I have learnt a lot from my experience over the last few months. Here are some of the rules I have decided would make my (cooking) life easier.
1. Read the instructions BEFORE you start. Before you even go to the shops to buy your ingredients. Pay close attention to the cooking time and any utensils you might need.
2. Don’t measure spices over the pan. The entire contents WILL fall in.
3. Only buy the required amount when you do your shopping unless you know you will use the rest up within its shelf life. I have thrown away so much mouldy yoghurt which really annoys me.
4. Don’t wait until you get to the supermarket to work out what a weird new ingredient is. Mobile phone internet might not work and then you’re stuffed. Also, the supermarket staff might confuse you more.
5. Don’t blog and cook. Things burn.
6. If you are supposed to use a certain cut of meat- use it!
7. If it says it will take 20 minutes, it will take 30.
8. Don’t eat the ingredients, you might run out. Especially chocolate.
9. Learn to multi-task. The word “meanwhile” means you need to be a superhero. The washing-up might have to wait.
10. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make alterations. The recipe police won’t be around. Just be careful when making massive alterations to quantities as they are probably like that for a reason!
11. Read the instructions before you start. Yeah, I put that in twice.
Taken from: Cupcakes Book (Came as part of a baking set 9781407553542)
This is my last recipe! Boo!
The last recipe is the most fun, I can’t believe I haven’t baked this before! The recipe is online here.
The sponge part of the recipe is ridiculously easy to make! It was so tasty raw, I think it’s the vanilla essence that really makes it. I was quite glad to get a chance to use up the strawberry jam that’s been sat in the fridge for ages. It is also a nice surprise in the bottom of the cup. We have about a million coffee cups that used to belong in my boyfriend’s coffee shop so it was good to get a chance to use them.
The cakes cook from about 40minutes and look really cute when they are risen. They are supposed to be eaten warm and were absolutely delicious. Great way to finish my challenge!
Alterations: No strawberry on top because it’s October.
This isn’t one of my books and I have never actually looked at it. I love chocolate but I don’t think I have ever considered cooking my dinner with it. Half of this book tells the story of Willie’s dream to have his own chocolate; the other half is recipes. The dishes are not cooked using normal chocolate (like chucking a massive bar of Dairy Milk in with a roast chicken). Instead the recipe uses cacao which is the raw chocolate. It’s a lot harder to get than normal chocolate, but luckily a friend of mine gave me a small amount to use in this recipe (I only needed half a tablespoon).
I decided to use chicken thighs as they were the only chickeny items in the supermarket that had a skin on and I didn’t want to go to another supermarket just to get chicken breasts with skin on (it definitely would have been better with chicken breast but never mind).
I cooked the stuffing ingredients and whizzed them up in my mini Kenwood. Fun. Then I attempted to stuff the stuffing under the skin of the chicken thighs. Not fun. It didn’t really work. Next I cooked the chicken pieces for about 30minutes and served with cous cous and salad. I would be keen to try this again when I had time to get the correct ingredients. It was very nice, but I didn’t really notice the chocolate flavouring in the stuffing and it probably would have been equally as nice without it.
Alterations: The wrong kind of chicken and no oregano.
Rating of recipe: 3/5 stars. Cacao isn’t that easy to find in the supermarket!
I’ve been waiting to use this one for a while. I mean, it’s difficult to plan a hangover. Sunday morning was the perfect time to try this recipe as I was feeling a little…delicate. I originally thought I would try to make an Elvis Presley Peanut Butter, Banana and Bacon Sandwich but in the end I couldn’t stomach the idea so I thought I’d go for the healthier (and easier) Turkish Breakfast.
You can’t really call this a recipe as it is more a bringing together of ingredients: boiled eggs, olives, feta, tomatoes, oregano, olive oil, honey, bread and black tea.
Sounds strange but there was something about eating this breakfast that made me feel so much better. Perhaps it was the honey and bread combination. Maybe it was the black tea. I don’t know. But wow. Tasty. And better than my regular boiled eggs by themselves.
Alterations: I forgot to add the tomatoes to the plate before I took the picture.
Random cooking from a Christmas book in September. Everything in this book looks like it belongs in the 80s! This was the only thing I wanted to make and we happen to have a load of whisky and cocoa powder so it seemed like the obvious choice.
The recipe is available online. I have to say that I’m not normally a big fan of whisky but I was prepared to make an exception as I was feeling a little under the weather and it seemed like a good idea for a night cap.
I made enough for two people, but my boyfriend didn’t come home in time so I drank both (it had to be drunk warm OK!). I couldn’t actually taste the whisky, presumably because there is so much cream and chocolate in it. I can see the appeal of drinking this at Christmas as it did make me feel festive and cosy. And maybe a little tipsy. I didn’t get a cold so maybe it worked it’s Christmas magic on me after all.
I have been putting off this book until the end. As I have mentioned previously, I’m not a big fan of pastry. Croissant pastry sounds terrifying. The recipe is available online here (just scroll down).
So I admit that I cheated slightly. I mixed the dough in my bread machine rather than doing it by hand. I thought it would work out better. Sooooooooooo. I don’t know what happened but somewhere along the line the pastry became bread. Maybe I read the ingredients wrong.
Once the bread mixture was ready I added the pesto and rolled it into a sausage. By this point I was pretty convinced that this wasn’t going to end well but I didn’t have time to make anything else. The mixture was so doughy that I couldn’t even serrate the top! I scattered the pine nuts on, stuck it in the oven and crossed my fingers.
The end result was fairly obviously bread based! And the combination of the pesto and pine nuts was actually really nice and we ate the whole thing over the course of two meals because it was so delicious.
Alterations: Well clearly it was not a giant croissant.
This book is hilarious; it’s very sturdy and wipe-clean to take camping. The recipes are for things that you can make around the camp fire.Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be camping again this year so I thought I’d get this one out of the way.
This pasta dish was VERY easy to make- I probably didn’t really need a recipe for it. The pasta sauce recipe is used as a base for a few of the recipes in the book (it’s garlic, onions, tomato and herbs). The rest of the vegetables (onion, courgette, red pepper) just went straight in the pan for ten minutes and then mixed with the pasta and tomato sauce.
Served with salad.
Alterations: No aubergines.
Rating of recipe: 4/5 stars. So easy. Would have liked to have tried it actually by the camp fire.
Taken from: Kenwood Creative Food Processor Cooking (0859419940)
I’ve tried to put off making anything with pastry because sometimes my pastry can turn out a little dry. This recipe was the only one in the book that I actually wanted to try so I thought I’d give it a go.
I used to make a lot of quiches a while ago, but this was a bit different. The recipe was made using double cream which made the tart quite thick. The cheddar was very strong too which probably added to the distinctive flavour. I made a bit of a mistake as I realised after I blind baked the pastry that the pastry dish wasn’t deep enough for the mixture. I had to transfer the whole thing across into a bigger dish. Thankfully it worked, but it very nearly came apart.
The use if Dijon mustard gave the tart a distinctive kick. I thought it might taste a little weird but it was really nice. I’m not sure that it would be to everyone’s liking, especially as it was just like a chunk of creamy mustard. Unfortunately it fell apart when I served it so the picture doesn’t really do it justice. It was genuinely very tasty.
Served with sweet potato mash and salad.
Rating of recipe: 3/5 stars. I probably won’t make it again as there are other recipes I prefer.
Rating of my finished dish: 3/5 stars..I was quite proud of my pastry but it was a little too thick and stodgy. Next time I will roll it thinner.