Tag Archives: cooking

1830. Poached salmon

Aubrey was preparing a nice dinner for when his wife, Shona, got home from work. It wasn’t a special, special occasion, but nonetheless it was special enough. It was their thirteenth wedding anniversary.

Aubrey decided on nothing too fancy. He was going to poach salmon on a bed of sliced lemon. He would make a dill and mustard sauce, accompanied by potato and bean salad. Then all would be topped off with his wife’s favourite, rhubarb pie.

He was just beginning to prepare the meal when he realized he needed a lemon and had omitted getting one at the supermarket. Not to worry. His next door neighbour had a huge lemon tree, laden with fruit. In fact it was so close to the boundary fence that Aubrey could simply have reached over and plucked one. But Audrey was not one to do that.

He would visit Mrs. Geraldine Trapski and ask if he could have a lemon. Incidentally, Mrs. Trapski was renowned for her generosity. She was involved in the Girl Guides and had even been given a special medal after she had donated a not-so-small château in the mountains for the girls to use. She had also been seen (although some claimed it was a little ostentatious) putting a tin of beans in the bin for the poor at the supermarket. “Oh no!” Mrs. Trapski had said in a slightly louder voice when asked about it, “I always give something to the poor.”

Of course, this has little or nothing to do with this story. Aubrey needed a lemon and Mrs. Trapski had a tree-full. Aubrey knocked on Mrs. Trapski’s door.

“Good morning! Look, I was about to poach some salmon steaks and realized I don’t have a lemon. I was wondering if it was possible to borrow a lemon.”

“Borrow a lemon? Are you intending to bring it back?” joked Mrs. Trapski. “I’ve had some unusual requests today but nothing like this! Only this morning the Girl Guides phoned to say a window latch in their château that I donated needed fixing. Of course I’ll pay for it, I said. And then – you won’t believe this – at the supermarket I placed a small jar of what the British call gherkins but I really think the French word for them, cornichons, had a bit more class. But when I placed the jar in the poor bin the shop assistant exclaimed, the poor don’t eat that stuff. Goodness me! So I brought the jar home. I can’t stand the things myself so I threw them away. It was terribly wasteful of the shop assistant to force me into doing that. Waste not, want not has always been my motto. And in answer to your request for a lemon, the answer is no. Grow your own.”

Aubrey returned home with his tail between his legs, or he would’ve if he’d had a tail. Mrs Geraldine Trapski left home half an hour latter to attend her Bridge Evening, the snob, just as Aubrey’s wife Shona arrived home.

“Dinner will be a little late tonight,” said Aubrey. “I haven’t started it yet. We’re having salmon steaks poached on a bed of lemon slices from two large lemons.”

1738. Calamitous culinary concoction

Candy was both an enthusiastic gardener and an enthusiastic cook. She would usually manage to squeeze both hobbies in, at least for a short time, after a long day’s work at the Department of Scientific Research. Years ago she had graduated as an industrial chemist specializing in developing antidotes to ricin. Ricin is a deadly powder that is processed from castor oil plant seeds. The smallest few grains can be fatal. These days Candy had a more mundane task; she works on developing greater flexibility in plastics.

Thirty-seven years ago Candy had married her school sweetheart. The marriage was ongoing. Candy and Herbie had five children and eight grandchildren. They attributed their healthy family to a healthy lifestyle. For example, they never used salt when cooking, although sometimes Candy added a little salt from the salt shaker to her meal once dished up.

(If Candy is the only one using salt, how the heck is the story-teller going to get her to poison her husband with homemade ricin manufactured from her home-grown castor oil plants? She’ll end up poisoning herself.)

Anyway, an opportunity came for Candy to attend a Science Convention in a distant city. She prepared an evening meal for the five days she was away and stored it, each labelled with the day of the week, in the freezer. That way Herbie could come home and simply microwave his dinner. Of course, she prepared far, far too much food. And Candy sprinkled each meal with a liberal dose of homemade ricin processed from her home-grown castor oil plants. Sadly, he should be dead by the time she came back home. After all, she had proof that he had had a torrid affair with Annie, the woman who came once a week to do the washing and ironing. Not to mention Dolores the accountant, and Pam the dentist. Oh, and Sybil the barmaid at the local pub.

And Mitzie…

The affairs aside, Herbie was a great family man, and on the first evening, relieved that his wife wasn’t home to hound him, took all five meals out of the freezer and invited his five children and eight grandchildren to a hearty feast.

1727. Pamela makes a cake

It would be wrong to suggest that Pamela’s mother-in-law was horrible. In fact she was satisfactory – as are most mothers-in-law. It was her father-in-law who was the snarky one. His favourite party story was how he’d taken some leftovers home after dinner at his daughter-in-law’s house and not even his cat would eat it. Haw! Haw! Haw! He would repeat the punchline: not even the cat would eat it!

Pamela had a cat and it would eat anything – in fact she had three cats. And besides, Pamela wasn’t too bad a cook either. She wasn’t the greatest, most fabulous chef in the country, but she could cook a nice meal. When her father-in-law’s birthday was about to come up, Pamela invited her husband’s parents to dinner. Pamela was determined to show that she wasn’t as stupid a cook as the father-in-law made out. She would cook a really nice birthday cake dessert.

She spent ages combing through recipe books and online to discover something lovely that would require a bit of work. She found one and settled on it. It was a Raspberry Tuxedo Cheesecake. The recipe described it as a vanilla cheesecake that sits on a chocolate cookie crumb base, topped with raspberry compote and a drizzle of chocolate ganache. Pure decadence!

The rest of the meal would be simple and elegant, but the birthday cake would put her father-in-law’s cruel joke to shame. Pamela made little bits of the recipe over several days, but on the day before the birthday she spent hours! The “drizzle of chocolate ganache” was the most difficult. It had to be delicate, like a fine lace cloth. And the raspberry had to run evenly down the sides. Finish she did! Pamela put the masterpiece in the fridge.

The guests arrived! Pamela took her creation out of the fridge and placed it on the bench. The meal began! The birthday cake moment arrived! Pamela went out to the kitchen to make a grand entrance! The cats had jumped up onto the bench and eaten most of it.

1637. Rabbit stew

Cecylia had a most unusual hobby. Naturally she couldn’t pursue it all the time, like once a day. Once a week was plenty, although in fact once a month was more the usual practice. Cecylia collected (and used) rabbit recipes.

It all began one day when a friend called in for a cup of coffee and they got talking.

“I don’t know how anyone could cook a rabbit any other way than in a rabbit stew. Rabbit is surely the most uninteresting edible mammal on the planet.”

This set Cecylia on a mission. For the last seven months she had found eleven creative ways to cook rabbit. One of the recipes, rabbit cooked in prunes, wasn’t as successful as the others, but all in all (as Cecylia’s friend said) “When it comes to rabbit there’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

Since Cecylia’s hobby almost bordered on an obsession, her friend arranged for them to visit a rabbit farm for Cecylia’s birthday.

“It’ll be such fun, and maybe the farmer’s wife (how very sexist of me) will have a few rabbit recipes she can share.”

Off they went!

“Oh look at the beautiful bunny-rabbits! Oh aren’t they lovely? Oh this one has baby bunnies – all five of them! Oh look at all the colours! How cute! I see you have angora rabbits as well. They are so soft! Oh how gorgeous! I simply must knit an angora rabbit hat! What a lovely birthday gift! Not only a visit to the bunny farm but an oh-so-soft angora rabbit muff and scarf as well! How marvellous!”

Cecylia (as the reader will have already deduced) never cooked another bunny-rabbit.

1630. Rum balls

Dear Innovative Housewife

Thank you so much for the wonderful Rum Balls recipe on your blog. I used it for the first time the other week and it was a hit. The family loved it. In fact I jokingly said that I wasn’t going to bake these Rum Balls ever again because they disappeared too fast!

