Nikki Holmes

Here's how Nikki is finding the challenge

Smoked Salmon and Chives Puffs

Nikki - Week 12

Smoked Salmon and Chives Puffs

I feel quite sad as I write this, my final blog. What a journey it has been. I can't believe how much fun the process was and how many skills I have acquired. I also can't believe how much a shiny space age kitchen gadget has revolutionised my life and our tea times and how much I have fallen in love with cooking.

Nikki 12L

This week I feel I have demonstrated not just the skills I have learnt, but my quick thinking and creativity....all will be revealed!

Nikki 12P

But you know what...whatever happens next week, I feel like a winner any way as I have won over my family and friends...and that means more to me than words can describe. Keep everything crossed for me!

Firstly, I made the choux pastry just as I did last week and was relieved that it went smoothly! It's surprisingly quick and easy to make. Whilst the final egg was being mixed in using my whisk attachment, I chopped half of my chives and the salmon and juiced half of a lemon. This was added into my blender with the cream cheese and horseradish. In seconds I had a lovely smooth salmon mousse.

I then piped my choux pastry in to little swirls but realised that I had no baking parchment and had to rely on tin foil. After 15 minutes, my pastry was nice and "puffy". I was so happy they looked great but they were also stuck fast to the tinfoil. I did my best to slice the puffs off of it. EPIC FAIL. By doing so, I squished them and they now resembled crepes. "What would Ben Ebbrell do?" I thought...

I soldiered on... I placed my mousse into a piping bag and thought desperately of a way to avoid total disaster. Suddenly an image of a Vol Au Vent came into my head. I piped a little swirl of mousse on each "puffy pancake" and topped with a sprinkling of chives a wedge of lemon and a dusting of crack blacked pepper. The good news is...they looked rather alright and would pass as a decent starter at a dinner party. So, I'm sorry I deviated slightly from this week’s recipe, but I'm pleased that rather than throwing in the towel at the first hint of failure, I now have enough faith in myself to try and fix things when they go wrong. I hope I am able to do this at the final! THE FINAL...I can't believe I'm in the final. But you know what...whatever happens next week, I feel like a winner any way as I have won over my family and friends...and that means more to me than words can describe. Keep everything crossed for me!

Your reviews

  1. Congratulations Nikki was lovely to meet you and your family :) xxx

    Posted: 16/10/2013 08:30:55 / elaine hurren

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Chocolate Eclairs

Nikki - Week 11

Chocolate Eclairs

I've got a flair for éclairs!

Nikki 11 L

I feel a bit sad this week for a number of reasons. Firstly because the competition is drawing to an end, and secondly because I am not an octopus. That's right folks...as I don't have eight arms and three hundred pans, I don't initially hold out much hope for this week. I'm not exactly sure how to make custard, a raspberry purée, choux pastry and melt chocolate simultaneously but hey ho, I thought I would give it a whirl anyway.

Nikki 11 P

I love food and cooking more than ever and feel now that I have the confidence and skills to start experimenting more.

First I decided to get organised, and measure out all of my ingredients for the pastry and filling. I started by making the custard. I whisked the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract, whilst my milk was boiling on the hob. I then added the flour and corn flour to my egg mix, whisked again, adding the hot milk and returning it to the pan. I was holding my breath, half expecting scrambled egg, but was relieved to find that the mixture thickened nicely into a lovely custard! Once that was done, I poured it into a bowl and added to the fridge.

Next was the choux pastry. After boiling some butter, water and salt in another pan, I removed it from the heat and added the flour. I then put all of this into my Kenwood Chef. At this point, I didn't think it looked too great, and couldn't imagine it turning into éclairs. I used my whisk attachment to fold in four eggs and let the machine do its magic. I shouldn't have doubted it, as in no time at all, I had a lovely, glossy pastry.

Then it was time to tackle a piping bag. Never in my thirty years have I ever used such a contraption. I had more mix on my cupboards, in my hair and on the floor than in the bag...so I managed to pipe about eight éclairs. It took me the best part of an hour due to a serious nozzle malfunction. I popped them into the oven, and then, using my blender, puréed some raspberries. I stirred the purée into my chilled cream and it turned a lovely marbled pink colour.

