregs: use a spatula. Cuts down on time and energy and waste…

Of course, as you’ve probably discovered yourself, cheese sauce by itself is utter shit: you must add grated cheese to it. Now normally Tooty would have gone straight to the nearest packet of pre-grated cheddar from either Sainsburys or Waitrose: but he only had a bag of Cheddar and Mozzarella, which, as you also have probably discovered, is like super-powerful spiders web when cooked. So there was no other course of action open to him: he had to open the fridge, select a lump of cheddar…

…and GRATE IT HIMSELF! Aargh! Then he sprinkled it on the steaming cauliflower….

So, having prepared one element of his wondrous meal for the oven, he returned to the pork/egg amalgam, which he coated with the breadcrumbs…

Likewise the courgettes, which he placed into an olive oil lined roasting thing…

Of course, assuming that pork and courgettes cooked at the same rate – but having no evidence to support this belief – he placed the pork into the roasting thing beside the courgettes…

And being a waste-not-want-not kind’a guy, he poured on the egg dregs…

The oven, which had been maxxed-out for a good fifteen minutes, then welcomed into its bosom the two roasting things…

This gave Tooty the Chef time to sit down for a while – forty minutes actually – to jeer whatever annoyed him on TV, which is most things…

After that it was a  simple matter of retrieving the perfectly roasted cauliflower…

…selecting some Pimms Number One to accompany his regulation sugar-free Sprite…

…grabbing the pork/courgette mix and slapping it on to the pre-heated plates…

…then adding some coleslaw…

…before sitting down to discover that he is the jammiest chef in Britain. Somehow it worked out  fab yet again!

 

Tooty The Chef Gets Photo-Bombed By Tootette.

Tooty the Chef has been quiet of late, due to this and that, but he couldn’t allow his culinery fandom fear the worst; so it’s back to the kitchen counter for our resident gastronomic genius. Before he’d even really thought about the subject of din-dins, the minced pork that had been sitting at the back of the fridge for days volunteered itself. But what to do with it?

Well what Tooty should have done was dig the multi-chef (or whatever they’re called) out of the cupboard: but he couldn’t be arsed. So he chopped an onion instead of obliterating it – which, as you’ve probably guessed, was an error…

Right then, that’s meatballs off the menu: have to think of something else to do with minced pork and chopped onion. Well there’s chilli flakes: that’s always a good standby…

Add a good old sprinkling of black pepper…

…and start stirring. Oh, but Tooty the Chef had miscalculated the viscosity of the mix: it was too stiff for his weedy arms. But ever one to re-adjust to changing circumstances, he took to treating the mix as though it was dough, and before you could say…ah…a really long word, he’d kneeded it into this ball of goo…

It was at this stage that Tootette reminded Tooty that he’d intended to use eggs. Cue eggs…

…to which he ingeniously added a slice of white bread – in pieces obviously – to help bind it all together…

He was then cheered in his efforts to stir the even more gooey mass into a sort of meatloaf thing…

Then it was a matter of what to cook beside the meatloaf thing. Well obviously some duck fat-coated frozen potatoes and parsnips were the only logical choice…

So they were nicely coaxed into the tray beside the gooey mass…

…and shoved into the oven (as usual set to max power) and left for fifty minutes…

In between times Tooty the Chef selected some sliced green beans to boil as a side dish to the roasted stuff…

The finished result was too good to photograph. Instead Tooty served it up instantaneously and got stuck into his own plate…

And all done without botty-baring once!

Hah – you didn’t think he’d cook a meal without showing his bum at least once, did you? No way!

 

Tooty the Chef: Still Down, But Not Out

I explained in an earlier post why Tooty the Chef appears to have disappeared, if you follow me. Well this is a sort of up-date. Food continues to be cooked in the kitchen of Tooty the Chef – but perfunctorily. Or at least that was the case – until today. After a thrash down some gravelly ice-strewn English back lanes at rather silly speeds upon his motorcycle, Tooty felt mentally invigorated enough to get equally silly in the kitchen. Witness this…

He intended to use up last weeks’ cabbage by simply boiling it; but then his eyes began to scan the shelves – and he added some bulgur wheat – followed by chopped onion and two tubs of out-of-date fish stock, which he boiled until the water was entirely absorbed by the wheat. He might have taken it a step further by utilising a tub of Moroccan sauce; but he noticed – in the nick of time – that the Best Before date had expired….in 2013! So, instead he threw in some microwaved Brussels sprouts – before donning his hat and presenting it thus…

He may not be back just yet – but surely it’s just a matter of time. And who knows – he might even keep his underpants on!

Tooty the Chef: Where’s He At?