The only change I made was that the recipe called for rum essence. I didn’t have any on hand so I used real rum. It worked a treat. So today I’m going to do it all again, except this time I’m going to double the rum and make it twice as good.

I wasn’t sure if rum went off, like wine, once the bottle was opened so I tried a wee sip and it seems to be alright. I careflea measured out the rum and it was the first thing I used because I dodn’t want hubby coming home and quaffing it down before I even added the flower. Yu can imadgine how I felled when I discovered there was only one teaspoon left in the bottle and you’re resipe cauled for too, so fourtunately we had some whiskey in the howse so I used that as well.

Then when it come to the frosting there was no whiskey so I used a bit of gin with a sprinkling of… of whatever that other stuff you said is called and it semed orright. Wee shell no wen hubby comes home and tacks a bight. Anyway I just wanded two tank you and say it is purfet. Its very layber intents so I’m thingking of havking it for the mane corse as well. The only thing is that to do that I will have to get to the shops to buy lots moore rum.

1578. Heather’s blueberry muffins

Heather Green wasn’t exactly disliked at school. She wasn’t much liked either. In fact, she was a bit of a nobody. If a teacher said to a student “Take Heather Green and go get the bag of basketballs” most students would say “Who’s Heather Green?”

She wasn’t horrible. Nor was she Ms Personality. It’s just that she wasn’t very self-confident. When the class messed around a bit she would sit there and smile but wouldn’t take part. It wasn’t that she was prudish or anything; she was just a bit scared to let herself go.

Anyway, everyone in the class, boys and girls, had one hour a week when they attended a cooking class. It was very exciting because the cooking teacher announced towards the end of the year that they were going to have a party. They could make whatever they wanted (at home) and bring it to school for the celebration. Well! If there was one thing Heather Green knew she could do was make blueberry muffins. She had made them dozens of times at home. They were moist! They were tasty! They were perfect! Heather went home and baked the most delightful batch of blueberry muffins the world had ever seen! She arranged them in a basket with a red and white chequered cloth. In fact she could have been mistaken for Little Red Riding Hood if she had been seen skipping through a forest; and if they were, in fact, the best blueberry muffins in the world that Little Red Riding Hood had in her basket.

Heather quietly left her basket of muffins on the common table. When it came time to eat, Heather’s muffins were horrible. They tasted yuck. It was the only time her blueberry muffins hadn’t turned out right.

Yuck Heather. What a loser. Who’s Heather?

1521: Stuck at the kitchen sink

Grabbing the electric cable of the hot iron, Deidre swung the iron around and around her head like she was swinging a dead cat by the tail, and killed her husband with a slap-bang on the side of the head. There was blood everywhere and a slight whiff of scorched hair.

Miscreant, she screamed, damned useless effeminate wombat. You are the antithesis of toxic masculinity.

And then Deidre chortled; it was a merciless, cold giggle. She took on the visage of a drooling hyena. This, she sniggered, is what is meant by striking while the iron’s hot.

Today I can get on with my life, mused Deidre. I’m sick of the way people think this planet is made for ironing, and vacuuming, and standing at the kitchen sink. At last I’m liberated from such enslavement. No more base behaviour. No more subservience. No more humiliation and slavery. No more pretending to appreciate a husband who couldn’t stop doing the laundry and ironing and cooking and house cleaning and dishes and getting the kids ready for school. This is the end of the liberated woofter. Now to go online and find me a real man.

1513: Prone to tragedy

It’s such a shame. They were such a lovely couple. They were so down-to-earth – which is unusual for filthy rich personages.