When the éclairs had cooked...I was surprised. They looked okay. I mean they did look a bit on the flat side so I decided to make an "éclair sandwich" to fluff them out a bit. So I was now down to four very fat éclairs. I topped with melted dark chocolate and put them in the fridge to set.

I honestly cannot believe in such a short space of time I am making recipes like this. I love food and cooking more than ever and feel now that I have the confidence and skills to start experimenting more. As for the éclairs, they were a huge hit! I was marked down for presentation, but given full marks for taste. But as the final looms near, I feel under a lot of pressure. "You had better win this" quips Jimmy looking around the kitchen. "It looks like there's been a nuclear explosion in this kitchen. Ben doesn't get in this state on his videos."

Your reviews

  1. Well what can I say, she calls me round every week to sample her wears. Nothing could of prepared me for the state of her kitchen when I got there. This custard was even hanging off her hair, and the apron did not even look remotely like her lovely clean Kenwood apron. I have never seen such a big eclair, but it tasted divine. I then felt sorry for her and helped clean up the fall out. I think Ben needs to show her how to be a tidy chef! Well done though Nikki xx

    Posted: 03/10/2013 09:07:14 / Jayne Eby

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Chicken and Mushroom Cannelloni

Nikki - week 10

Chicken and Mushroom Cannelloni

Cannelloni capers

Nikki 10L

After last week I can't wait to get cracking at making cannelloni. I must say, I feel much more confident in making it than a) spelling it and b) saying it. I can't wait to use my fancy pasta roller again - I love that attachment!

Nikki 10P

Just when I thought my Kenwood machine couldn't have any more talents, it proves to be quite a good children's entertainer.

I set off by making the pasta dough like last week. Once that has been in the fridge for half an hour, I roll it out then pass it through the rollers of the attachment until it is long in length and nice and thin. At this point, I have an audience. My Kenwood machine seems to have an almost hypnotic effect on my son - It's the first time he has been quiet all day. Just when I thought it couldn't have any more talents, it proves to be quite a good children's entertainer. I allow the pasta to rest, and avoid draping it about my person this time; instead I leave it on appropriate work surfaces.

Whilst it's having a rest, I slice the mushrooms, crush the garlic and slice some shallots. At this point, I have tears streaming down my face. My husband rushes to my aid...he thinks I've lost a digit. He's relieved to discover it was just the onions making me sob silently. I fry off the chicken and add the other ingredients into a pan to cook through. I then place them in a bowl, and stir through the parsley. It looks great.

I then set about making my cheese sauce, which I am a dab hand at now. (Since I have discovered this talent we have eaten a lot of cauliflower cheese at chez Holmes). At this point, I feel that my pasta has done enough resting, and I cut it into rectangles which resemble lasagne sheets. I then add some sauce and filling, and roll. I place the rolled pasta side by side into a dish and then cover it with my creamy cheese sauce. I pile on some grated cheese and a few bread crumbs and pop into the oven.

Once the cheese is melted and golden, I pop it out. It smells wonderful. I can't quite get over how easy this dish was. Needless to say, it got demolished. My Jimmy decided he wanted seconds. "Lovely this...your best week yet. And your salad is nice." I look at his empty plate. I look at the empty packet of parsley on the side...not only had he polished off all the pasta...he polished off the parsley too. Looks like tea time disasters are not quite over in this house just yet!

 

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Fresh Tomato and basil pappardelle

Nikki - Week 9

Fresh Tomato and basil pappardelle

Pasta Peril

I must admit, as excited as I was about using my new pasta attachment, I was also slightly nervous. It looked complicated! But, I couldn't have been more wrong. It was, much to my relief, easy to use and easy to clip on to my Kenwood Chef Titanium. In fact, the Chef is the multi-talented domestic appliance for dummies. It is possibly the only electrical appliance in my entire house that I know how to use! 

