Same S@*t, Different Year

“Stop flapping about and flinging raw octopus juice everywhere!”Me

“Can I put my hand inside its head?”Ted

Ted stirring fish stockI’m kicking off 2013 with a rebooted devotion to expressing my motherly love through the medium of seafood cuisine. So, I’ve got my hand up an octopus’s arse.

I know, I know – they don’t really have an arse. Actually, I can point you to the beak, funnel, suckers and eyes like a pro. I’ve had to get clued up, as Ted’s brain grows bigger and he thirsts for more knowledge to stuff it with.

After washing the octopus, I wanted to run screaming to a Swiss clinic and decontaminate myself with a raw juice diet, but instead I let Ted do some sharp knife cutting, stock-mixing, garlic-crushing and whacking in of broccoli and pasta. How hands-off, am I?

I like to think I’m a non-smothering, all-round good motherly egg, but – in reality – the sooner he can do this s@*t himself, the sooner I don’t have to hose down a cephalopod.

As he chewed delightedly through a mass of rubbery tentacles – hope I’m not on bog duty when that resurfaces – the table talk focused on hen and stag parties and what they consisted of.

He’s a long way off finding a life partner, but Ted’s decided on a key celebratory element already: “For my stag do, I’m gonna go with my mates to a seafood restaurant and eat all kinds of fish.”

Same Shit, Different Year_2If Ted’s Best Man of the future is perusing this blog for merciless wedding speech jokes, take note of his wishes. (And no poor taste jokes about the groom’s mother and her false teeth…)

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The Octopus Cometh

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Ever considered becoming a testicular surgeon? Buy and gut an octopus – it’s a wincingly close substitute, I reckon.

After much procrastination – I faced my fears, defrosted that slippery little fucker sucker (see earlier) and wrestled it into a sauté pan. In the interests of being frank, I report that I whimpered and retched pretty much the whole time.

On Rick Stein’s advice, I turned it inside out (gag), pulled out the innards (horror), rinsed it all over, removed the beak (please, make it stop) and was left holding something akin to a discarded scrotal sack.Image

I chopped the head into rings, crying out when I realised I’d sliced through an eye. Then I separated the tentacles – use a seriously sharp knife or you’ll be hacking fruitlessly all day.

And from here on, I improvised, because no recipe I found catered for the bland and bizarre mix that constitutes my son’s dietary delectations.

I fried the octopus in garlic oil, lengthily and gently, so it didn’t burn or stick – tentacle-encrusted cookware is not a good look.

I added spring onions, some broccoli (doesn’t he ever get sick of it?), some fish stock (a cube, natch) and a few noodles. I then simmered ‘til cooked.

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I needn’t have worried he might reject the eight-limbed sea monster – Ted was stealing hot tentacle before I could plate up. “Delicious. So delicious,” he repeated many times.

After slurping up tentacles, rings of octopus head and spoons of fish stock, he gnawed on a token bit of broccoli, semi-begrudgingly ate some noodles and told me he, “never wanted spring onions in this recipe again.”

Point taken: I must add even fewer complementary flavours next time.

Now, surely I’ve earned serving up at least one meal of beans-on-toast for all that effort..?