To think how full of promise their lives had become! They had recently moved into their brand-new multimillion dollar mansion. It suited them down to the ground. It had a games room – or should I say “rooms”? The covered heated swimming pool was a delight. The tennis courts attracted so many genuine friends. The kitchen (Jacinta jokingly referred to it as a “my humble kitchenette”!) was big enough for Rufus, their world-class chef. In fact, Rufus had been with the household for years, ever since he was hired by Archibald’s first wife many years ago. Archibald joked that Rufus was the only real jewel in the family fortune.

And then last Thursday Jacinta’s body was found floating in the tropical aquarium. Archibald was devastated. How could she have drowned? He had suggested to her dozens of times not to overfeed the African banded barbs (Barbus fasciolatus). She wouldn’t listen. Fate had clearly decreed that she should drown in the fish tank because of her over-feeding fixation. How she fell in was anyone’s guess.

Some people are prone to tragedy. That is certainly the case with Archibald. Jacinta was his fourth wife to have inadvertently drowned in a tropical aquarium. Jacinta was the brightest star in my firmament of life, said Archibald. Rufus was more matter-of-fact: That’s the last time she’ll criticise my Caraway Crusted Pork Loin with Stewed Cabbage and Sautéed Apples.

1510: Savoury Muffins

Review 1: This muffin recipe is not my favourite. I made the muffins because the recipe was given five stars out of five. I left the sugar out because quite frankly there is no place for sugar in a savoury recipe. I usually detest garlic but I used it here because of the five stars. It destroyed any redeeming features the recipe might have had. I can still taste it. Yuk! I also omitted the mozzarella cheese. It’s not the type of thing the average household keeps in their fridge so naturally I couldn’t use it, but I replaced it with blue vein that was about to go off, so it was good to find a use for it. An elderly aunt had left the revolting stuff here when she visited last Christmas. All in all, a big disappointment.

Review 2: What a delightful recipe! I left out the flour because my son has an allergy. I also omitted the rosemary and the baking powder, but I added a well-beaten egg white to a packet of marsh mellows and baked it like a meringue. This muffin recipe is so light and airy.

Review 3: Your recipe called for two teaspoons of baking powder. I was out of baking powder at the time so I used baking soda instead and increased the amount to four tablespoons. Does the person who runs this recipe blog ever try the recipes before they are posted? This one would have failed the test. I might as well have had a fizzy drink. It’s pathetic. And to think the recipe has five stars.

Review 4: I began with your recipe, but this recipe website runs so many popup ads. I didn’t realize that another recipe altogether had “popped up” and I used that to make the things. Hubby loved them, although he did wonder why there were so many chicken bones in the muffins.

Review 5: Honestly, we should have been warned. My son came home from school and asked who had been vomiting. It was that Parmesan cheese in the muffins cooking in the oven. It flooded the house with its stench. The whole family refused to even take a nibble. I don’t blame them. The chickens loved them, although I noticed that one or two of them seem to have gone off the lay.

Review 6: Why are people so negative in their comments? When I was brought up my parents demanded respect and courtesy. These days anything goes. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see swearing used in some of the recipes these days. I had an uncle who swore like a trooper but he’s dead now. His wife, my aunt, has since remarried and lives in Anchorage. They have terrible winters in Alaska. I wouldn’t live there if you paid me, and nor would my daughter who is finishing off her degree at university.

1421. Memorable and happy day

Trudi had made an extensive grocery list. She was going to make sure that today would be both memorable and happy. She was going to prepare a special meal. Her husband of eleven years had suggested it. Just the two of them. There were no children. Trudi had hoped for a family but Archie had said no.

Anyway, this was to be a celebration for no reason. It’s good, said Archie, to do that now and again. It was easy to say, thought Trudi, but she was the one who had to do all the work; all the cooking. Hence the long shopping list.

When she got home from the shops she had to make several trips from the car to the kitchen to carry all the food. Archie was watching the sports on tele. Trudi began to put things away in the cupboards before beginning her baking. Then she remembered. How could have she forgotten? But forget she had.

She had forgotten to get the arsenic for the pie. That was the one thing that was going to make her day both memorable and happy.