Sean's Stories

Posted by sean on December 27, 2019 at 11:58 pm in Christmas, Cooking with No Comments


One of the most important things about Christmas Day is supposed to be the Christmas Dinner.

If television has taught me anything, it is that there is a tradition to the preparation and cooking of this most important of meals…

The nominated chef of the household, will get out of bed at the crack of dawn, before heading to the kitchen and preparing to cook a turkey the size of a baby elephant.

Who could possibly eat anything so cute?

These preparations include stuffing vegetables, herbs and spices into where the bird’s bowels, stomach and other vital organs were once located. Raw bacon is then draped over the turkey.

When put in that context, as opposed to Delia Smith’s fluffy and nice version, it all sounds very Hannibal Lecter.

As the turkey begins its transformation from a cold, pasty, salmonella infected dead bird, into a hot, steaming, succulent dead bird, all the accompanying food is prepared.

As well as the peas, carrots, parsnips (my favourite, especially if they are honey glazed), comes enough potatoes to keep Gary Lineker in crisps for an entire year.

The whole lot is then baked in a very hot oven, for a pre-determined length of time – the guests all hoping that this is not too long as to burn the bird to a cinder, but not so undercooked that they’re all struck down with food poisoning and forced to spend the period between Christmas and New Year on the toilet having a wild shite. I guess the latter outcome is considered a victory in the turkey community.

Claire and I avoided both of these risks. Not only because we went for the vegetarian option, but because we took the thinking person’s approach.

We bought a pre-prepared veggie roast, with all the trimmings, from Marks and Spencer.

The packaging might make this look like a ready meal, but the similarities end there. For starters, the cost was over five times the amount of your standard ready meal. Despite not having to start preparing at sunrise, a lot of work went into the cooking process and most importantly of all, the roast tasted fabulous.

As I am still in an incapacitated state, the only help I was able to offer, was to calculate the cooking times…

1900 put potatoes in oven (60min)
1920 put roast in oven (35+5min)
1930 put parsnips in oven (30min)
1940 put sprouts in mwave (8.5min)
1945 put sausages in oven (15min)
1948 put tomatoes in oven (12min)
1949 put peas & carrots in mwave (5min)
1954 put Yorkshire puds in oven (6min)
1955 put bread sauce in mwave (3.5min)
1959 blast sprouts, peas & carrots (1min)
2000 FINISHED!

I will be releasing my much anticipated cook book, featuring 101 of my own recipes, next month. £19.99 from all good bookshops.

The rest of the cooking process – which was clearly the vast majority – was left to my dear wife, Claire.

Claire did very well indeed, to cook us both an entire Christmas dinner. She did have one accident, which thankfully resulted in no harm to the meal. However, it could have been a total disaster, leaving us with Uncle Ben’s rice, instead of the splendor which had been planned.

There’s no easy way to say it. The roast fell onto the floor. You know the theory that a falling cat will always land on its feet? Well the roast had clearly taken on the spirit of the feline. Either that, or it wasn’t made from plant-based ingredients and instead sourced from stray cats from Slough housing estates.

I don’t think Claire could have repeated this feat of good fortune again had she tried ten thousand times. After falling from the oven tray, and through the air, towards the kitchen floor – all the time being watched by my mortified wife – our Christmas dinner landed like this.

This spectacular piece of luck meant that only the bottom of the roast had to be chopped off and thrown into the food recycling bin. Had the roast landed horizontally, it would be bye bye roast and a Christmas dinner courtesy of Uncle Ben.

This would have been devastating. I think the only food-related tragedy, which could have come even remotely close to what we almost suffered, would be spilling a box, containing one dozen fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts. A genuine fear of mine.

Thankfully, almost all of the roast was salvaged, leaving Claire and I with more than enough cat meat to produce what I can honestly say was the best Christmas dinner that I can remember eating.

Claire’s dinner. The white stuff is in fact bread sauce and not Poly Filler.

My dinner. Sans sprouts. Yes, those are cooked tomatoes!

Roman’s dinner. As you can see, he didn’t think that much of it.

In all the excitement, we totally forgot to pull any crackers. Instead, they were opened this evening. Claire had to pull them both by herself. I fear had I held one end, she would not only have won a paper hat, a lethal pair of tweezers and a crap joke, but my entire arm, which would no doubt have be pulled from the socket.

With our crowns, you would be forgiven for thinking that we were royalty.

Finally, I’m sure you all want to know what jokes we got from the crackers…

WARNING: These jokes are as funny as Jim Davidson – but considerably less racist.

Why did Santa fit seat belts to his sleigh?

