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Week 12Pancake

Kirsty pancake

Builder Pancake

Week 12 is here and the last hamper arrives at my door. It’s a sad day for me, as I loved this challenge every step of the way.

I mixed up the ingredients in my Kenwood Chef and the thick batter formed before my eyes. After a couple of test pancakes I knew I was getting flipping good and could have a go at the real thing, taking orders from my family, boyfriend and even the builder.

I made an accompaniment to the recipe with mascarpone cheese, lemon curd and blueberries, and served it to my boyfriend. He polished it off and ordered two more!

There was not enough to go around so I made two more batches of batter. The pancakes flew out of the kitchen and the compliments flew in. I loved watching everyone enjoy what I had cooked, an experience I have never been able to do before this competition.

And that’s it, done. My last hamper, last picture and my last blog. I have given it my all and what an enjoyable journey it has been!

Thank you Kenwood for giving me the kitchen confidence I so badly needed.

Week 11Toad in the Hole

Kirsty toad

Batter eat it quick!

I watched the online tutorial and read over the recipe as I always do, but this time was different. I wasn’t filled with worry, panic or fear. I was excited and eager to start cooking!

I made my batter with equal parts of the ingredients and although a little lumpy to start, a quick blast with my Kenwood Chef Titanium and my mixture was smooth.

My oil was smoking hot and I laid my half cooked sausages in the dish. I was a little unsure how much batter to pour in as I had a lot left, so I estimated about a third of the height of a sausage was probably about right! As quick as I could I returned my dish to the oven and waited patiently. I looked through the glass and my Yorkshire pudding was puffing perfectly!

I boiled the peas and the gravy was coming along a treat. There were no tears from the red onion this time and when I added the red wine the kitchen smelt gorgeous.

As I plated the food which was ready at the same time I felt like a real chef. With heaps of compliments from my family I feel like I am finally getting there. There is hope for me after all!

Week 10Macaroni Cheese

A Cheesy Rhyme

Week 10 of the Kenwood challenge,
Time to show my expertise…
I dump the pasta into the water
And start my macaroni cheese.

Making the ‘béchamel’ sauce is next
I start to make a roux.
It’s butter and flour into the pan
And gradually add milk too.

I don’t want this sauce lumpy
So I slowly add some milk.
I repeat the steps a few more times
And my mixture’s smooth as silk!

Drain the pasta over the sink
Return it to the pot.
Add the cheese into the sauce
And stir it while it’s hot.

Mix the sauce and macaroni

Week 9Leek and Mushroom Pie

Kirsty leek pie

Crisp on top, not in the filling...

The last time I made a pie it was filled with steak flavour crisps and kidney beans, so I had my fingers crossed that this one would go a lot better.

Adding the butter to the flour went smoothly - now for the hard part! I took my time and poured in small amounts of milk and stirred frantically until it was all mixed in. Slowly my mixture began to form into a perfect sauce.

Having the Kenwood Chef Titanium made chopping fast and easy with little mess, and I started to fry up my vegetables. When they were cooked I added them to the sauce.

I lined the edge of my dish with pastry and using the egg as glue it stuck well. I added the filling and topped my pie with more pastry and glued the edges tight!

It went in the oven for 25 minutes and it was golden brown, ready to eat.

I’m told that it tasted a hundred times better than my last pie attempt, thanks Kenwood, I seem to finally be getting there!

Week 8Victoria Songe

Kirsty sponge

Queen of Hearts

I was full confidence in myself for this recipe… how wrong could I be? It took me one hour per cake!

I creamed the butter and sugar together then added the egg, which turned the mixture into a lumpy mess and I couldn’t start over as I had used all of my ingredients! I added the flour and gave the mix a blast, which luckily worked a treat.

I didn’t have a circle cookie cutter so I used a glass which produced a perfect circular cut out… but I couldn’t get it out! After fishing it out and making a huge mess I found a heart cookie cutter, which looked great.

The fondant was a disaster too. It was dry, flaky and I couldn’t roll it out, but I did what any good chef would do and looked on Google for the answer. In separate batches I tried adding butter, water and lemon juice but nothing worked.

I broke the promise I made to myself at the start of the competition and gave up.

I decided to make buttercream instead then piped it into patterns onto the sponge. I managed to rescue enough fondant to cut out the letters to spell ‘Kenwood’ and I was done.