You may have noticed a dearth of Tooty the Chef posts in recent times. Millions have. Well there is an explanation. Of course the good cook would have liked nothing more than to blame the month of January and its scrotum-puckering chill that rises through the concrete floor of his kitchen and freezes his ass off. But, annoyingly he can’t. Not because it isn’t cold: it is. In fact he has been hard at work. Regard the following four pictures…

Nice, eh? Unfortunately poor old Tooty’s head isn’t in a good place right now. At the time of this report, it has been four months since he lost his wife to cancer, and, quite frankly, he’s having a hard time being funny. To use a colloquial term: he just can’t be arsed – which is quite ironic really, because  it’s his arse that he usually reveals at some point during the cooking of his meals. What little mirth he possesses is kept in reserve for the Earplug Adventure story. But he will be back: I’m sure of it. You can’t keep a good chef down – unlike his pants. And just as a reminder of  how brilliant he can be: here’s a picture of his trim buttocks as he selects a bottle of wine to mix with his sugar-free Sprite…

 

Tooty the Chef Eats His Hat (part 1)

Recipes don’t always go to plan. We all know that. Of course Tooty the Chef doesn’t even have a plan, so it’s odds-on that eventually he will crash and burn – at least in a culinery sense. This is the story of his first total gastronomic cock-up. And it all started so promisingly – when his Son suggested something ‘omeletty’ – to use up the eggs. Unfortunately he also suggested using potatoes. But even then, had the wonder chef possessed a wide-enough frying pan, maybe it could have worked. Let’s see how it went, huh?

Initially Tooty the Chef was pleased as punch to find a use for his ageing eggs…

But he wasn ‘t quite so sure about wasting some nice fresh bacon on an experimental meal…

And when he was presented with tubs of strange stuff intended for North African style meals his uncertainty increased to alarming levels…

But never one to stand around pissing about, he set to work on some spuds – shaving them into…ah…potato shavings…

Other veggies would be required, so he tried on this charming comedy nose…

…but decided to dice the pepper instead, and added it to the pile that included some onion…

Then, of course, we had the inevitable rigmarole of removing the ‘nasty fatty bits’ from the bacon…

I don’t know why he can’t get a grip: a little fat isn’t going to cause instantaneous rigor mortis. Anyway, on with the cookery. In order to make the eggs nice, Tooty the Chef added some black pepper and oregano. See how he carefully measures it into the palm of his slender artiste’s hands. Ever the professional – even when he doesn’t really know what he’s doing…

Then it was time to tip it into the eggs…

…and annihilate it with this wonderfully tactile whisk…

What – you thought he’s use a rotary whisk? Or perhaps an electric one? Shame on you: this is Tooty the Chef we’re talking about here!

Well having done the deed, it was time for the usual…

Yep, extra virgin olive oil. Only the best for Tooty the Chef. Then the moment came to hurl in the pre-chopped bacon. Oh yes, did I mention that? When he sliced off all the nasty fatty bits, he also chopped the bacon up into smaller (but not very small) bits…

Then, having given it a very quick fry, he separately did likewise with the onion and the peppers…

Attention to detail: that’s the thing. Talking of which: please note that the good chef isn’t slacking in the apparel department either. It may be January; but he’s still cooking sans lingerie

Which is where we must leave the great chef for now – wearing yet another Waitrose apron (that he found in the attic) and with his bum showing. Come back later for part two of Tooty the Chef Eats His Hat. You won’t be disappointed. Well you might; but your level of disappointment will fall well short of Tooty the Chef’s!

Tooty the Chef Makes ‘Rattatuti!’

Before we begin, let me bring you up-to-date with some of Tooty the Chef’s latest brilliant ideas. Well one anyway. Autumn has been wet and mild in Tooty the Chef’s portion of reality; so mosquitos have been rather prevalent in his kitchen. Unwilling to use ozone-depleting sprays (and having actually caught one of the little bastards as it attempted to finagle it’s pointy bits through the tough hide of his hairy knuckles), the great chef decided to tackle the problem head on. Literally. With a Sainsbury’s reusable cotton vegetable bag…

Voila! Not just a pretty face, I think you’ll agree.  Anyway, enough of that load of old bollocks: on with the cooking. Now Tooty the Chef has never been one to turn his nose up at a bargain: so when his local M&S Food Hall offered him three packs of four breaded chicken breast steaks for only £10 he snatched their metaphorical hands off. The downside of this was the need to devour them before the use-by date expired; which meant that whatever he was about to create, it must compliment breaded chicken breast steaks. Four of them to be exact…

No probs: let’s see what’s in the cupboard…

And, oh look, there’s some ancient eggs (that can easily recall high Summer) in the fridge…

Naturally the fridge had other gifts to give…

…those being soft and floppy courgettes; a pair of measly spuds; a couple of almost-rotten toms; three skanky carrots; an old onion; and a withered pepper that couldn’t decide if it was red or yellow. All grist to Tooty the Chef’s mill, I assure you. But what kind of sauce should he use? All the regular stuff was just too boring for words; so he stuck his fingers up at them…

But, after getting down upon his hands and knees, he discovered just what he needed…

…a can of Waitrose Cream of Petit Pois and Bacon Soup. Inspired choice. This was all the impetus he required: for the next half-hour he would transform in Le Chef Tuti!

