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Week 12 - Pancakes

Jade pancake

Final Week...
 
I am a huge fan of pancakes; especially the one's my fiancée’s nan makes. In our house she is known as the “Top Pancake Maker”. Come pancake day she makes loads for all the family and they will come around to collect their pancakes.

I have attempted to make pancakes a couple of times, the last time was when I went away for my birthday to Torquay in a caravan and it was on Pancake Day. So, not wanting to miss out, I popped to the shop and brought a readymade mix (just add water). When I arrived back at the caravan I poured the mix in to the pan and waited to see the pancakes which where pictured on the front of the tub. Mine looked nothing like them; in fact as I hadn't used any oil, the pancakes just stuck and burnt the pan :-(. The first year I’ve ever missed pancake day.

So, back to how I got on in my final week of the Disaster Chef competition. I added the flour, milk and eggs into my Kenwood Chef Titanium; I then left the mixture to stand at room temperature. I mixed the mascarpone and lemon curd together and then added a splash of oil to plan. I poured in my mix and my pancakes turned out perfectly. They were so yummy and soft. I had mine with just sugar and it tasted so fluffy.

I won't say they were as good as Nan's pancakes, however, they were close. I will certainly miss my weekly cooking recipes, but my finance has now said that because I can cook, he expects at least one night out of the kitchen a week.

Thank you Kenwood for this amazing opportunity and good luck to the other Disaster Chefs for the final - let the cook off begin!!!!

Week 11 - Toad in the Hole

Jade toad

Never say never
 
As a child, toad in the hole was one of the dinners that I dreaded. I’m not a huge fan of sausages, so I didn’t know how I was going to get on with this week’s challenge. My first obstacle was to choose a cup to measure my ingredients in. For the first time in the whole competition, it didn’t take me 20 minutes to weigh my ingredients correctly.

After adding all of the ingredients together, I left the batter at room temperature to settle. I got the oil very hot in the tray (an expert tip from my mother, Wendy) and then added my "thin" sausages.  I then cut my onion and added the bottle (yes, not glass - a bottle) of wine to my onions. In the recipe it said to add gravy - never in my life have I made gravy, so with a little advice from my culinary expert fiancée, I managed to make gravy (wheeey). When I added the batter to the tray it was very close to the edge and I thought I was going to have batter all over the cooker! However, when I opened the oven door 40 minutes later (I have to guess the temperature as the buttons no longer work on my cooker) my toad in the hole looked HUGE!!

As my fiancée likes toad in the hole, he wanted the full works - peas and mash. Again, after never cooking mashed potato I managed to do this as well! I am so pleased with how this week’s recipe has turned out. 11 weeks ago I couldn’t cook scrambled eggs and now I’m cooking (edible) meals for my new fiancée... It’s such a great feeling to prove I can do it.

Week 10 - Macaroni Cheese

Jade mac cheese

So, after a very busy few weeks, I’ve finally got back to normality. After a break in Paris and getting engaged - I’m not going to lie - I've sunk back into my take away habit.

So, I was quite pleased to get this week’s recipe. I’ve never tried Macaroni Cheese before but I’m always willing to try new foods. I found this very easy and simple to cook from start to finish, it only took me around 40 minutes in total.

I really enjoyed cooking this and will definitely cook it again. I didn’t have any stale bread so had to use fresh but it still worked well. I gave a portion to my sister-in-law Zoe, who is a massive fan of macaroni cheese, and she loved it. Overall I’m very pleased with my first ever attempt at mac & cheese :-)

Week 8 - Victoria Sponge

Mmmm cake!

This week’s recipe, Victoria Sponge, is my favourite cake of all time.

It reminds me of being a child and attempting to make fairy cakes with my mother. Even at such a
young age, it always ended with her telling me to vacate the kitchen, as I was either too busy eating the mixture or creating chaos. This week was an all too familiar experience.

I followed the recipe and added all the ingredients into my amazing kitchen helper, the Kenwood Chef Titanium. The mixture was just how I remember from when I was a child. I then spooned it into my cake tins and after 40 minutes in the oven, it was done. I then cut then sponge with a circle cake cutter.

I then created my icing and I was really impressed. I sandwiched the two halves together with jam and Buttercream. I then placed the icing over the cake and decorated it with hundreds and thousands.

