Here's how Laura is finding the challenge

Week 6

Laura - Week 6

Toad in the Hole

Lesson 6:  A glug of oil is not half a mug !

Laura 6L

I was really looking forward to this week as I had arranged for my boyfriend’s dad and friend to visit so I could cook them dinner. This was my first time cooking under pressure and I was more confident than ever that i could cook a nice meal!

Laura 6PI started off by mixing the ingredients together for the batter, I love how easy the Kenwood Chef Titanium makes it!

I then started on the sausages. I forgot that i had frozen them so i had to defrost them for quite some time before they were ready to cook. I was a bit horrified by how much fat came out of the sausages - YUK - so i drained that away and placed more oil in the bottom (I later realised this was way too much!)

I poured the mixture in and then placed it into the oven. I decided to make one big one as i was unsure if they were meant to be separate so just went in for the kill! I’m sorry Kenwood, I know it said don't peek, but i did! I think this may have contributed to the batter not being cooked enough at a later stage.

I left it in the oven for 25 minutes and when I got it out it was very runny in the middle still (by this time our guests had arrived so I was getting into a right state!).  In it went for another 10 minutes but it was still quite runny, so I decided to try and drain some of the oil out by turning the Toad in the Hole upside down . Surprisingly, this worked, and after another 10 minutes in the oven the Toad in the Hole smelt and looked delicious.

Combined with the fresh gravy and the peas, the Toad in the Hole went down a treat. I was really pleased as my boyfriend’s dad’s friend even asked to take the rest home in a container! It can’t have been that bad, surely?!

Adding to this I also used the skills I’d learnt from the previous week to make a blackcurrant upside down cake (I think I may have enjoyed the cake more than the main meal!). This week was a great learning point for me as it was my first time cooking to a time schedule. I feel more confident than ever in the kitchen and am confident I could have guests over for dinner a lot more often... well, maybe not that often!

 

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Plum Upside Down Cake

Laura - Week 5

Plum Upside Down Cake

Lesson 5: If you’re baking a cake you’re going to need a cake tin!

It’s not looking good, I’ve just mixed the butter and the sugar together and realised I haven’t got any self-raising flour. I have bread flour and plain flour and my cupboards are having a bit of a flour overload. Anyhow, after my boyfriend whizzed to our local store I was then back on track. I mixed the remaining ingredients and went onto the next step, lining the cake tin, WAIT WHAT? I’m making a cake and I need a CAKE TIN?! Who would have thought?! Luckily we found one in a shop on the high street.

Back home, I thought ‘this must be it now; it’s going to come together!’ Luckily it did

I went to line the cake tin with my plums (at this point my boyfriend pointed out to me that I had purchased nectarines - are these not the same thing?!).

I then poured on the mixture and placed it in the oven for half an hour, the house started to smell amazinngggg! 

When the cake first came out, after half an hour, I cut into it slightly and the mixture was still really runny and came oozing out of the top!! So, in it went again for another ten minutes, I took it out again and cut a piece out thinking it was definitely done and it still wasn't!! The bottom part of the cake was still really runny! By this time one side of the cake had got slightly burnt so I lowered the oven temperature and put it back in for another ten minutes. Third time lucky let’s hope… when it came out this time I was very impressed, I have to say, it looked brilliant (although a minor burn) and was a nice soft texture.

When we cut into the cake, the sponge was a really nice texture and the nectarines looked like they had softened a lot. I sprinkled the cake with icing sugar to cover the few minor burns. That evening, I took it to my boyfriend’s dad’s for dinner and everyone really enjoyed it! I have to say, this week was a challenge and had the most hiccups yet, however, the cake was by far the yummiest recipe I’ve made so far!!!

Your reviews

  1. I have just realised from everyone else's pictures that i forgot to turn the pudding upside down !! Bad Times.....

    Posted: 16/08/2013 11:40:22 / Laura Hind

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week 4

Laura - Week 4

Sunblush Tomato Bread

Sun-dried Tomatoes Taste Nicer Than They Look!

Laura 4 L

I was horrified when  I saw this week had no video tutorial, however, I got on with it feeling confident from the previous week and started to prepare this week’s recipe!

Laura 4 PI started off by mixing the four, salt, sugar and yeast together until I had a smooth dough. After leaving for one hour, I then returned to find it had risen and added all of the additional ingredients. This was the first time I had seen these kind of tomatoes and although they looked like baby lobsters, they smelt delicious!! I then rolled out eight rolls and placed on the baking tray for a further 30 minutes. After this time I placed them in the oven for another 25 minutes. When they came out I was really pleased, they had risen into nice round shapes and when I cut into one of them the dough was so soft. Then, when I tasted one, I couldn’t believe that I had made them - they tasted like something you would receive in a restaurant, I was chuffed!

After this week, I feel more than ever that my cooking skills are starting to develop and improve. The last few weeks I have had my boyfriend on hand to guide me and make sure I was doing everything correctly. But this week I felt confident to go at the recipe completely on my own in the kitchen and I feel it really paid off.

I’m starting to appreciate the competition more now and feel lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to learn the skills I’ve always wanted. Watch out Jamie, Watch out Gordon, there’s a new king In town!

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Week 3

Laura - Week 3

Vegetarian Pizza

Lesson 3: Learn the difference between a blender and a food processor!