Having turned on the oven to get warm, it was  dice-dice-dice-and- dice-again time…

Preperations complete, it was the correct moment to slide the chicken into the hot oven…

Now the race was on. Would the chicken cook before Le Chef Tuti was ready for it? Or would it be another of his fantastically unlikely dead-heats? Only…um…time would tell. Don’t fret Tuti; get those eggs broken…

…and lobbed into a bowl with black pepper, Himalayan salt, and paprika…

Come on Chef, pour out that olive oil with all your might…

Once heated upon the hob, the oil was joined by the slowest-cooking ingredients – those being the  potato, carrot, and onion…

Having given it a few minutes to get it’s head start, he added the courgette and pepper…

Look how delighted he was to do so. Actually he was acting.  He’s very good at that you know. He’d give Tom Conte a run for his money, I can tell you. And Pauline Collins. But I digress. After a while, when there was about ten minutes to go, he tossed the tomato in…

And, after fielding several gastronomic questions from his offspring, he tipped in the Waitrose soup and set it simmering on a low heat…

Yes, Le Chef Tuti has heard of ‘low’ you know. He doesn’t use it often, but (as a remarkable chef) he is aware that you should never boil soup: it makes it nasty or something. Then it was a simple matter of pouring the egg mix into a frying pan with hot olive oil at the bottom: blasting it for a while; then flipping it over;  blasting it a bit more; and chopping it into pieces with the edge of the flipping tool…

…before serving it proudly and displaying it to the camera with a stupid face…

Not bad,  eh?

Then, naturally, it was time to uncork a bottle of Muscat de Rivesaltes. On this occasion he decided to aschew the usual complimentary Sprite, and instead selected some vaguely uninteresting Schweppes Slimline Lemonade…

Unfortunately someone forgot to hide the key to the wine cellar; and when that one ran out, Le Chef Tuti found another, which could, inevitably, only end in one way…

Oh, if only we’d stocked it with shandy and ginger beer!

Tooty the Chef in ‘The Dog’s Dinner’

Now there’s a strange thing about the colloquial English language spoken in Tooty the Chef’s neck of the woods: If something is described as being ‘the dog’s bollocks’ it usually means that it is very good indeed. To use a motorcycling metaphor: a Yamaha Tracer 700 is considered ‘the dog’s bollocks’, whereas a Linfan 125 is  a ‘dog’s dinner’.  That is – not well put together. And so thought Tooty the Chef of the dinner he was about to produce. It was an end-of-the-week-use-up-whatever-is-left kinda meal. He was certain that the result would be a dog’s dinner, so he didn’t bother to take any photos of the preparation or the cooking. In fact, so certain was he of miserable failure, that he put aside some of the ingredients to actually produce a dinner for his dogs. Yes, a genuine dogs dinner. So he didn’t feel particularly inclined to place his chef’s hat upon his shapely head. In fact he wore this instead…

Oh yes, I forgot to mention: he was also really busy doing the weekly wash at the same time. And yes those are his underpants, freshly laundered and smelling sweet. But then, as the meal progressed he began to have doubts concerning the ineffectualness of his cheffing: the dog’s dinner was actually looking rather appetising…

So appetising that he decided to fire up his Canon Ixus and present the mixture to it…

Then to one of the recipients…

…which, because it contained minced turkey, minced beef, minced pork, sea bass, steamed carrot, sweet potato, and parsnip, with sweetcorn and peas, sent the little guy into a frenzy…

…and only too keen to get stuck in…

…unlike his pal, who wasn’t sure about something in the bowl…

…but because she’d been told to eat it by Tooty the Chef, complied anyway…

Meanwhile the human meal had finished cooking, and Tooty the Chef began to believe that (once more) victory was his…

A look through the transparent roasting thing confirmed this hypothesis…

And when he shoved the big spoon in, he became elated…

Sea bass, bream, sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, peas, sweetcorn, and prawns – immersed in a parsely and onion sauce and topped with grilled mashed potato. Shit it was nice…

But then the celebration was ruined utterly  when he discovered that (whilst in his negative mental state) he’d swigged back the remaining wine, leaving nothing behind…

Bollocks! And not the dog’s ones either!

Tooty the Chef: Kitchen Commando

Welcome to the kitchen of Tooty the Chef: the only chef in Britain who cooks whilst going commando – at least publicly. The same chef who only cooks for people who don’t want to cook, but (through no fault of their own) have to…

Well  on this particular day, Tooty the Chef had been out of the kitchen doing other fascinating and often thrilling stuff – like walking the dogs, riding his motorcycle, or raking leaves from the lawn. Unfortunately not only had he forgotten to turn the heating on (December after all), but he’d also left the kitchen door open to the elements. But, true to his credo ‘the bum must always be bared’, he began as he always does. Only this time he turned on the oven early so that he could defrost his buttocks…

Then it was on to a grub hunt. Quickly he found some soft cauliflower. But before it had a chance to decompose in his hands he chopped it up…

Then he discovered a packet of bacon that still had a couple of days life in it…

It was smoked, which Tooty the Chef abhors almost as much as an astronaut abhors a vacuum, but the label said Great Taste 2020, so he went with it. But first he placed the cauliflower in his plastic microwave cooking thing; added some boiling water…

…and set it to cook in the microwave for nine minutes. Then he did what any chef worth his or her silver collander award would do; he trimmed the nasty fatty bits off the bacon…

…then splashed a whole bunch of olive oil (Spanish naturally) into the oval roasting thing…

…and laid the bacon in it. To this he added some frozen peppers…

…before returning to the freezer for a handful of peas and sweetcorn. After all you gotta have colour in your meal: otherwise it’s just oatmeal…

On cue the microwave went ‘Ding’, so it was a tentative tipping of the scalding cauliflower into a sieve…

…before slopping it on top of the other stuff in the roasting thing, and covering it with a jar of white wine sauce…

Tooty the Chef selected a white wine sauce by Morrisons. He reasoned that if the label was accurate, and that the company had been established in 1899, it was fair to assume that they knew a thing or two about sauce…

Anyway, then it was into the (already hot) oven…

Did you notice the tray on the lower shelf? Tooty the Chef didn’t. This would come back to bite him on the ass later – at least metaphorically. So, with the grub in the oven, it was time for some meditation…

A quarter of an hour later the roasting thing was removed from the oven and coated with the last of Tooty’s grated cheese…

Then back into the propane furnace, which released the great chef to watch a bit of TV and make himself a nice cafe au lait…

A further quarter of hour passed, and Tooty the Chef judged that the meal was cooked…

But when he poked around in the bottom of the roasting thing, he found – to his professional horror – that the bacon wasn’t quite done. He also discovered the hitherto unnoticed baking tray that had absorbed much of the oven’s heat. So it was out with the tray, and in with the meal. Then, as the oven door closed, he realised that his nether regions were once again chilled mightily. Fortunately he had the wit to plug in a fan heater with which he brought the general area back to life…

Ten minutes on and, not only were his comfort levels returned to factory specifications, but  the meal was cooked…

…to perfection…

So it was off with the jumper and hat; and time to select a complimentary drink. Naturally he chose a 2016 Muscat de Rivesaltes and 2020 sugar-free Sprite. A perfect combination, I think you’ll agree…

Tooty the Chef Returns to the Crock Pot

Tooty the Chef’s last foray into slow cooking was so successful that he’s decided  against waiting for the next millennium to arrive before his second attempt: he’s gonna do it now!

Of course the preparation for any meal must begin with the discovery of the ingredients. I say ‘discovery’ because that’s what Tooty the Chef does. He discovers what he has hidden away in cupboards and freezers and whatnot; then goes with them. On this occaision he discovered some frozen stir-fry veggies that he’d tossed in the freezer some time previous when their sell-by-date had expired…

Unfortunately this time the sauce mix shelf came up horribly short…

There were no casserole mixes, or anything that could be turned to that role. “Oh bum.” He cried, “This is gonna taste bloody awful!” So he had to get inventive. And if there’s one that Tooty the Chef is good at (apart from rushing to the lavatory) it’s being inventive. So he followed up the stir fry veg with some regular root veg, along with…

…a lump of pork loin, some mystery cereals and pulses in an unmarked jar, and a packet of Spanish rice and mushrooms that had lost their label, and which he hoped contained some spices and flavouring. Hope is a neccessary prerequisite for any meal. Every cook ‘hopes’ their creation is going to be wonderful. He also hoped that the out-of-date stock tubs (pictured to the right) weren’t actually poisonous. That’s another thing that cooks do: try not to poison anyone. They don’t always succeed; but they do try. Anyway, Tooty set to work on the root vegetables with verve and elan…

He was equally vervish when it came to  stripping the pork loin of any nasty fatty bits…

You know how much he hates fatty bits. Then he chopped up the meat and veggies; chucked them in the slow cooker; and stirred like a cement mixer on steroids…

The result was this…

…to which he added the stir-fry veggies…

Then it was a matter of introducing some flavour – in the shape of black pepper and paprika…

In an aside, let me tell you that he fell in love with paprika when, at age twenty, he stayed a while in Zurich, Switzerland, with his girlfriend, who introduced him to paprika flavoured crisps. He was heart-broken when, upon his return to Britain, he discovered that such things did not exist in his homeland, and probably never would.

Anyway, on with the show. Of course kitchen steam had been hard at work ruining anything powdered, so he was forced to stab his way into the paprika…

But, having done so, the resulting ingredients looked an awful lot like this…

Yummy already. Then is was time to mix the stock with boiling water and pour on…

The result? This…

So he then set the dial to LOW and went off to do lots of other things – one of which was to take a well-earned, and relaxing, bath…

Only it wasn’t really relaxing because he spotted the camera…

And fearful that his willy might protrude above the level of the water, he sat up…

…and was mortified that anyone would be so underhand as to place a camera in the bathroom with him…

Fortunately the great chef’s ruffled feathers were smoothed down in time for his return to the kitchen – some hours later – where the under-cooked meal was looking decidedly…ah…undercooked – with the veggies succeeding where his willy had not…

Time to add some more water. But just to be sure that the flavour wasn’t weakened and made wimpy and putrid, he grabbed one of those Spanish stock cubes for lentils that he so likes…

…and mixed it with the boiling water…

…and poured it on top…

Looking yummy again. But an hour later all those cereals, pulses and rice had sucked up all the water…

It looked arid, but rich. So this time he just added hot water…

…which also got sucked up. But it didn’t really matter because an hour later the meal was cooked. And since his speciality is stodge, this is what he served up…

And, not only was it excellent in every way possible (as long as you don’t mind stodge), but there was some left over for a mid-day snack the day after…

Two meals for the price of one. Well almost.

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!

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.

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

Chef Tooty Makes Spaghetti Bollock Nose!

Chef Tooty – with recipies and techniques for people who hate cooking, but, for whatever reason, have to.

