Windy with a hint of muppets.

Please remind me not to try and take a closeup photo during a wind storm. It’s not easy. It’s been a typical Yorkshire May Day. Two jumpers (sweaters), woolly hat and retrieving garden furniture from the farmers field.

A fantastic blogger did a wonderful tribute to me by doing a post on her site, in my writing style. It’s funny reading about yourself in someone else’s words, finding out what I had done. Thank you Chelsea, you do me so much better than I do.

Chelsea’s post is so apt and spookily close to the mark. Outside eating with a hint of muppetry was definitely yesterday’s theme. We had decided to mark the start of the week off with a barbecue. Unfortunately the old bbq crumbled over the Yorkshire winter. My first attempt at building a replacement one didn’t go to well and rather scarily was built next to the oil tank. So when yesterday came…

Dad why don’t we just move the George Foreman grill outside like we said we would.”

No let’s have fun and build a fire on the lawn. A proper barbecue.

Not sure that’s a great idea. It’s a bit grey and very, very windy…”

Yes it was blowing a storm but surely man can overcome the elements. So yes we built a rather fine temporary fire structure at a much safer distance from the oil tank. I was quite impressed. It was loaded with what we had in terms of coal and wood.

How are you going to light it.”

Matches…. This is where the plan encountered its first problem. Yes we did find three matchboxes. A remnant from fireworks night. Unfortunately the boxes where full of used matches. Don’t you just hate that. I managed to salvage one complete unused match and one snapped one. So here goes. Problem two – the wind. Instantly both matches were been blown out. Problem three – living in a house with oil heating and an electric oven. We don’t need to light a fire so the house is bereft of spark generating options.

Ok Bear Grylls what are you going to do now. Time for the George Foreman yet.”

Spiriting up my inner Bear I located my camping flint and tried to create fire. Thirty minutes later – nothing.

Dad I will fetch the George Foreman. I’m starving.”

Too late, it started to rain. So eventually it was an indoor George Foreman feast. Today’s heartwarming life lesson

Once a Muppet, always a Muppet.

It’s almost time….

The wonderful Mel has come up with this flyer for something you won’t want to miss which is happening in July.. Soon the fun will start all over again…..

You are invited!

18/19th July 2020

Last year Gary the creator of A Dad trying to cope with the loss of his Partner and becoming a single parent, had an amazing idea. Gary said, “Why don’t we have a bloggers’ bake-off?” Melody the creator of Caramel (Learner at love), thought that was a fantastic idea so started planning with Gary. We asked the spectacular kitchen guru and baking legend Jeanne, the creator of A Jeanne in the Kitchen, to be our celebrity judge…and voila!

The 2019 GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF was an amazing blogging event. We loved every moment of it and were thrilled with the response from other bloggers. We have been looking forward to the 2020 BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF ever since.

However…this year many bloggers have reported challenges in obtaining baking essentials such as flour, eggs and baking powder. Do not despair! You will be delighted to hear that as well as the BAKE-OFF for all who are able to bake this year, we are also hosting a virtual summer picnic on WordPress.

That means that as well as the baking contest, there will be an international virtual picnic and we are asking all of you to bring something along! More details to come!!! Oh we are so excited!

Cue the annoying picnic song!!!

https://youtu.be/jrliJnmYomI

Hide

These are strange times. Time for drastic action.

Stand by the panic rooms people, it might be time to HIDE – I’ve been baking again.

I had a go at baking some cheese scones last night. Mutant ones. Dairy, Gluten and Egg Free. No baking powder. Luckily I have stumbled on a reasonable plant based cheese. Applewood.

Previous attempts with other vegan cheeses have produced a taste sensation somewhere between soggy paper and wallpaper paste. Even though I was armed with a decent cheese, I was still not taking any chances. Time to through some flavours in with reckless abandon. Chilli, Cayenne, Turmeric and Sugar.

The end results well….. It clearly didn’t matter how long those mutant scones stayed in the oven, they were coming out like an anemic ghost. Remarkably the taste was actually not too bad at all. I will class that as a result. OK, Son was far from impressed

“It looks like something from the XFILES and I dread to think what Gordon Ramsey would call it. I’m now off to use some mouthwash.”