Because of elf and safety.

What did the beaver say to the Christmas tree?

It’s been nice gnawing you.

Sorry. You were warned.

Posted by sean on July 5, 2019 at 11:28 pm in Cooking, Fun At Home with No Comments


Sometimes you can’t beat a simple meal. Especially when it has been lovingly prepared by your incredible wife.

Posted by sean on July 2, 2019 at 7:27 am in Cooking with No Comments


I think there’s something wrong with this rice?

(the one on the right, in case you were wondering).

Posted by sean on March 8, 2019 at 11:36 pm in Cooking with No Comments


What is this new obsession with ‘Mac and Cheese’? It’s suddenly appeared everywhere, presumably from the same ‘Book of Fake Fads’ as Veganism.

A quick note on this (before the International Vegan Society perform a DoS attack on my blog). I have nothing against vegans. In fact, as somebody who turned vegetarian last year, for animal welfare, I applaud you. Those poor individuals who are forced to become a vegan, due to food intolerance problems, also have my respect and sympathy.

The vegans I take issue with are those who are doing it as a fad or to make a statement. The people who decide to turn vegan in the summer, but give up as soon as mummy’s famous turkey comes out of the oven at Christmas… grrr!

Worse are the vegans, who say things like “I’m a vegan, but I do eat dairy cheese on pizzas. It’s my guilty pleasure!”. It’s like veggies who eat fish – you’re not a vegetarian, you’re a pescatarian. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the stupid phrase “guilty pleasure” – that’s for another day! Vegans who eat cheese on pizza are called vegetarians. Let’s face it, if they have cheese, they probably have pepperoni, which will make them an omnivore.

If only Fred West had seen this sign…

Where on earth am I going with this? OK, to summarise, vegans are great, as are veggies, but ONLY if you stick to your choice of diet FOREVER – and just to clarify, FOREVER does not mean until the BBQ season, or when McDonald’s bring back the McRib sandwich. FOREVER means until the day you die.

Considering this blog post was originally meant to be about Mac and Cheese, I have digressed terribly…

This is what this blog was supposed to have been about!

Lots of people seem to be going on about M&C. You see recipes for it in magazines; you see idiotic celebrities, like Robbie Savage, attempting to make it on cooking TV shows; and when you look at restaurant menus, “MAC AND CHEESE” is commonly listed. I was in Asda on Tuesday, when some child shouted out “Guess what we’re eating later? Mac and Cheese!’.

As far as I was aware, M&C is simply Macaroni Cheese. This is a delicious dish, made with macaroni (although I’ve often seen it done with pasta tubes) and thick, creamy cheese sauce. My parents often made it for me and it was my favourite meal as a child. Considering I’m 37 next week, you work out how long ago that was! As an adult, I continue to regularly enjoy the meal.

Even my own mother suggested I try M&C, as “so many people are going on about it”. Does she not realise she was cooking it for me, some 30+ years ago?

Where has this M&C rubbish come from? I have my suspicions. I may be wrong, but it stinks of Americanisation and another example of the British adopting one of their terms. I blame Donald Trump.

If I ever hear the words “Mac and Cheese” used, after I have eaten “Macaroni Cheese”, I will immediately vomit my recently consumed meal, all over the offender – just like that racist Women’s Institute lady from Little Britain.

Posted by sean on December 3, 2018 at 10:48 pm in 365 Blogs, Cooking with No Comments


One of posts I have been hoping to write from the 365 Blog Topic Ideas book, is My Favourite Recipe.

This evening we decided to make the most of our time off work, and do some cooking.

Unbelievably, despite this being our favourite meal to cook and eat, we haven’t done so in over a year. I know this because we have been in our new house for 368 days, and haven’t prepared the dish here.

Tonight, we cooked our favourite…

Cheesy gnocchi bake

Ingredients

  • 500g pack gnocchi
  • 200g cauliflower, divided into small florets
  • 250g spinach
  • 500g tub 4-cheese sauce
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced
  • 50g Cheddar cheese, grated

Preparation

  • Heat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200C
  • Bring a saucepan to the boil, add the gnocchi and cauliflower, and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the gnocchi rises to the surface. Drain contents of saucepan
  • Cook spinach in microwave, according to pack instructions
  • In a gratin dish, combine half the cooked gnocchi, cauliflower, spinach and cheese sauce
  • Layer half the tomatoes on top, then combine the rest of the ingredients, finishing with a layer of tomatoes
  • Scatter over the Cheddar, season with black pepper (optional) and bake for 10 minutes until golden and bubbling

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