In much the same way that Chef Tooty is unable to pronounce Dauphinoise, so he is also useless at saying Bolognese. So, where the former became Dolphin Nose, the latter is now pronounced Bollock Nose. When you stop and think about it, it all makes perfect sense.

Naturally, as is the way of things, before he began preparing the meal, Chef Tooty went in search of ingredients…

One of the first to be given the old heave-ho was the spaghetti…

Everyone knows that you don’t use spaghetti to make Bollock Nose: it’s too thin. Use tagliatelli. On this occaision Chef Tooty also selected the following ingredients…

Olive oil,  a mixture of grated Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese, the aforementioned pasta, a courgette, carrots, a pepper, an onion, and some minced beef. He would have added tomatoes, but he didn’t spot them on the top shelf of the fridge door until it was too late. Of course he could have used an alternative to the beef that’s based upon beans or fungus. It wouldn’t have tasted the same, of course; but it’s use would be helped to save the planet. Cow fart is a greenhouse gas after all. And a nasty one at that!

Now Chef Tooty doesn’t like to hang about. If his meal takes three quarters of an hour to prepare and cook it’s apt to get him riled. So it’s Shortcutsville for him whenever possible. First up  – he doesn’t bother boiling the water in a saucepan: he uses a bloody kettle. But first he likes to splash some olive oil in the pasta pan…

…to stop the pasta sticking to the bottom, which really annoys him and wastes his time. Then it’s chuck the tagliatelli into the pan and pour over the boiling water…

Notice he’s already boiling a second load of water. You never know when you’re gonna need some more. It’s always handy to have it hot and ready to go. What did Don Covay say in his 1975 hit record ‘It’s Better to Have‘? Yeah – it’s better to have and not need, than to need and not have. Very wise man that Don Covay: should have had more hits.  Anyway, on with the show…

Whilst the water comes back to the boil, Chef Tooty has whizzed through dicing the veggies. Note that he has removed some cheese from the pack. This is to allow it to gain room temperature prior to being sprinkled upon the gloriously wonderful finished product. Then he chucked the carrot into some pre-heated olive oil. Carrots, like all root vegetables, are bastards and don’t like being cooked. Consequently they take longer to soften up than more reasonable veggies. After a couple of minutes he added the onion…

A couple more minutes and in went the beef…

Naturally he had to keep stirring the mess like buggery. Because beef releases it’s own juices, it was important that he not use too much oil at the beginning. So – remember this everybody – stirring stops burning on the bottom. No one likes a burnt bottom – least of all Chef Tooty…

Meanwhile Chef Tooty has placed a lid upon the pasta pan and turned the heat down. This saves energy, which is good for his wallet and the planet. It does result in spillages…

…but if incessantly cleaning them up, as you go along, can be considered an enjoyable challenge, it’s almost fun. Almost – but not quite. Plus there’s the added bonus of reducing steam within the kitchen, which might cause black mould to form on the ceiling, or stop the inevitable laundry on the clothes horse in the corner of the room…

…from drying properly. 

Once the beef was browned and clearly no longer raw, Chef Tooty added the courgette and the pepper. This was the first of two ingenious acts. Because the courgette cooks slightly quicker than the pepper, when the courgette is ‘done’, the pepper still retains a degree of delightfully fresh crispiness. Is there a real  word called ‘crispiness’? It doesn’t look right written down like that. Who cares: carry on.

He fried this concoction for several minutes – stirring and turning it over most attentively. Then the second act of genius occurred.  As you probably know, Chef Tooty doesn’t like pissing about with spices and pastes and supposedly clever stuff: he likes things out of packets and jars. So he pulled this out of the cupboard…

It said ‘pasta sauce’ on the label – and surely that’s all a decent chef needs to know. So he slopped it into the pan: sploshed  some water about in the jar to get out the dregs, and added that too. Then it was simmer-time until the firm white flesh of the courgette became dull and slightly less opaque – bordering upon vaguely transparent at the edges – rather like his buttocks. But that’s being pedantic. Then came a moment of simple, inspired logic: if the courgette looked cooked, everything else must be!

By now the pasta had boiled itself into submission and was drained. It was then slopped on to the pre-warmed plates – microwaved naturally –  quickly followed by the bollock nose, and a topping of cheese…

Then, after delivering the meals to their intended victims, and quickly remembering to feed the dogs, it was time for Chef Tooty to pour himself a congratulatory half-glass of ginger beer and tuck into what was left…

Bon…uh…thingy!

 

Chef Tooty Returns!

You may recall this little item…

Well Chef Tooty  – he who gives tips to people who hate cooking, but have to – decided that it was just too darned small to bother with his usual sequential photos. So, for the Mark Two he’s decided to go large…

No, not like a gastronomic collossus bestriding the kitchen of eternity: just using a bigger Roasting Thing. Oh yeah, did you notice the new Waitrose Christmas apron?

Groovy, isn’t it? He discovered that his late wife had used it as a liner for her knicker drawer. He makes light of it now, but it reduced him to tears when he first found it. Anyway, enough of the sad stuff: on with the cooking. To make his Potato and Rooty Chums bake you need to do this to a handful of carrots…

And this to a couple of sweet potatoes…

And this to a whole bunch of regular potatoes…

Then pre-boil some water in a kettle (for speed: Tooty doesn’t like to hang about waiting for stuff – he’s a busy man you know). Then chuck ’em all in a saucepan with the boiling water  and turn up the metaphorical wick…

Now, in the original (pictured) version of this, he used bacon. But he didn’t have any. So, following a root through the bottom of the freezer, he discovered some ancient slices of pork…

, ..

…which he thawed in the microwave and then laid gently upon a bed of olive oil in his biggest Roasting Thing…

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: he sliced off all the nasty fatty bits first. Very important: nasty fatty bits are not healthy. And furthermore they’re just plain…nasty. Cast them aside.

So, whilst you’ve been pissing about slicing off all the nasty, fatty bits, the veg should have been boiling for approx ten minutes. So, drain and hurl them into the Roasting Thing. Then coat liberally with cheese sauce…

As you can see, Chef Tooty bought the same size jar of Sainsbury’s cheese sauce as last time. This was probably a mistake. In the smaller Roasting Thing the amount of cheese sauce inside the jar was perfection itself: in the larger Roasting Thing…well, you can see for yourself. But it was too late to do anything about it, so it was into the oven, on max, on the top shelf. Did I mention Tooty is a tad impatient? How he doesn’t burn things to a frazzle, I don’t know. Sheer talent, I guess. Anyway, after a half-hour’s roasting, he took the Roasting Thing out of the oven and sprinkled grated cheese all over it. Such fun was had…

Then it was back into the oven for another fifteen minutes. Ten would have probably been better: the pork ended up slightly stuck to the bottom; but it wasn’t burnt – naturally.

Not quite as delectable as the original, you think? Hmmm – you’re probably right. But Chef Tooty couldn’t risk destroying the underlying pork for any minimal improvement in the meal’s aesthetic value, so he left it at that…

And, as you can see, it was still yummy. Just not quite as yummy as the Mark One version. Which just goes to show that bigger isn’t always better. He should know: you’ve seen his buttocks often enough!

Another ‘oh yeah’ moment. I think he had a little help with this meal  – from the Other Side. How else could you explain how such a cavalier cook can get away with creating such nice meals and not have clouds of black smoke billowing about in the kitchen? Proof? None really, except…

…he was wearing his wife’s wedding ring besides his own. “Til Death Do Us Part?” No chance!

Chef Tooty Pulls Up His Caks

Due to circumstances far beyond Chef Tooty’s control, the light in his life has been extinguished. As a result of this  he isn’t feeling quite as jocular as previously displayed, which means that he’s decided not to show his bum any more. But he will continue to cook. After all – people gotta eat, haven’t they? And just to prove that the oven is still hot, here’s a photo of his latest creation…

Yes, the Roasting Thing has been put to use yet again. Unfortunately he forgot to take photos of the stages this meal went through to get to this point. But it was very nice; so he’ll make another one. Just don’t expect to see his botty…

The Bare-Assed Chef Keeps it Cool

Hello, I’m Chef Tooty…

As well as wearing Spanish football shirts, I also post cooking tips for people who don’t like cooking, but have to. Also I don’t like being hot; so when I root around in the fridge or freezer for gastronomic inspiration, I tend to do without underpants on…

Well on this particular Summer’s day it was blisteringly hot, so the thought of actually cooking something made me want to go and lie down a bit. But when I recovered I quickly realised that the fridge, although sparse in food stuffs, did contain enough for a salad – just as long as the cupboard did too. From the fridge I chose these…

 

Note Waitrose products to match my apron – naturally, as is the way of things. And from the cupboard – these…

Now it’s very important to go well equiped for salad making. You’ll need these…

…a couple of chopping boards; a big bowl; and the courage to use them.

First I chopped some lettuce up…

And I mean really chopped it up – though I did stop short of putting it through a blender. And not a lot either: no one wants loads of huge, tasteless, leaves on their plate. That sort of thing went out in the early nineteen-seventies. No boiled eggs either. I like ’em, but not everyone does. Then I did this to some cheese…

Then – just to prove that its really me doing the work – this happened…

Yes I sliced some tomatoes. I couldn’t actually show me doing it because I had to hold the camera with the hand that would have held the knife. Of course, had my willy possessed an opposable thumb, it would have been different. But alas. Anyway, this is how they looked afterwards…

Ditto the apple…

..minus the core, of course. Apart from being ghastly, the pips are also poisonous. Bet you didn’t know that. Then I halved some grapes and bunged them all into the big bowl…

I was introduced to the idea of sweetcorn in salads when I lived in Spain – hence the football shirts. I had to buy the shirts so that I got preferential treatment in the seaside bars where I watched international games on their huge televisions – and ended up happily supporting the Spanish team. But that’s by-the-by. So I took the easy option (like I do) and opened a can of sweetcorn – with a couple of cans of tuna. And this is how they looked when I added them to the mix…

“Shit!” I hear you say. “That looks bloody awful!”

Ah, but wait until I add the caesar salad dressing and stir it up a bit, which I think they call ‘tossing’…

Was it nice? Was it so yummy that I wish I’d made double the amount? You bet your bare ass it was!