So a few teething issues with the recipe. But I am not deterred. Setbacks make you stronger. So I’m going to return to scones but this time no holding back on the ingredients. I’m thinking Worcester Sauce, ginger, curry, Tabasco……

You have been warned.

Frozen

So easy to tell this is a Red Sky at night.

“What on earth is that Dad”

For some bizarre reason I have started freezing left over food. Anything which cuts down the need to shop is a good thing in our book. Any trip beyond the garden gate will send Son into anxiety meltdown and I have to admit to being uncomfortable with the idea. So stuff gets bagged up and frozen.

Remind me again, what are you looking for.”

I was searching for some frozen cheese (grated).

Well that’s not cheese.”

I’m not entirely sure what that freezer bag contained.

Why didn’t you label the bags.”

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But this is his Dad. I’ve not got a good track record in doing things sensibly. Son knows this. He has always known this. When he was about 4 we had to have our photos taken for a season ticket at the local fun park. I had just done something embarrassing – AGAIN. Son just gave me one of those looks and turned to the person taking the photo and said

This is my Dad. He is a muppet.”

Things haven’t changed.

Convinced I had found the frozen grated cheese, I went to cook lunch.

Is that my favourite cheese?”

Yes it was. Well it was for a few glorious minutes. Cooking and tasting unfortunately disproved the fact. So today I have learnt two important facts

  1. Labelling freezer bags is a great idea AND
  2. Frozen grated cheese looks very like potato rosti.

Demon Hummus

Dad what on Earth is that.

I’m trying to make home made Hummus.

Are you sure it should be that colour.

No that was not what I was expecting.

Dad it looks like something from the X-Files.

I’d moved from trying it with some carrots to which bin it should go in. It might even need a Priest and an Exorcism before it’s safe to do that. Wonderful. Yet another culinary masterpiece.

Dad let’s take the pup to the woods. If we go now should have the place to ourselves.

So leaving the alien hummus to mutate into something with teeth we set off. The signs of autumn are now all around us. Less than 900 miles away the first winter snow has come to Italy. So that’s another summer ticked off. It also means the 30 year old boiler is being fired up for the first time in months. That process is always done on a wing and a prayer. Apparently when it goes to boiler heaven it’s going to cost a fortune. Not just the boiler but the pipes, a good part of the central heating and the oil tank will need to be changed. We couldn’t afford that when we had two incomes never mind when it’s become one (on less hours and at a much lower pay rate). I remember being told by one mum that I should just hire childcare or put son in a club so I could work full time again. Not the first idea about single parenting and Autism but to be fair her hummus will be considerably better than mine.

This might have been a good place to go on about some of the practicalities of when you go from two to one parents but not when it is so close to THE ANNIVERSARY. Anyway the old boiler has fired up. Which is a bonus. THEN….

Dad did I tell you school has changed the PE Polo Shirt from white to black. You can use the old ones for a couple of weeks then if you don’t have the new colour you will get negatives.

With the great news of yet another visit to the school uniform shop still fresh I decided to try the demon hummus. The taste sensation was somewhere between wallpaper paste and a skunks bottom. But on the bright side I might have found a home made recipe for wood putty. That might come in useful this winter.

Sunday lunch

We do the same dog walk everyday with our son. We do it that often that I’ve got names for many of the straw bales. This one is Eric.

Routines and repetition form a key part of our lives these days. Some things have to be done at the right times and in exactly the same way. Anything else yields anxiety and stress. In a couple of days school starts again and all these anxieties are going to magnify again. But at least we can now smile at them thanks to the brilliant TV series Red Dwarf. Every time one of us is anxiety stricken we have to both put on our finest Kryten accent and shout

Grind those worry balls like you’ve never ground them before”

Before the world changed son loved to go to see his Little Nan every Sunday. He would sit with her and watch something like Ivanhoe. I dread to think how many times we have seen that movie. His Nan would read him a Mr Men book. He would also have an expertly cooked Sunday Lunch.

It’s a changed world now. But some things are constant.

