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Week 10 - Macaroni Cheese
This week I have been mostly eating...macaroni cheese.
I had to produce an especially impressive tea this week....my taste tester was not only going to critique my macaroni, she was also going to give my hair a much needed trim. A disappointing meal may well lead to a disappointing hair cut and we didn't want that! As it happened she arrived early and hair cut was finished before she'd tasted a thing...pressure off.
The large volume of milk had me slightly worried as the white sauce seemed much runnier and voluminous than I'd imagined it should be, but I quested on and added a bit of bacon as a final flourish. It went in to the oven and I went off to admire my new hair in the mirror. As usual the oven time seemed very optimistic, with no browning going on for a good 20 minutes after the recipe time. Unfortunately, I think I left it in for too long as the final result was far too dry and the worrying amount of milky white sauce had disappeared to leave a disappointingly dry macaroni cheese....at least I no longer have a mullet.
Week 9 - Leek & Mushroom Pie
They say a picture says a thousand words so instead of rambling on I am, instead submitting this snap of Pete 'the captain' Davies delighting at the first glimpse of this week's Leek and Mushroom Pie........"it's a cracker"
Week 7 - Upsidedown Plum Cake
When metal goes in microwaves it really does make sparks. I'd never seen this before but now I have after putting the butter and wrapper into microwave to soften it a bit. No harm done mind and I was soon stirring nicely softened butter into sugar as per instructions.
I left the oven on to pre-heat, as I halved the now very ripe plums. The flour addition was a bit of a gamble as I'd not seen the video but I used my Disaster Chef instinct and let it whir for a while before pouring over the plums and into the oven. After about 30 minutes, the cake was still very much liquid so I left it a bit longer until it rose and looked cake-like.
Although I had no taste testers this week, I must say I think this was my best effort yet. Maybe I'll microwave a bit of foil before I do any cooking from now on!
Week 6 - Sunblush Tomato, Rosemary and Garlic Rolls
To celebrate this week's task and the weather - I organised an impromptu BBQ complete with three hungry children.
After learning last week that the more flour the better - the final 'blobbing' onto the tray seemed to go fairly well. The rising dough also got an appreciative "whooo" from the kids but that was probably more to do with the yeast than my culinary expertise.
I struggled to evenly disperse the tomatoes and herbs throughout the dough. But in the end this made the final rolls look rather nice, as all the bits seemed to go to the outside where you could see them.
The verdict from the tasters that my dish was more Foccacia than roll, but this I told them was what I was going for.
Week 5 - Vegetarian Pizza
Pizza is one of my favourite meals, but usually it comes out of a packet and goes into the oven. That has been my pizza experience up till now so it was with the usual apprehension I got underway with the latest Disaster Chef task.
With a little more care than usual I followed dough kneading instruction and put it aside whilst I called up a few guinea pigs to taste the end result.
Once risen I thought I had disaster on my hands as dough stuck stubbornly to everything it touched and rolling seemed impossible but after a bit of advice on heavily flouring anything it might come into contact with, I soon had three roughly pizza shaped bases heaped with supplied ingredients and several other left over foods from previous tasks.
Once out of the oven, the final result was quite pleasing and apart from a complaint about the bottom shelf pizza being a little 'doughy' the guinea pigs will live to see another day.
Week 4 - Peach Melba Roulade
This week I have mostly been eating Roulade
To be fair I have never actually seen a Roulade before, so I don't know what it is supposed to look like, but I think this is my best effort so far!
I felt confident about making the meringue after attempting the Eton Mess. My whipped meringue looked really glossy, I wasn't sure if my meringue layer was thin enough when I spread it out but I put it in the oven for 15 minutes. I was worried that it did not look as crispy as my first meringues but Katy, my partner, said she reckoned this should be a squidgier type of meringue if I was to roll it - which made sense.
I whipped my cream - all went well this time, and added my raspberries. I was chopping my peaches but did realise half way though when I ate a bit that they were incredibly unripe (a bit of luck before I had added them) so I went ahead with just the raspberries.
I rolled my meringue and despite being unsure, this was actually quite easy. I think the meringue was perhaps a little too underdone, but even so I'm getting really inspired and I may even make this again! It was quick and relatively easy - but looked impressive, so if I was doing a dinner party this would definitely be on my menu!
My ambitions and my confidence are building!