My family were very excited about this week, as they are huge pasta lovers. I would never have dreamed of cooking homemade pasta before, but something magical happened... my fear of failure had gone and I was just desperate to have a go! 


First, I made the dough using my Dough Hook attachment by combining flour, eggs, salt and olive oil. I then let this rest in the fridge for a couple of hours before rolling it out and passing it through my pasta attachment. It is unsurprisingly amazing. It mesmerises me as the pasta glides through it! I passed the pasta through until it was nice and thin. The guide on the attachment really helps and it doesn't stick at all. 

Once this is done, I set about cutting my pasta into strips like Ben demonstrated in the video. However, I found that once cut, the strips got stuck together! I repeated the process of passing the pasta through the attachment and then made sure it was well floured to prevent it sticking when I cut it. Thankfully, this seemed to work. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a sharp knife, so my pappardelle wasn't pretty. In fact, it looked like I had cut it with my teeth. Then, I had to allow it to "rest" so the strips didn't stick. It was everywhere. Hanging off the oven door, the cupboard handles and my neck... that's right. I ran out of room so I had pasta draped around my neck like a python. 

Whilst the pasta was resting in various places, I made my sauce. I diced the onion, added (way too much) white wine and then garlic and the chopped tomatoes. Ooooh it smelt nice. I was meant to add basil but I couldn't find it so stuck a bit of parsley in instead. As that was cooking, I added the pappardelle to a pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. 


The finished result... what a lovely, light, tasty meal. With a bit of parmesan on the top, it was really enjoyable and passed the taste test. Even the pappardelle looked ok when it was cooked, although I need a bit of practice.

My husband swore it tasted slightly of perfume after he observed me wearing the pasta like a scarf... but I think that's the fragrant flavours of the ingredients he could taste.

Bring on week 10! 

Your reviews

  1. Truly amazing this week, We all love pasta, so it was very spiecial to have fresh pasta. Even though it had been everywhere before it hit the plates. I can say the only place in the kitchen that didn't have pasta hanging off it was the chanderlier. Very very yummy though, well done Nikki on another good week, thanks Kenwood also, she couldn't have done it without you.

    Posted: 02/10/2013 11:35:13 / Jayne Eby

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Week 8

Nikki - Week 8

Savoury Pancakes

Week 8... it went great!

Nikki 8L

I am very pleased to report that I am back in the running! After last week’s disaster I had serious concerns, but after making Béchamel sauce every night for a week, I can now make it in my sleep, so that part of the recipe was a piece of cake!

Nikki 8P

I was so worried it would stick! To my amazement it didn't, and I even managed to flip it! (One landed on the floor, but I just gave my husband that one... serves him right after his comments last week!)

I started by chopping my chorizo, spring onions, basil, sun blushed tomatoes and black olives. Then, I placed my wholemeal flour, eggs and salt into the bowl of my Kenwood Chef Titanium and whisked them together, whilst slowly adding in the milk. In no time I had a lump less batter. I couldn't imagine not having my trusty Kenwood by my side now, as daft as it sounds, just having it there to use makes me more confident and willing to try things I wouldn't have dared to before.

 

With the batter made and the ingredients prepped, I set about making the cheese sauce. First, I melted the butter and then, added some plain flour to make a roué. Then, I turned up the heat and slowly added milk, stirring away any lumps. I seasoned and added in grated cheese. The result... a smooth, creamy sauce, not watery gruel like last week!

 I then ladled my pancake mixture into a pan and held my breath... I was so worried it would stick! To my amazement it didn't, and I even managed to flip it! (One landed on the floor, but I just gave my husband that one... serves him right after his comments last week!) My pancakes were perfect, light and fluffy, I can't believe they were so easy to make!

 I then placed the ingredients which I had cooked through, onto a pancake, rolled it and topped with my cheese sauce. Everyone loved them, they were so tasty and I can't wait to make them again. My husband even commented that my cheese sauce is the best he's ever tasted! But then he asked if we could have a rest from Béchamel sauce after being made to try my attempts for the last seven days.

 

Last week, I thought I had no chance of winning, but I have learnt that even with a setback, perseverance and practice is all that's needed!  

