Mums still on her “eat the freezer” post-Christmas clear-out. She seems to think that she needs to declutter everywhere and the food stores are to be “turned over” She is pretty good at finding bargains and freezing them so the big cold store is always full of weird stuff. By that I mean Not Duck and Not Haddock. Those are my idea of good stores. The summer before last, friends and keen fishermen kept turning up at the door proffering their catches. Unfortunately for me, no haddocks and not a duck in sight. Instead there were strange creatures which clacked claws at me, goggled their eyes and looked far too crunchy for my old teeth. Mum said they were crustaceans called common crabs. She likes to pretend she knows about animals. The youngest member of the house decided she would “deal” with them. She looked up Youtube videos covering humane dispatching of crabs, and soon discovered that it wasn’t an easy job at all. Soon there was shell and stink everywhere and after 2 were shelled, the enthusiasm waned and the remainder were stuffed straight into the freezer. That’s where they stayed until the clear-out.
Since Dad was away seeing his grandkids, Mum decided it was a good time to cook smelly fish and meat stuff. I quite enjoyed helping her out with her Paella, but then she cooked the crab and started to smash it to bits with a nut cracker. I tried putting my head down to ignore the stink but had to leave the Aga in the end and occupy the distant end of the sofa. What right-minded critter could be close to that smell? You are right, the dogs, they adored the pong: they are so disgusting. Mum gave them some of the meat and they actually enjoyed it.
In the end she gave them the whole lot and burnt the shell and innards in the Aga’s fire. I don’t know why she didn’t just give it a decent funeral in the first place, seeing as she wasn’t going to eat it. Would have saved her, the work surface and mutts smelling quite so bad. She is away now to scrub up with mint soap for the third time. I hope she changes her clothes too. Bet the neighbours at the pub next door are loving that stench. One of the special things with Agas is the way they vent all the cooking or incinerating smells to outside. So the neighbours probably also smelt the oatcakes over-toasting long before Mum remembered she had stuffed them in the top (hot) oven. Then she heard her radio playing ‘Babylon’s burning’ and recalled her cooking. Yup, Babylon sure was burnt tonight.
Since she did a better job with the Paella, here’s what she did:
Start with 2 dessert spoons olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, 2 small red onions finely chopped, soften in a large frying/paella/saute pan.
Add oz arborio/risotto/short grain rice, 1 tsp saffron threads (crushed), good grinding black pepper, 2 tsp oregano, 1 tsp bayleaf powder, stir to coat the grains with oil. Add 200ml canned tomatoes, 1/2 sweet potato diced, 1 stick celery, 1/2 leek finely sliced, enough stock to double the volume and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring so it doesn’t stick.
Add 1 fillet white fish (mum used pollock because I had eaten all the haddock), 1 oz prawns, 2 oz mussels, 1/4 red pepper, some broccoli in 1″ florets, 1 teaspoon bouillon powder (or to taste-you humans seem to like salt) and a lid to cover and steam for 5 minutes or till the fish is done if its very frozen. Feeds 2 humans.
And remember to pay your cat her Butter Tax fee when you fetch things from your fridge box. Just because you are ‘healthily eating’ olive oil doesn’t mean your cat can’t indulge in proper butter. It keeps our coats glossy and furballs at bay. Make it Organic butter please.