 

Chef Tooty’s Cooking Again

Hello, I’m Chef Tooty. Yes, that is a Waitrose Christmas apron. Its the only apron I have. Well actually I have several. Unfortunately they are all Waitrose Christmas aprons – so it doesn’t really matter which one I wear. You will see why an apron is so important, when you get to the end of this lesson.

If you’ve read my previous blogs, you’ll know that I specialise in end-of-the-week-cooking that uses up old stuff. I cook for people who don’t really like cooking, but have to because, for whatever reason, the person in their life who has always  done the cooking, can’t (or won’t) anymore. My concoctions might not always sound that tasty on paper, but usually turn out extremely tasty on the dinner plate. 

Well today’s meal was to have been a long drawn out affair. I really intended to to the job to the best of my abilities. But an unexpected phone call meant that the time available to prepare and cook was reduced by thirty percent. So it was time to cut corners. It was also time for me to forget to take any pictures, despite the fact that four cameras lay upon the kitchen table. So, the first part of this lesson is of the literary kind. I will use words instead of pictures. I will mention, at this point, that I’m not afraid to use ready-made stuff in my creations. For this meal – should you decide to attempt your own version, you will need these…

…or something vaguely similar. Yes, its good old Dolphin Nose again. But because I didn’t bother weighing out the veggies, I quickly discovered that I would need a little extra sauce. The cupboard contained this…

So, adding a little Moroccan salt, I figured the result would be much the same. You see how professional I am?

First up, the roasting time needed to be cut from an hour and a half to half an hour, so some rapid boiling was required. I sliced some aging potatoes, carrots and parsnips – about a centimetre thick – and boiled them stupid. Using the steam from the boiling process, I steamed some cabbage that had seen better days. When they were done I hurled them into my regular roasting thing; then laid some thickly-sliced bacon on top. Cue first cooking picture…

 

Oh yeah, I forgot. In order to save time I microwaved the bacon for a minute before laying it on. Then came the tedious bit. I boiled the milk and Dolphin Nose mix…

Simmered it for something approaching eternity; then poured it over the bacon…

…which is when I discovered my shortfall in the sauce department and quickly boiled some water and mixed up some white sauce. That done, it was time to chuck the roasting thing into a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees and wait twenty minutes. The result came out of the oven looking like this…

Quite nice, I think. And like this on the plate…

“Ah,” I hear you say, “that looks quite edible: but what makes it so special that Tooty felt compelled to share it with us on the Internet?”

Well I’ll tell you. Its a sunny July day. Boiling and roasting makes my tiny kitchen grow awfully warm. I don’t do warm. I like cool. So, brave reader, what makes this meal so special…is the fact that I cooked it without a safety net!

And that is why an apron is so important.

Cooking Cockups: Even Chef Tooty Isn’t Beyond Reproach

Well here I am again – dressed to kill, thrill, and, more importantly, cook…

…except for the sandals, of course. Hot fluids on naked toes probably means a visit to Accident & Emergency. Today’s recipe could probably be titled Tooty’s Cauliflower Cockup, because, unusually, it didn’t go quite to plan – not that I really plan a meal: I just assemble thoughts, then act upon them. So, first up, slap some olive oil in the bottom of a roasting thing, and start layering some sliced bacon, from which you have already removed the excess fat. I mean, who likes fat? Yuk. It tastes nasty and it isn’t good for you…

Lots of bacon. In this case I was using it up, coz it had been laying about in the fridge for too long…

For fans of greenery, chuck in a handfull of frozen peas – preferably those loose ones that have fallen out of the bag and collected in the bottom of the freezer tray…

Now chop up a cauliflower and toss it into a microwavable bowl. Add a cup of water; cover with clingfilm, and microwave on full power for 8 mins…

Oh, I forgot. Cover the bacon with something to keep the dirty bastard flies off….

In my case I used some notes that I was making concerning my next Earplug Adventure. But you can use something slightly less creative. When the eight minutes are up, remove the ferociously hot cauliflower from the microwave oven…

As you have probably noted, a vacuum sucks the clingfilm down to encase the food in a plasticky embrace. This is not good – as I was to discover. What I should have done was tip the contents into a strainer and leave to drain. But those pesky flies I alluded to earlier continued to pester me, so the clingfilm stayed put. Mistake! Then it was time to dig out the Dolphin Nose…

I call it Dolphin Nose because I was thrown out of French class at school for being utterly, amazingly useless at French. In fact my teacher hit me with a gym shoe for being so utterly, amazingly useless at French. Now, if you can find this wondrous substance ready-made in a jar, do so. Here comes Tooty’s second cockup. Mix the powder with milk and bring to the boil…

Milk expands when it boils, so choose a large saucepan. If you don’t, it’ll mean a panic-stricken transfer of hot fluids from one pan to another…

What did I say about those sandals? Anyway, add the cauliflower to the bacon and peas…

…and pour over the Dolphin Nose…

…and chuck in  a hot oven for forty minutes…

Then pour yourself a drink comprising 40% California white wine and 60% 7Up…

Drink whilst watching a re-run of Judge Judy – or something like it that doesn’t require your rapt attention. After 30 mins check that the mess isn’t burning – and sprinkle with grated cheese. In my case, the cauliflower had absorbed the water from the microwaving and wasn’t so much roasting: more it was boiling. So I had to use a chopping board to hold in the food whilst I poured out the excess water. Very unprofessional. Anyway, when time is up it should look something like this…

Mine was way too salty, because of the boiling action, which drew salt out of the bacon and infused it into the cauliflower – big time. But I’m sure yours will be as delectable as mine should have been – which is very.