Your reviews

  1. Yes she is back, the sauce definatly tried her, but now like she said can make it in her sleep. The pancakes were very yum yum, so a complete success. Even James enjoyed his even though his went on the floor. So the girl did good. I am really pround of all her efforts, and so is the NHS.

    Posted: 16/09/2013 07:55:26 / Jayne Eby

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Leek and Mushroom Pie

Nikki - Week 7

Leek and Mushroom Pie

More Disaster Than Master

nikki 7 l

If you look at my photograph and see me smiling, don't be fooled. After this week, I am crying inside. I'm thrilled and surprised to be in the final, but whilst I have taken six huge steps forward, this week, I took one giant step back.

nikki 7p

This week’s challenge involved multi-tasking... I knew it was going to be more complex in the latter stages of the competition, but I have to admit, I really struggled.

Whilst admittedly, this week is by far my worst to date, I feel more determined than ever. In fact, we are having leek and mushroom pie every day. Three for a week until I perfect it! I'm in it to win it!

First of all, I melted the butter in a pan and blended in the flour to make a paste and the base for the sauce, and then I mixed in the milk, bit by bit, over a high heat. Error number one... the heat was too high and the paste wasn't blending into my milk and was stuck to the bottom of the pan. Still, I let it simmer for five minutes whilst I sliced my chestnut mushrooms and leeks using my Kenwood blender attachment, which I have to say, is amazing. It's the piranha of the blender world. Seriously, all the chopping and dicing is done in seconds! I couldn't believe it! However, I had added the wrong blade and left it on for too long (I was preoccupied with trying to salvage my sauce), and I found that I had turned my leeks and mushrooms into mulch. They now resembled a hybrid of brain matter and bogies. At this point my husband thought I had been possessed by Gordon Ramsey due to the expletives that were spilling from my mouth.

Still... I soldiered on. I softened them in a hot pan, which resulted in a leek and mushroom purée. When added to the sauce with some thyme, mustard, salt and pepper, I found that I had inadvertently created a rather tasty soup. Every cloud and all that. I poured it into my pie dish, which I had bought especially, and topped it with pastry before placing in the oven.

When it came out, it looked lovely, and smelt great...until I cut it open. Oh. Words can't really describe it. My husband didn't do a very good job to hide his disappointment. "At least your pie dish is nice!" he said. "It is a shame you've relapsed... I'm starving."

Whilst admittedly, this week is by far my worst to date, I feel more determined than ever. In fact, we are having leek and mushroom pie every day. Three for a week until I perfect it! I'm in it to win it!

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Week 6

Nikki - Week 6

Toad in the Hole

Toad in the hole ....no more nasty sausage surprise!

Nikki L

I can't believe it's week six already! What a journey - I feel I have learnt so much.

After last week, I feel full of confidence...my husband however is slightly nervous. The last time he ate my famous "sausage surprise", I had to call an ambulance.

I thought it was his appendix. They told me it was food poisoning. This was my chance to redeem myself.

Nikki P

Firstly I pricked six sausages and placed them in a roasting tin to brown for six minutes. I then removed them, drained the fat and placed a drop of oil in the tin to get really hot. Whilst the tin was in the oven, I added a cup of flour and a beaten egg into the bowl of my Kenwood Chef and using my whisk attachment, I mixed them together whilst slowly adding the milk to create a smooth, pale batter. Once seasoned, I added this to the hot tin with a satisfying sizzle and placed the sausages on top of the batter.

Whilst this was cooking, I chopped a red onion and some rosemary and cooked them in a frying pan, with a (very) good glug of red wine which I allowed to reduce before adding a pint of beef stock. It smelt wonderful! I then removed my Toad in the Hole from the oven to find the sausages brown and the batter risen and crispy! It looked lovely!

As for the taste test...my husband was understandably reluctant. It's been many years since he's eaten sausages served by myself and my little boy refused to eat it initially as he thought real toads were a main ingredient but the empty plates spoke volumes! Another week...another success! The only criticism was that the gravy was too runny but this was such a quick and easy dish to make! And I'm going to experiment with the gravy until it is just right.

