Sunday, 15 June 2014

Octopus and other fishy stories

I have a freezer full of food that I am too scared to cook….namely octopus….or rather octopuses (I always thought that the plural of octopus was octopi but it seems I was wrong even though Microsoft recognises both!).    Yes, I know that freezing them tenderises them, and yes I know that you should dip them a few times into boiling water before cooking them, but still and all I manage to cook them in such a way that we all end up sitting around the table looking like a herd of cattle in a field chewing the cud.  I try really hard to compose my face when my youngest proudly presents me with yet another one after one of his numerous fishing sprees, but I’m not sure I always pull it off…. I have a feeling the dismay shows in my face no matter how hard I try to hide it.  But I have decided to take the bull by the horns…..or in this case, the octopus by the tentacles and experiment with the specimens I have tried hard to ignore in my freezer and surely I will find a way of cooking at least one so we can actually consume it instead of merely giving our jaw muscles a good workout.  Watch this space.

Octopus is not the only fish my youngest has come home with…..I have had all sorts of small fish to cook many of which had more bones than flesh.  His friend’s father has sent over several different species of fish and his friend’s mother has sent over several cooked fish dishes, probably in the hope that they will inspire me to cook something edible with their gifts.  

Then there was the night that there was a knock on the door and my son came to me asking me if I’d like a big fish because his friend was offering it to us.  Never being one to look a gift horse in the mouth I said yes please and was presented with a red basin with the ugliest and…….most evil looking fish I had ever seen in my life.  It was black and turned out to be a stingray. I thought what on earth am I going to do with this????  I put it in the fridge and went to bed in the faint hope it would be gone by morning, but no, there it sat staring up at me malevolently from the shelf in the fridge.  My son brought it down to the sea with his friend to clean it, and when he brought it back it looked marginally less frightening and slightly more edible.  So I roasted it as it wouldn’t fit in my frying pan anyway.  It was definitely one of the weirdest fish I’ve ever tasted – salty but not very fishy, it sort of tasted like meat! And bony…….so many bones.  So many in fact, especially along its wings, that the stray cats in our back garden had a gourmet meal that afternoon.  I learnt a very valuable lesson from that incident – NEVER say yes until you know exactly what you’re getting as a gift because sometimes it really IS too good to be true!

Well......what would you do if presented with this????? (picture courtesy of Wikipedia) 


  1. Don't think I wasn't tempted! lol! But I didn't want to offend them!

  2. You're very brave! I wouldn't mind trying to cook octopus but a stingray? NO WAY!

  3. Well my freezer is now an octopus-free zone as I cooked them all this week....with varying degrees of success - the first box was still a little chewy after 4 HOURS of cooking but the other two boxes were lovely and soft after only an hour, so I think it all depends on the octopus! I have seen lots of recipes for stingray online but am not tempted - I think it's difficult to eat something that scary! lol!