Maybe I do need those cooking lessons after all…

Week 7Upsidedown Plum Cake

Kirsty plum cake

Swirling Success!

After watching the video and reading through the recipe twice, I felt prepared to make my cake. I cut my plums to find that they were not ripe so I decided to improvise.
Getting creative, I cut my plums into segments and placed them in a pattern around the tin. I gently spooned in my mixture so I didn’t disturb my design and it was ready for the oven!

My cake was golden brown and was smelling lovely so I thought it was ready. I tested the centre by inserting a knife but it came out gooey! I tested it another three times before it finally came out clean, it’s a good job I didn’t take it out the first time or it may have been another disaster.

When peeling back the baking paper I couldn’t believe how effective the plums looked, I am so happy with the result!

I think Kenwood may make a chef out of me after all…

Week 6Sunblush Tomato, Rosemary and Garlic Rolls

Sunblush Tomato, Rosemary and Garlic Rolls by Kirsty Pulsakowska

'Oh Bread!'

Oh bread, a disaster chef's worst nightmare! So many opportunities for things to go wrong, I had to really knuckle down and concentrate.

So how did I find it?

Kneading – Knackering
Ten minutes of working the dough really took it out of me!

Proving – Patience required
I was excited to crack on and bake, so having to wait 'proved' to be tricky.

Incorporating – Infuriating
Each time I added tomato another piece fell out! Smaller chunks in future.

Re-reading – Essential!
I nearly missed letting the rolls prove for a second time by reading too far ahead. Luckily I saw it after they had only been in the oven for a couple of minutes!

Baking – Brilliant
There really is no better smell than freshly baked bread.

Week 5 - Vegetarian Pizza

Kirsty pizza

‘Hey Mama, come an’ looka ma Pizza!’

Un momento, I’d better get into character. Hair back, don apron and fake moustache at the ready… I need to make my dough!

Mmmm Pizza… My favourite food! Time to Caesar this opportunity and learn how to make it. I was dreading creating the base but it was a Pisa-cake with the Kenwood Chef and dough hook attachment. I followed the recipe and hey presto! It was done to perfection…

…Then I found my red onion.

Week 3 - Eaton Mess

"I prepared my strawberries while whisking the cream. Distracted, I didn’t notice that I had over whipped it and ended up with a big thick lump! As I didn’t have cream left I had to soldier on..."

Week 1 - Four Cheese Quiche & Sausage Plait

Kirsty Quiche

Picture Perfect Four Cheese Quiche

After misreading the butter packaging I nearly fell at the first hurdle! Looking at the ‘50g’ guidelines along the packaging I assumed this was the weight of the entire block and fetched more from the fridge. When cubing over a whole block of butter I realised something wasn’t right! I re-weighed it and started again… thank god!

The thought of making pastry was really daunting but using my trusty Kenwood Chef, it couldn’t have been easier. My pastry came out lovely and smooth with no cracks, which made the dish easy to line.

I peeled my red onion - which to my surprise is actually purple. My eyes streamed as I chopped it, much to my Mum’s amusement. Grating my cheese was done in seconds using the food processer attachment and it was all coming together nicely until I got to the goat’s cheese… I was horrified to find it didn’t slice, it crumbled. However I refused to let the crumbling goat’s cheese stop this from being a success. I scooped it up, rolled it into small balls and flattened them in my hand.

My quiche was in the oven for over double the time it should have been because it was still runny, which I found out later was due to using too much cream.

Despite this, when it finally came out of the oven it sliced perfectly and looked fantastic!

Sausage Plait and Family!

I was quietly confident making the pastry second time around, as I had learned how to make it for the quiche.

Chopping and mixing the ingredients was fast and simple, but the hard part for me was yet to come…

Besides bacon, I have never touched raw meat and I knew this would be my biggest challenge. I must have stood staring at it for over 10 minutes, dreading sticking my hands into the bowl. I took a deep breath, thought of England and got stuck in placing a neat line of the sausage mix down the centre of the pastry.

Plaiting the pastry was really easy and enjoyable and it even brought out the creative side in me, so much so… that I made 3 more, each one smaller than the last, using the off cuts from the one before.

An overall success but I would have preferred more garlic and shallots so next time I will add more.