I have enjoyed these six weeks so much! When I'm cooking I no longer expect to fail! And having my Kenwood Chef Titanium on hand means I can whip up impressive, tasty dishes that I never thought possible! I think it's time to host a dinner party!

 

Your reviews

  1. CAN I COME PLEASE!

    Posted: 22/08/2013 11:46:58 / Jayne Eby

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Plum Upside Down Cake

Nikki - Week 5

Plum Upside Down Cake

Plum upside down cake - disaster or master?

Week five. This is it. My iron man of the competition. The ultimate test of woman and the machine. For years, my Victoria sponge has made me a laughing stock. I have lost a lot of cake tins over the years, and even the birds decide to migrate early when I have thrown a few salvaged crumbs onto the lawn. But, I'm ready. My confidence has grown so much over these past few weeks and after watching Ben’s tutorial (about 30 times) I set to work. 

I measured out all of my ingredients, chopped my plums (and thumb) and lay them skin side down in a cake tin lined with baking paper (I cheated and bought pre-cut circles, as origami is not a talent of mine). I then beat the sugar and butter on the highest setting of my Kenwood Chef Titanium to get lots of air in, before adding three eggs, vanilla extract and self-raising flower. I let the K Beater work its magic and watched, in awe, as it turned the ingredients into a pale gold, lump-less cream. I then poured this over my plums, and popped it in the oven for thirty minutes. 

I asked my husband if he wanted to lick the bowl, "Er no thanks", he stuttered. He is still experiencing post trauma from my previous attempts so I forgive his lack of enthusiasm. After thirty minutes, I tentatively open the oven...golden, risen and not incinerated....I flip it over...out it pops. I can't believe my eyes...it's out of the tin. In one piece! It's beautiful, (although one side is considerably chunkier than the other, where I didn't even out the mixture), but it's a cake, it's edible and I made it! 


I served it warm with double cream and the sponge was moist and bouncy. I am sooo happy.

This cake is definitely one of my biggest achievements in my whole life!

I've done it! I've made a cake at last!

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Week 4

Nikki - Week 4

Sunblush Tomato Bread

Homemade anti vampire bread

Nikki 4 L

Can't believe we are on week 4 already! I couldn't wait to get started this week as we love freshly baked bread in the Holmes house!

I was feeling confident but nervous, as it wasn't just my husband and little boy who were going to sample my offerings this week… but Mollie Green, a presenter on BBC radio Coventry and Warwickshire! I had been invited in for a chat about my progress and she asked specifically to bring in my bread for her to sample!

With this in mind, I made sure that I weighed the flour out exactly and sifted it into the bowl of my Kenwood Chef Titanium. I then added the salt and sugar. I then added the yeast to warm water, and after leaving it for ten minutes, added some of it to the flour mix. This time, I was careful not to add too much water as last week my dough went too gloopy and I am pleased to report that my dough seemed to be right first time!

I then chopped the garlic, sun blushed tomatoes and rosemary before kneading them well into my dough which I had left for an hour to "prove". After last week, I cleared a large space to allow for expansion but thankfully it didn't grow too huge as I only left it for an hour (rather than six). I then returned the dough to my Kenwood Chef Titanium and mixed it for a further few minutes to make sure all the ingredients were mixed in well. Then, after leaving my dough for a further half hour to rest, I made eight rolls and placed them in the oven to bake. After 20 minutes I took them out of the oven and couldn't believe my eyes! They looked amazing! My husband said if he hadn't have witnessed me making them, he would have thought they were bought from the bakers!

So Sunday morning came and, armed with my beautiful bread rolls, I go to the studio for my interview where I discuss all of my previous culinary disasters. Mollie is impressed, and described my bread as "artisan".

Just as I think it's all going so well she sinks her teeth into a roll. "Wow...there's a lot of garlic!" she says. Wait a minute...yes there is. It dawns on me as her eyes begin to stream. I used two BULBS instead of two cloves!