Laura 3 L

This week was definitely the best week so far! I started off by getting the dough ready, this was really fun and I could see it was starting to come together to the right texture! I found yeast weird as I had never used it before, it was literally alive and bubbling which was strange! I then let the dough rest for an hourand whilst doing so had to run to my nanny’s to get some tomatoes - never prepared! When back, I started to cut all of the ingredients and mix them in the frying pan, it smelt amazing!

Laura 3 PI then moved on to blending my ingredients. WHOOOPS. A Blender and a Food Processor are completely different things Laura! I quickly got the processor working and then mixed the mozzarella, onions and peppers in together; I still find it amazing that this machine does everything for me! This was the funniest bit of the whole recipe - I LOVE PROCESSING!!

This week was particularly important to me as my boyfriend is a vegetarian and I have always wanted to cook him a nice meal that he would enjoy.  Bearing in mind pizza is his favourite meal, this was my chance to shine! 

Anyhow, back to business! I then rolled out the dough into a circle (using a plate to cut a perfect circle!!) and placed all the ingredients on top, using the tomato mixture first, as a base, and then putting on the rest. I put a few spinach leaves on top for decoration as I’m not a massive fan and placed in the oven for 20 minutes until it looked browned.

When I took it out of the oven I was in shock, HOW HAD I COOKED SOMETHING THAT LOOKED THIS DELICIOUS?!!  This week was particularly important to me as my boyfriend is a vegetarian and I have always wanted to cook him a nice meal that he would enjoy. Bearing in mind pizza is his favourite meal, this was my chance to shine! I was so pleased when he tried a piece and thought it was delicious. We both ate the entire pizza for dinner, it was that yummy!

Your reviews

  1. this pizza really was as good as it looks!me and Laura enjoyed it very much!she is definitely improving as the competition progresses!

    Posted: 07/08/2013 20:51:28 / charlie carthew

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Week 2

Laura - Week 2

Eton Mess

Make Sure The Eggs Are Whisked Until Stiff!

Laura 1

I thought this week was starting off really well. I now have my own scales, so the initial stages seemed to be heading in the right direction. I was happily sieving away and without thinking poured in the caster sugar and icing sugar. This was a big error as I clearly didn’t check if the eggs were “stiff”. About ten minutes into maximum whisking power the mixture looked far from stiff, in fact it was quite the opposite and appeared very runny!

I persisted and continued for another five minutes to whisk, however, no such stiffness occurred! I then thought I would be crafty and use my initiative by putting in some more icing sugar, this seemed to help and the mixture certainly looked as though it was thickening up.

Laura 2To my disappointment the mixture DID NOT thicken up - instead I was left with some white marshmallow looking concoction. I placed some spoonfuls onto the baking tray trying to remain hopeful. As there was so much mixture left over I decided to make one giant meringue, much to my amusement.

After two hours in the oven they still had not changed much. They had not risen and were still very flat. Adding to this, I think I whisked the mixture to go alongside them for too long as this was very thick. However, the taste test was an absolute success! Myself, my boyfriend Charlie and my boyfriend’s dad Jon all tried some and it tasted much better then it looked - very sweet and a little sickly after a few mouthfuls though!

The most important thing was that I had a lot of fun when attempting to make the meringue and I learnt a new skill that I never would have attempted before.

This week taught me to follow recipes more closely and concentrate when cooking; I hide in shame behind my Eton Mess but go to bed with a happy stomach!

 

Your reviews

  1. Lauras Eaton Mess was absolutely delicious!! Im very much looking forward to next weeks pizza!

    Posted: 26/07/2013 13:37:26 / charlie carthew

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Week 1

Laura - Week 1

Spicy cheese and pepperoni slice

Lesson 1: Make you sure you have the correct equipment!

First things first, I was very impressed with the Kenwood Chef Titanium… what more could you want than a machine that does everything for you!

Laura

This week went surprisingly well, although I didn’t have any scales, a rolling pin or an egg brush. I managed to get the recipe together with the help of a neighbour and a glass! Cutting all the ingredients together was the best bit, mixing them with the cheese and then squashing them onto the pastry was fun, although the pastry kept getting stuck to my glass rolling pin. The rectangles finally came together with the help of a ruler!

If I was to improve on anything I think it would be that that the edges of the pastry would be neater and thinner, and to ensure I have all the right equipment! However I did learn how to make pastry, which is a definite bonus!

I was surprised to look in the oven and not see an explosion whilst they were cooking! When I took them out of the oven I was really pleased I had managed to produce something so normal looking! I cut one in half and it looked really good!

Taste test verdict: NICE! I actually made something that tasted nice!! I even got my boyfriend to try a bit and he agreed this week was really enjoyable and for the first time ever, not a complete disaster!

Your reviews

  1. Laura let me have one of her cheese and pepperoni slices.I had it with a warm broad bean salad and it was truly delicious.The spice content was just right.

    Posted: 16/07/2013 16:08:58 / jon carthew

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Laura Hind

Kitchen calamity queen Laura can’t cook a meal without something going wrong, whether its burning it, giving her friends food poisoning or leaving her kitchen in a total mess, she just can’t get it right.

Laura has tried everything from cookery books to iPhone apps - but nothing helps. This is her last chance to stop living on beans on toast and start cooking some real food.