My mini victoria sponges were a massive delight.

Week 7 - Upsidedown Plum Cake

Jade plum cake

I love Cake!
 
Whether it’s chocolate cake, fruit cake, carrot cake - and now up-side down plum cake – I love it.
 
When I saw that this week was cake, I did get a little over excited.  As I started cooking this on Saturday afternoon, I thought I would make two cakes, so that I could take one to my Nan and Granddad’s (it’s my Granddad’s favourite cake).

As I started mixing all of the ingredients together, I sent my boyfriend to the shop to purchase some more plums. This week couldn't have gone any better, the cakes looked amazing when they first came out, I was really very impressed with myself! However, when I started to take the grease proof paper off of the bottom of the cake, the cake started coming off with it. However, I did not let that ruin my good efforts.
It tasted amazing on Saturday night with custard. I am incredibly proud that I can now get involved with the cooking in our household and that I can help out with meals or even make dessert. I feel I have come so far in my seven weeks and I have really learnt a lot. I feel the only thing that keeps letting me down is our cooker, as the numbers around the temperature dial have faded away, so I have to guess the temperature! However, I have still done really well even with this problem.
For the first time in 22 years I have finally managed to cook recipes without total disaster. This competition has taught me so much, and I can honestly say I am very proud of what I have achieved in these weeks.

Week 6 - Sunblush Tomato, Rosemary and Garlic Rolls

Sunblush Tomato, Rosemary and Garlic Rolls by Jade Fuller

Oh Dough...

When I saw that this week’s challenge was dough, I couldn’t stop thinking about how bad the dough smelt last week. However, the way the instructions told me to do it this week, it didn’t smell as bad!

Once I kneaded the dough and left it to rise, I cut the tomatoes and garlic and added them to the dough. The tomatoes were very wet, and I found it hard to get these into the dough. After the bread had cooked I removed it from the oven. The rolls were a bit gooey from the tomatoes and they also looked a little anaemic.

I was disappointed with this week’s attempt, but I will not let this put me off trying this again!

Week 5 - Vegetarian Pizza

Jade pizza

Pizza by Fuller... Mmmmm
 
It's Saturday morning, and it's 10am - what better thing to do than to start cooking my vegetarian pizza? I set my iPad up in the kitchen and start watching the tutorial video. I put my dried yeast into a jug of water, and within two minutes I’m standing outside in the garden as the smell is unbearable. I have never smelt anything quite as bad as fermenting yeast.

After I compose myself, I re-enter the kitchen, and carry on with the tutorial video. I was really pleased with my dough. As I had quite a bit left, I placed the rest in the freezer, so I can make some more pizza later on in the week.

I leave the dough to settle for around 2 1/2 hours while I pop to the shops. When I return I start cooking the pizza's tomato sauce. I only used 4 tomatoes, but next time I would use a few more. After completing this I attempted to role my dough out, I didn’t have a round baking tray so I used a rectangle one instead. After spreading my tomato sauce and adding on my toppings, I placed it in the oven for 12 minutes.

I can happily say that even though it may not look perfect, it certainly tasted perfect. I am really pleased with the results, and I will defiantly attempt more of these. Maybe there is hope for me yet!

Week 3 - Eaton Mess

Jade's Eaton Mess

My Eaton Mess certainly was a mess; from start to finish it didn’t go well!

Starting with cooking the meringue, the mixture seemed very runny and when I cooked them they turned very brown. When they had finished cooking I took them out of the oven but they looked a far cry from any meringue I’ve ever seen.

I then cut the strawberries and added them to my cream. For a first attempt I think I did ok. Even though the meringues turned brown they still tasted ok, just didn’t look too good in the desert. The only major mistake I made was I forgot to put the Eaton Mess in the fridge so the following morning it had gone off! I didn’t get to fully test my Eaton Mess, however, I will try again as I would like to try and get my meringues white.

Week 1 & 2 - Four Cheese Quiche & Sausage Plait

Eventually after four attempts I finally managed to get it right. I also cut the pastry wrong around the tin. When it was cooked, it had shrunk in to the tin meaning when I poured the quiche mixture in, it leaked into the bowl. I found using the online tutorial really helped as I could see what it was meant to look like. Overall, for my first attempt, I am happy with the results. However I did over cook the quiche which meant the eggs went very watery inside.