It’s chucking it down with the Gods’ urine this morning. Not a day for the usual therapeutic-kerbside photography!
Should I work on my chart hit, or is that too yesterday?
Should I plan ahead for the day job, or is that too tomorrow?*
Today? Today, thanks to an early-morning interaction with the site Cooking Without Limits‘, I turn my expertise to all things culinary.
Out of all the career choices I’ve made thus far, then this is very likely the craziest. I, Jay Cool, am about the worst cook that this planet has ever produced. Hence, why I’m turning to an expert for advice. I take a look at the first recommendation – mushrooms!
Initially this sounds promising. I’m forever picking up nearly-rotten mushrooms from Tesco’s nearly-out-of-date corner, and I really could use a motivator here – something to make me want to cook them up before they are completely out-of-date and irretrievably rotten! Full of enthusiasm, I read on:
Oh! These recipes are for wild mushrooms; foraged mushrooms. Traumatic memories yell out from the bit of my brain in which such things are suppressed into.
‘Stay!’ I yell back. ‘Stay just right there – exactly where you are! Don’t even stick your big toe out!’ (It’s okay, there’s no-one else to witness my panic – except, of course, for you my loyal reader!*)
But, as is usually the story, it’s already out, and it’s right here with me whether I want it to be or not. Luckily, I’m a devotee of the ‘A traumatic memory shared is a traumatic memory halved!’ theory. So, here it is – all ready for the sharing!
What does a ten-year-old do when holidaying in a ten-foot long caravan with one’s parents and sibling, in the middle of some rain-drenched campsite in Scotland, other than to leave Mother Cool and Brother Cool arguing over which of three channels to watch on a battery-operated TV, and go off with Father Cool into the surrounding forest to forage for mushrooms? Sound fun? Well, yes, it does! At least, that’s what I thought when I set out, complete with the expert. All dads know everything about everything, don’t they? No. That’s why they fill every bit of table space (i.e. about one foot square) with ‘How To’ guides, and why we set off with the ‘How to Spot Edible Wild Mushrooms’ edition. And it wasn’t long before our efforts were rewarded with a clump of large-droopy-hooded mushrooms, nestling at the foot of a tree (no, I don’t remember the species of tree – we had the ‘Mushrooms’ guide with us – not the tree one!). Father Cool became very animated and turned to his guide for assistance. ‘Hmm … mushrooms with a yellow hue! Yes, they look exactly like this picture here. Very tasty fried!’
‘Yes, Dad. Yes, they do look like that picture, but look over the page! They also look an awful lot like that picture, and in that description it says that they are poisonous!’
‘Hmm.. no. No, that’s not them. Definitely not – these here, are the edibles ones. Look! Look at the variation in the shade of yellow. These are the edible ones!’
‘No, Dad, no! I really don’t think that …’
But, it was, as I’m sure you have gathered, already too late. The mushrooms (if that’s what they were!) had already been plucked from their mossy bed, and were on their way to be doused in oil and gassed.
‘I still think they look like the poisonous ones, I persisted, as Father Cool flicked over his sizzling find and added in some salt. And Mother Cool joined in with my efforts to dissuade the fallen. But Father Cool was always (and still is) a man on a mission. Once he’s set out on a path of his own choosing, there’s very little that can lead him astray.
‘Well, I won’t be joining you for breakfast!’ declared Mother.
‘And you know I hate mushrooms!’ grumbled Sibling Simon, at the same moment of taking the opportunity to switch channels.
‘Don’t you dare! I was watching that!’ started Mother.
With Mother and Sibling once again wrapped up in their TV war, I knew that it was down to me. I was the only one, now available, to join Father Cool for a magnificent-bargain breakfast. It was my duty to show loyalty, in the face of such opposition, wasn’t it?
‘I’m not eating any of them, either!’ I announced.
‘But, there’s nothing wrong them. Look, I’m eating them. They’re delicious! Do have some!’ he said, grinning.
But, the sight of the stuff swirling around in his mouth, as he gabbled unconvincingly on, put me off even further (if that was possible), so I declined, sat back and observed. It did, it seemed to me, at that moment, seem as if my father’s complexion was transforming itself. His healthy(ish) pink shade was becoming rather yellow – almost as if, my dad, was actually turning into one of his ‘edible’ mushrooms.
Within five minutes, Father Cool was at the Portaloo, vomiting …
He spent the rest of that day in his sleeping bag, clutching at his stomach, all curled up, and looking to all intents and purposes like a forest snail. I could do nothing now, but hope that he wasn’t dying:
‘Dear Lord Jesus, Please don’t let my dad die. He was rather silly to eat those mushrooms, but he is one of yours – he is a man of the cloth, and I’m sure he’s brought lots of lost sheep into the fold, so please – spare him!’
Jesus listened, and Father Cool didn’t die on that day. By evening, he was right as rain again, and kept us all awake past midnight chatting on and on about how it wasn’t the mushrooms that had made him sick – he’d been suffering from a stomach bug! But no amount of my dad’s arguments could convince the rest of us Cools of anything but the error of his ways.
So – to cut an already-long story short – then, no, I will not be popping out my cave today, in the rain, to forage for mushrooms, and no, I won’t be cooking up any Chanterelle lookalikes up with sour cream and parsley! No, no, no!
I move on (don’t say thank goodness – it’s very rude!).
The next recipe, a dessert, looks a trifle more tempting. Oreos and chocolate dessert! It looks scrumptious judging by the image, but I’m a little confused with the instructions. The author talks of making batter for crepes and it then going bad, hence why she makes Oreo crepes with the bad batter! On a second, or third reading, I get the gist of it. The author’s first attempt at making a crepe in an omelette pan went wrong and looked bad, rather than went bad, so she gave it another go, added in some yogurt, rum and vanilla essence, flour, milk Oreos and chocolate and – hey presto – came up with something quite delightful!
Time to go hunt around in my cupboards and give this recipe a run. Anyone know how to make the crepe batter? Or should I just mix the crushed Oreos and cooking chocolate together, roll the concoction into mock meatball shapes and get stuck in?
This is how I envisage the end result:
And, courtesy of the yogurt (forget that -I’ll be using Elmlea Cream!), then I reckon I can achieve this look. I’m going to skip the accompaniment of pears, though – hate the gritty bits in them!
The Sprogs are going to love me (and the nosh)!
Bet you can’t wait to see the outcome?
Copyright of text and photos of Jay Cool, Master Chef, owned by Jay Cool, June 2019
P.S. Is it just me, or does anyone else out there think that the image from Pixabay parading itself under the ‘meatball’ keyword search, has been wrongly categorised? Would it be more at home in the ‘dog poo’ category? And which bird did it’s white ‘s**t’ all over it?
*Video of Jay Cool singing her version of Annie’s ‘Tomorrow’ coming up – look out for future posts!
In the meantime, please enjoy reading these other crazy posts: