Tag Archives: food

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: Has He Lost The Magic Touch?

All across the globe Tooty the Chef fans are asking each other (on-line of course) the same question; “Where the flipping heck has he disappeared to? ” Or: “Where’s that buttock-baring bastard got to?” Well, as I’m sure you can imagine, a few months have passed since he lost the most important person in the world to him; so he’s not an overly jolly chappie at present. But he hasn’t slipped into a  stagnant bog of dispondency: no, he’s been trying to live a little (in these Covid 19 lock-down days). So, in addition to his picture-snapping and story-telling, he’s also found time to utilize his playthings…

But the family must be fed, so Tooty the Chef must still wield the ladle with gusto…

…so that he might produce goodies such as the following…

And he still conjures up sufficient enthusiasm to use his roasting thing too…

…in which stuff such as these example meals are created to stratospheric levels of fabulousness…

But, despite the sense of satisfaction that he gleans from all this culinery artistry…

…what he really likes best is this…

Yes, dressing up in tight leather. No-no-no – I mean riding his motorcycle. But fear not – that hat and apron are never far away.

P.S that hula-hoop in the garage shot is not his. He doesn’t do the hula: he has a dodgy back.

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!

After the Debacle

Following the gastronomic catastrophe of his Omeletty Thing, Tooty the Chef took a day off cooking to lick his wounds. When he did dare re-enter the kitchen he chose to step upon safer culinery ground. A Dolphin Nose with Pork. You know how he did it; so here’s the result…

Yep, he’s back on all three cylinders, and with the turbo kicking in too.

P.S as a footnote, the omeletty thing didn’t taste half as bad as it looked. In fact, he was assured, it tasted rather nice – just as long as you kept your eyes shut. One hat eaten in vain.

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 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.

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.

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!

 

More Bottom of the Freezer Cooking (with your chef Tooty Nolan)

Well, following the huge success of my last B.O.T. F. C post, I thought the time right for a second helping, so to speak. Inspiration was born out of necessity. I had a few ropy lumps of veg hanging around, which needed cooking before they became inedible, (that’s right, I don’t believe in throwing food away. It’s not that I’m a skinflint: I just feel that its plain wrong to do so) and precious little else in the fridge. So it was ‘raid the cupboard and freezer time’. Hurrah: another Tooty Concoction!” And this is how it should be done…

First up, microwave the ropy veg. Then slice a few potatoes – preferably ropy ones that need using up. Microwave them too. Did I mention you’d need a microwave? Well you do. Better still try two – because you are going to need another one to microwave a lump of frozen cod, which you will then crumble. Meanwhile open a packet of something similar to this…

…and stir it into the requisite volume of milk, which then goes on to the hob to be boiled into a bubbling cauldron from hell. Meanwhile open that can of red salmon (that’s been bugging you by always sitting in front of whatever you want at the back of the cupboard) and drain off the juice. Place the sliced potatoes in the bottom of a baking…er, I don’t know the correct gastronomic term…let’s call it a bowl. Then add the ropy veg, followed by the cod and salmon. It should look exactly like this…

Strictly speaking you could eat it like this: it’s all been cooked after all. But no, add that sauce…

Back to the fridge now. Some ageing cheese should be crying out from behind the Boursin and spreadable butter, beneath the forgotten vodka spritzer on the lower shelf. Grate some Cheddar and Mozzarella and liberally coat…

Then shove it in the oven at max power until the cheese has melted and the concoction is bubbling merrily. The result will look like this… 

Then serve it up; sit back and watch it disappear rapidly; collect the empty plates; then listen to the family say things like; “That was yum: we’ll have that again!” Or, in the case of my wife, on the ‘phone to a friend: “Yes, it was very nice. I’ve never  tasted anything quite like it before; but it was nice.”

 

Bottom of the Freezer Cooking (with your chef Tooty Nolan)

Everyone knows how easy it is to fill the family freezer to bursting point. Miss-matched items just seem to proliferate behind our backs. Well I’m not immune myself. In fact I’m so un-immune that I had to buy a second freezer – which quickly duplicated the first. The kitchen cupboards aren’t any better. If anything, they’re actually worst. I had to build some hidden shelving, just to house the tins of baked beans,chopped tomatoes, pasta, and sweet and sour sauce that were threatening to tear the high-level units off the wall. And I don’t want to think about what’s lurking in the cupboard under the stairs! So, recently, I thought the time was right for a purge. I don’t mean throwing good food away: I mean using the stuff up, irrespective of it’s suitability. And just to show you well it can work, if a little imagination is used, here is the photographic journey of last night’s meal that I shared with my two hungry children.

First up I thought I’d use some sausages that were so ghastly when we first tried them, a couple of years ago, that we vowed never to touch them again…

A quick defrost in the microwave and an even quicker chop…

Then its virgin olive oil in the pan…

Turn on the gas at a medium heat…

…and start sizzling…

And just to prove that it really is your favourite author doing all the donkey work…

Next up is pretty obvious. It has to be that split bag of potato and leek soup mix vegetables…

In it goes…

Crikey, those potatoes are gonna take some cooking!

Okay, now for the wall units. Ah, what’s this? Perfect – that’s what it is…

Right then – chuck it in…

Nice, but not quite there yet. I know: there must be five or six packs of that freezer-burnt pulled ham in the bottom drawer…

Yup – in that goes too…

But wait – those potatoes are still half-raw. Some boiling water should take care of that..,

Simmer for eternity…

Then select a bed upon which to lay this fabulous concoction…

Kinda similar: They’ll do – especially since they’ll take a mere four minutes in the microwave to cook. And they did too…

May I present Tooty’s Cat Sick Supper. Weird, but wonderful. Well, edible anyway. Which shows that if the sauce is strong enough, any old crap will make a tasty meal.