We have the Ivanhoe dvd. We have the Mr Men books. Unfortunately I just can’t read the stories as well as they used to be read. My accents all sound the same like some really rubbish rejected extra from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The Sunday Lunch cooking baton has also passed to me. Every Sunday I prepared Yorkshire Puddings, peas, carrots, sweet corn, potatoes, sausages and gravy. The food has to be plated so that each item is separate and don’t mix. I’ve had countless arguments with other parents and school over this. The ‘well just tell him to eat it, he will eat it when he’s hungry‘ line is just not helpful at all. It shows a complete lack of understanding. Maybe I should invite those parents over for one of my special baking disasters. Then they can just eat it that abomination when they are hungry….

The Sunday lunch is not exactly difficult to make but remember my cooking skills are military grade. Over the 3 years I’ve almost become competent in this particular art. HOWEVER Part of the Little Nan Sunday Feast was a sensational pudding usually Apple Crumble. Sadly this is still beyond me. Every so often I try but the results are as my Dad would say – a tad manky.

I have tried bought apple crumble but these have not been to our sons liking. So the search for the holy apple crumble grail continues. Until it’s found Plan B is Rice Pudding. Even I can do one of those – sort of. Don’t tell anyone but son hasn’t worked out that he quite likes tinned rice. Tinned rice is now part of the routine.

Captain Scarlet and the Slow Cooker

My sister phoned me last night. I can’t remember how but I mentioned that I had blog. She found this hard to believe. But when I went on to say that it’s a turned into a bit of a cooking one, she just fell about laughing. So she still doesn’t think that I have a blog. I think she sees me as her little bro who plays with his toy train set and watches Captain Scarlet. The second is correct and I’m always hopeful Santa might deliver the first.

Now that I’ve worked out that you need to turn it on, the slow cooker has been a revelation. Over the last few days the worlds worst cook has produced some very nice tasting dishes:

  • Sausage Casserole
  • Rice Pudding
  • Apple Crumble
  • Chicken Casserole
  • Vegetable Lasagna
  • Vegetable Curry
  • Leftover rotisserie
  • Lamb Tagine

So we have this blogs first ever recommendation. If you can’t cook, can’t afford a personal chef, just go and buy a slow cooker.

The second recommendation is Captain Scarlet should be made into a movie – come on Marvel and DC.

Very Slow Cooked chicken

Let’s not pull any punches – I’m a monumentally bad cook. There is no recipe that I can’t mess up. No appliance I can’t arc weld food to. No Kitchen is safe in my presence. I am like the Arch Poltergeist of the food world. As a result so many people have recommended getting a slow cooker, they are fool proof I am told. Well let’s see.

It was the usual school morning start. Drop a heavy dumbbell on my foot. Stand barefoot on a Lego figure. Wipe up another cat accident. Try to find the missing school PE sock. Trip over the dog and drop son’s breakfast over floor. Why has the school bag shrunk – currently as full as a parachute backpack. Try to find ingredients for Food Technology (son so helpfully informs me 2 minutes before we have to leave). All while convincing son that everything is cool and going strictly to plan.

A slow cooker is purchased, reassuringly I opted for the one which said ‘the easiest way to cook great food’. First recipe – chicken stew- it’s must be a winner. All I have to do is dump the ingredients in (which is fantastic given the morning chaos unfolding around me) and let it cook on the low setting for 6 hours. Leave it to cook while he’s at school and I am out – perfect. Even our son was unusually looking forward to some edible food for the first time in years (excluding pizza deliveries).

More of a rarity, as I pick up our son from school he talks about maybe even dipping some bread in the mouth watering stew. So we both excitedly enter the house waiting to enveloped by the intoxicating aroma of high end cuisine.

Nothing no smell. Must be the really good lid sealing in those mouth watering flavours. I wish….

“Dad it’s stone cold, you did switch it on”. Followed by “What a muppet”.

So that nights fine cuisine was tinned soup and bread. That was actually option 3. Option 2 was microwave risotto – unfortunately somebody forgot to rip a hole in the top of the packet and at 45 seconds it exploded.

So tonight’s fine cuisine will hopefully be cooked and hot sausage casserole. Yes it has been switched on.