Kenwood UK

Gemma's blog

Back to Biographies
Back to Tutorials home page

Week 12 - Pancakes

Gemma pancake

The final recipe, I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by. We had fabulous fun making the pancakes this week. The mixture was a tiny bit lumpy but it didn’t seem to make any difference to the final taste. The lemon cheese was delicious and a big winner with my chief taste tester. He loved having a go at flipping the pancakes and none ended up on the floor (or ceiling if anyone has children and has seen that episode of Peppa Pig!)

I have thoroughly enjoyed myself during this competition and proved to myself that with a bit of effort I can cook homemade food and even have some fun while doing it! My recipes have certainly not all turned out perfect, but it hasn’t mattered. My son has seen me cooking from scratch (and often joined in!) and I have so much enthusiasm to try new things. I have a stack of recipes to try out, have subscribed to a food magazine as well as a couple of food blogs, and have started looking at fresh new ingredients, even venturing into a farm shop!

I know I am not the best cook, but it really doesn’t matter to me. I wanted to take part in the competition to enable me to cook for myself and my son and I have achieved that. Who knows what I will be capable of in a few years time… I have been checking out a recipe for a soufflé!

My Kenwood Chef Titanium has pride of place in my kitchen and gets used every day, it makes the best smoothies! Thank you to Kenwood for the opportunity to take part, it has been amazing!

Week 11 - Toad in the Hole

Gemma toad

Toad in the hole is my son’s very favourite dinner, so he was very excited that I was making it for this week’s recipe. He was a little surprised that this was a new recipe as I have “made” it lots of times before. I had to explain that I was actually making it from scratch, rather than using a readymade batter mix and making the gravy, rather than adding hot water to some granules!

The batter was whizzed up in seconds in my Kenwood Chef, lump free, and added to the sausages before putting it in the oven. We both watched as it rose up and up in the oven, it was huge! The smell from the gravy was divine as it was simmering away. I have to confess that before taking part in the competition I have never bought fresh herbs before. The smell of the rosemary with the wine was divine.

The finished result was absolutely delicious! We both had an empty plate at the end. Once again I cannot believe the difference in the taste of the meal cooked from scratch as opposed to a ready-made version. Both the toad in the hole and the gravy were so tasty, and really only took a few minutes longer than the cheats’ version. This is firmly on our list of favourites!

Week 10 - Macaroni Cheese

Gemma mac cheese

Macaroni cheese is one of my favourite meals (admittedly we are talking about ready meals here!) so I was really looking forward to making this week’s recipe. I found the sauce surprisingly straight forward to make last week, and this was just the same but with some cheese added.

I had a fresh loaf of bread that had gone a bit hard so used this to make the bread crumbs. I actually had more than needed so have frozen some in anticipation of using all my new found cooking skills! (I seem to have a new found obsession with cooking programmes at the moment and have been making a list of things I would like to try!)

The Kenwood Chef Titanium made it so easy to whizz up the bread, it’s brilliant not to be wasting food. I put it all together and popped in the oven, and voila, another home cooked meal! Chief taste tester loved this, we had leftovers the next day. I love the fact that he is seeing me cooking and asking to get involved in the preparation and cooking of meals. It’s the very reason I wanted to be able to cook.

Week 9 - Leek and Mushroom Pie

Gemma pie

I had a look at this week’s recipe and decided to adapt it slightly. Chief taste tester (my 6 year old son) doesn’t like mushrooms or leeks but I knew he would enjoy this if I could just get him to try it! So, instead of slicing the vegetables I used the shredding attachment. I also added in some chicken, and he thinks we ate a chicken pie!

I loved making this recipe, I have never made a sauce from scratch before, I have always used packet mixes. I used a whisk to ensure it didn’t go lumpy, and couldn’t believe how simple it was to make from scratch. I whizzed up the vegetables in my Kenwood Chef Titanium (I just adore how easy this makes slicing/ grating etc!) and added in some chicken.

The pastry was brilliant, a bit of a roll and then ready to go. We ate this with new potatoes and green beans and it tasted delicious. Each week I am amazed at the difference in taste in something made from scratch vs ready made.

Week 6 - Sunblush Tomato, Rosemary and Garlic Rolls

Sunblush Tomato, Rosemary and Garlic Rolls by Gemma Blake

An Olympic effort!

I really enjoyed making this week’s recipe; there was something very relaxing about kneading the dough!

I have to say it all went according to plan this week, and I was feeling very inspired so had a look online for some ideas about how to shape my bread rolls.

The result:

They tasted lovely, slightly crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle.

Wow, another  successful  week!  I have actually been boring people talking about cooking this week, maybe there is a chef in me yet…!

Week 5 - Vegetarian Pizza

Gemma pizza

Perfect Pizza!

I have made “homemade” pizza several times before. However, that consisted of a readymade base, a jar of sauce, a packet of grated cheese and whatever toppings we fancied.  So I feared this recipe was going to take a lot more effort!

I was in fact pleasantly surprised, there was virtually no effort involved. The dough was so simple and the Kenwood Chef Titanium dough tool had the mixture together in no time at all.

The tomato topping was simple and had no greasy layer like the ones from a jar. I have never used mozzarella like this before and it looked great layered with the vegetables.

I actually cannot believe how the pizza turned out - it was absolutely delicious! It tasted so different to readymade pizza bought from the supermarket, the flavour of the tomato base and the vegetables really came through and gave it a lovely fresh flavour.

This is something I will definitely be making again - simple, tasty and nutritious!

Week 4 - Peach Melba Roulade

Gemma Peach Melba Roulade

“Rustic” Roulade

I decided to adapt this recipe slightly as neither myself nor my six year old chief taste testers are big fans of peaches. So we went for a raspberry roulade and added in some extra raspberries instead of the peaches.

This was a quick recipe with little preparation. I smoothed out the meringue in the tray as directed, and popped it in the oven to do its thing. So, imagine my horror when 15 minutes later one side had risen right up and the other stayed smooth and flat… seriously how did I manage that?

Anyway, once it cooled down it seemed to sink and not look such a disaster. Rolling it neatly was another challenge though! It split, and cream and some raspberries started escaping from the sides. So I decided it was a ’rustic roulade’ and we were concentrating on the taste! Chief taste tester’s verdict… “ yummy, can I have some more please!”

Week 3 - Eaton Mess

Gemma's Eaton Mess

A bit of a mess!

Before I review my attempt at Eton Mess this week, I would like to point out that I followed the recipe, but unfortunately did so before I had seen the video tutorial. In fact, my Eton Mess was made and eaten before I had seen the video!

The recipe looked like it was going to be straight forward; I didn’t think that even I could mess this one up. I mixed up the meringue ingredients and spooned out the mixture onto the tray. This is where my interpretation of the recipe went a little astray! My “small” spoonfuls were quite “large” spoonfuls compared to the video tutorial.

However, I thought they actually came out looking pretty nice! They were not as crispy as the recipe suggested they should be, more a little chewy.

The cream and strawberries were whisked together (possibly for a bit too long) and then I layered it in a glass with the broken meringue as the recipe suggested. The result:

It tasted very nice, but the presentation was not as shown in the video. However on the positive side, I now know how to make meringue, it was much more straight forward than I imagined, and I was surprised at how different (better) they tasted to shop bought ones. I would definitely make meringue again rather than buy the readymade ones. 

Week 1 & 2 - Four Cheese Quiche & Sausage Plait

The sausage plait went much more smoothly. I actually got a double yoked egg when I cracked it… I believe that this is lucky, so hoped this recipe would to be a success! I struggled a bit to make the pastry as neat as I would have liked, but overall was happy with the result.