Fridge Nearly Empty Cooking – With Your Chef, Tooty Nolan!

The kids say: “What’s for dinner?” – to which you reply: “Dunno – I’ll take a look in the fridge.” Then, as the near-empty shelves stare back at you, you add: “No worries: dinner will be ready in forty-five minutes. I think you’re gonna like it.”

Yes – it’s tail-end of the week cooking time, when any self-respecting Dad finds himself challenged to conjure up something decent from the remains of last week’s shopping. Step up Tooty Nolan: Wonder Chef…

So what did he have to work with this time around? Take a look…

Well there are some frozen peas – always a good standby: some floppy carrots that have been diced conservatively: some equally limp onions that have received the same treatment: some slightly freezer-burnt chicken breast fillets that have been smeared with a paste that comprise garlic puree, chopped parsley, black pepper, and rapeseed oil. Of course this alone is not sufficient to feed four fully-grown adults. So Tooty fetched the rice cooker from the bottom of the cupboard and placed, within it’s steep-sided cauldron, four cups of rice and the requisite amount of water…

Then, in a moment of inspired timing, he switched the cooker on…

…which coincided almost exactly with him placing the chicken breasts into a pre-heated oven set to 190 degrees C…

Then, after making an inevitable visit to the toilet – and washing his hands thoroughly – he poured a small quantity of olive oil into a frying pan; heated it for thirty seconds; then added the carrot…

Naturally he wanted to avoid burning the carrot, so he decided not to wander off to feed the wild birds or watch television or up-date his computer’s drivers: instead he stood over his great work and stirred the contents of the frying pan. A couple of minutes later he added the onion…

…which he also stirred, whilst watching the rice cooker going ‘blub-blub-blub’…

Aware that the chicken would take 25 minutes to cook, Tooty waited until 12 minutes before delivery time to add some boiling water and a chicken stock cube to the veggies…

Also aware that in cooking – like comedy – timing is everything, Tooty stirred the simmering mess for another five minutes before adding the slowly-thawing peas…

…at which point the rice cooker went ‘ding’ and shifted into WARM mode. At almost the same moment Tooty extracted the bubbling chicken from the oven and checked that it looked fabulous…

He also checked that it was cooked throughout – which of course it was…

He then returned it to the oven, whilst microwaving the plates for 90 seconds…

Then the lid came off the rice cooker…

…a small tumbler of white wine was filled pleasantly…

A bed of rice was gently laid across each plate, followed by the vegetable mix, and finally the chicken…

…which just goes to show that you don’t have to be a great chef to knock something tasty up for your family: just someone who can read a clock and possesses the confidence to handle a wooden spoon like they know what they’re doing!

Arse-End of the Week Cooking (With Your Chef, Tooty Nolan)

If you’re anything like me, you hate shopping, so you’ll have bought the majority of your commestibles in one go – and hope that it’ll last you the week. As a result you’re probably left with a bunch of aging, disparate food stuffs with which you have no idea how to make a half decent meal  – and consequently end up stuffing it in the freezer, where it’ll sit until such time that either inspiration strikes or you throw it away. Hence the need for a recipe which uses up week-ending food. Step up your favourite Earplug author…

Note rice cooker and glass jar of ancient risotto rice. When I call this Arse-End of the Week Cooking, I’m including a degree of  Arse-End of Last Year Cooking too. You see I like to have the kitchen pulses on show…

Unfortunately, because they are just sitting there, doing nothing 24/7, I tend not to see them any more. So they seldom get used. Well today that situation is about to be rectified. Take a small, fancy coffee cup and fill it with rice. One per person…

And add to the rice cooker…

Cook rice; clean up the starchy crap that the rice cooker blows out of it’s steam vent; recall that it really only works well with long grain or bismati rice; leave to cool…

Whilst the rice gives up it’s heat to the immediate environment, thus increasing global warming to cataclysmic proportions, take a bag of minced pork – and slam it into a frying pan…

Cook it really quickly in it’s own juices. It doesn’t matter how badly it smells…

…or if it looks totally unappetising: it’s for your dog/cat, so isn’t going into the meal. Then, with that safely tucked away in a container, take a few examples of this sort of thing…

…and chop them into little pieces…

Chuck some chopped regular onion into some hot olive oil…

Then, after a minute or two, add in the other veg – in this case carrot, spring onion, and sweet corn…

…with some vegetable stock dissolved in boiling water. Continue to boil until its stupid..

While the veg ruminates upon the terrible injustices perpitrated against it, take the remains of Monday’s pulled ham roast out of the freezer…

…tear off a few chunks and chop ’em into bits. Then grab yourself a wok or deep frying pan…

…and transfer the cooked veg and ham to it…

Fold in the cool rice, heat for a while until it steams pleasantly – if steaming could ever be described as pleasant…

…add some black pepper…

…and YUMMY it’s ready. Remarkably, this time at least, the result doesn’t look like cat sick…

Tooty Nolan: an international author, literary genius, and master chef – all rolled into one. It’s just a shame about the hair!