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Week 9 - Mushroom & Leek Pie

Katie pie

I must admit I was nervous about doing this week recipe - Leek and Mushroom Pie. 

Both my husband and I really dislike mushrooms, so the thought of putting them in a pie made me feel a bit queasy…  Luckily we were told we could substitute the mushrooms for chicken and so our pie was saved!
The recipe was really easy to follow and I managed to cook the sauce in no time, although I was worried for a while as it went rather thick and lumpy. But it soon thinned out when I added the milk.

The puff pastry was really easy to roll out and it took a few minutes to shred and fry the veg.

25 minutes later the pie was done and although we should have been healthy, we served it with chips. After all, you can’t beat a pie and chips! 

My little sister came over at just the right time and she sampled it too, we all agreed it was very tasty; in fact we ate the whole thing. 

I wouldn’t hesitate to cook it again, it was delicious.  The only person who didn’t like it was my toddler- she took one bite and spat it out.  However as she is going through a fussy stage and will only eat yoghurts and biscuits - I won’t hold it against her!

Week 7 - Upsidedown Plum Cake

Katie plum cake

After last week and the not very successful tomato flatbreads, I was dubious about this week’s challenge, Plum Upside Down Cake. 

Upside Down sounded tricky to me, and as neither my husband nor I like plums, I wasn’t holding out much hope that this would be successful…
The recipe was incredibly easy to follow and with the Kenwood Chef it made it so straightforward and hassle free. I literally popped all the ingredients into one bowl, gave it a whizz around and it was ready to put into the cake tin. 

I have a friend who has an older Kenwood Chef who told me that baking cakes was so easy with it, but I didn’t realise how easy until I did it myself.
Just like that my cake mixture was done; I added the plums to my cake tin and popped it in the oven.  It was as easy as that.
And the result?  Well as I mentioned before neither my husband nor I like plums so I gave it to my Mum who was going over to my Grandma’s for Sunday lunch.  The ultimate test, someone other than my long suffering husband eating my cooking.
In fact, I need not have worried, I soon got a text from my sister saying that the cake was so tasty and everyone had a piece.  Yippee!
So far, this has by far been the easiest thing to make since I started the competition, and apparently it tasted good too!  If all baking is that easy, hopefully I will be able to make cakes with my little girl in the future. 
Week 6 - Sunblush Tomato, Rosemary and Garlic Rolls

Sunblush Tomato, Rosemary and Garlic Rolls by Katie Ellison

After the success of my amazing Vegetarian (with meat!) Pizza last week, I was feeling optimistic about our sun-blushed tomato rolls.

The recipe started off OK, although I find it a lot easier to follow a video tutorial than a written recipe without photos.  I was almost about to give myself a pat on the back again for my amazing cooking skills…but I spoke too soon.

The dough was perfect, although I had to add a little extra flour as the mixture was quite sticky.  It was when it came to adding the tomato that it all went slightly wrong. The recipe said sun-blushed tomatoes, whereas the tomatoes that had been delivered to me were large beef tomatoes.  I therefore decided to ‘improvise’ and use some sun-blushed tomatoes that we had in a jar in the cupboard.

Perhaps I should have stuck with the original ones we were sent! The dough went really oily because of the oil in the tomatoes, and the resulting mixture was a gloopy mess. I added a bit more flour and all was ok, so I popped them in the oven.

They rose perfectly, but the finishing result when they came out the oven?
Not exactly the most appetising looking rolls in the world! 0 marks for presentation! After an initial taste? I would give myself a 4/10. While the rolls didn’t taste bad...they certainly didn’t taste as good as my pizza the previous week. They were a little bland, and I could just taste the flour and the rosemary - neither of which I like.

We were due to be going to a barbecue that afternoon and I was going to bring my rolls along as a gesture. Needless to say the rolls stayed at home, and a nice chilled bottle of white wine was purchased instead!

Week 5 - Vegetarian Pizza

Kate pizza

No need for takeout pizza here!

This week’s recipe was vegetarian pizza, and being massive pizza fan, I was very excited to give this one a go.

We got home from a long weekend in Brighton and I set straight to work.  After nearly gagging over the smell of the yeast, I set to work mixing my dough.  The Kenwood Chef made it so easy, but to start off with I added a little bit too much water.

I managed to use my initiative (for once!) and add a bit more flour to make the dough the right consistancy again.  After leaving it for an hour, I rolled it out and was really impressed with how dough-like it looked! 
I cut up the tomatoes, garlic, onion and even added a bit of chopped up chorizo as both my husband and I prefer to have some meat on there.  It took me a while, I still am yet to master quick chopping, but I got there in the end - I blame it on being left handed!  - I added it to the pizza and popped it in the oven.

Fifteen minutes later and a delicious looking pizza came out of the oven.  I have to admit I almost gasped, it looked like something I would order at a restaurant.  Now if only it tasted as good as it looked….

Two bites later, I got the seal of approval from my husband.  The pizza really did taste good, and we gobbled it all up.  It has definitely been my most successful recipe to date, and I have been instructed to make another one next week.

I was very proud that I managed to make something that tasted AND looked nice as well.  I won’t get complacent, but maybe Kenwood will be able to make a chef out of me yet!

 Week 3 - Eaton Mess

Katie Eaton Mess

After the disaster that was my Sausage Plait recipe last week I was nervous and apprehensive about this week’s recipe - Strawberry Ripple Eton Mess.  Meringues seemed like a daunting task for me to conquer.

With my ingredients all set out ready, and the very handy Kenwood video tutorial on repeat, I began my mission.

The Chef Titanium that we were given as part of the competition really does take the hard work out of preparing.  Within seconds my egg whites were whisked into stiff peaks (with no shell in them either - bonus points to me!).   It was soon time to add the sugar, and within no time my meringue dollops were ready to go in the oven.

They may not look the most aesthetically pleasing things you have ever seen, but after being in the oven for 2 hours, they certainly tasted yummy.  Finally a recipe that I have cooked that is edible! 

Adding the strawberries and the final finishing touches to the recipe was the easy bit, and within no time my lovely Eton Mess was ready to be served.

My husband cleared his glass instantly and even had seconds, so I can safely say that my Eton Mess was a success.  I even gave some to my daughter in the morning - she is my harshest critic and even she enjoyed Mummy’s Eton Mess, judging by the fact that none of it was flung over the side of the high chair!

I feel like I am a meringue mastermind now….if only the rest of the weeks will be as easy.  Somehow I am not sure that will happen and Nigella doesn’t need to be worried about her crown just yet…

Week 1 - Four Cheese Quiche & Sausage Plait

We served with mash, gravy and vegetables and I waited for my hubby to take a bite first.  Unfortunately his face said it all.  In the end neither of us ate the sausage plait. The pastry was very dry and the sausage was a little chewy, combined with the crunchiness of the cabbage.