But I have read that there are a lot of health benefits to garlic so I don't feel too guilty. That aside, she still gives me the thumbs up (she likes her garlic does Mollie) and is very complimentary about my creation, as was my husband, although there will be no good night kiss for him tonight!

With a few tweaks I am confident that I could, with the help of my wonderful Kenwood Chef Titanium, make the perfect loaf!

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Week 3

Nikki - Week 3

Vegetarian Pizza

Pizza Perfection

Nikki 3 L

Pizza, a personal favourite, after all, pizzas have saved me from starvation over these past few years. I can't believe I'm about to make my own from scratch!

Nikki 3 P

Firstly I watch Ben's tutorial. Cor, he's good isn't he, so calm and unfazed. Not sure if I can replicate his mannerisms in the kitchen but I'll certainly try and master the pizza.

It's becoming quite apparent that patience seems to be an important part of this cooking lark, a trait I've not been blessed with, so I decide to make the dough before I leave for work on Friday. This means I won’t be tempted to put the topping on before it has had time to "prove" (look at me using the lingo, I'll have a cookbook out by the end of the year!)

Firstly, I add the yeast and a little sugar to the warm water and wait for the yeast to activate. Whilst I'm waiting, I add the flour, salt and four good glugs of olive oil into my Kenwood Chef bowl. I don't measure out the olive oil - not because I think I am as good as Ben, but because I can't find a table spoon! After adding a little salt, I add some of the yeast mixture and using my Dough Hook attachment, begin to mix the dough.

After five minutes I check the mixture and PANIC! It's gooey like glue. I ruin two tea towels trying to get it off of my hands! I think I added too much of the yeast mix, so I add some flour, say a little prayer and let my Kenwood Chef Titanium do its magic for another five minutes. The result...perfect. It looked just like in the tutorial, so I scoop it off the hook, and leave it in a bowl covered by one of the few clean tea towels I have left to "prove" whilst I am at work.

Six hours later I check my dough. It's huge. It's spilled over the bowl and started to creep up the side of the microwave. I accuse my husband of spiking it with growth hormones or something. He promises me he hasn't and tells me it's not normal and he won't eat it.

Unperturbed and hungry, I scoop it up and am relieved to find that it is pliable and I knead it into a nice neat ball before rolling it out on to a rectangular baking tray.

Then, I dice the tomatoes and garlic and put them in a hot pan, before seasoning with pepper and oregano. The smell is amazing and once the tomatoes are squishy I spread over the pizza base and add red onion, red pepper, spinach leaves and mozzarella. I pop it into a hot oven and wait. I worry that the dough will explode or something in the heat, after what I witnessed earlier, but I was relieved to discover it came out just fine...so lovely in fact that a) both my husband and my little boy wanted to eat it, and b) for the first time in my life, as I put it on the table, they both said "oooooohhhhhh" (in a good way).  I can't tell you what a proud moment that was for me. Especially as they have asked me to make it again. (I had a little tear in my eye!)

I fall more and more in love with my Kenwood Chef Titanium every week. I really don't think I could be without it now! As a busy working mum, having this in my kitchen means I can prepare everything from scratch, quickly and easily. I feel more and more confident, and just can't wait for next weeks' challenge!

Your reviews

  1. I can't believe what i'm seeing a pizza made from scratch, and my daughter looking like a prized peacock. I have to say it looked amazing and smelt lovely. Pizza is one of Josephs favorites so he was happy. So once again well done. Nikki will be better than her mum before long in the kitchen. Could week four though not entail anything containing yeast as the tea towel situation is critical at the moment.

    Posted: 01/08/2013 13:54:40 / Jayne Eby

  2. Very funny blog!! Looking forward to next weeks already! Well done on the progress you've made so far, hope it continues! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.

    Posted: 05/08/2013 13:19:18 / Bernadette Gavin

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Week 2

Nikki - Week 2

Eton Mess

Strawberry Ripple Eton Mess (An Easy Dessert That's Sure To Impress!)

Nikki 1

I was looking forward to this week as I fancy myself as a bit of a Nigella, whipping up beautiful desserts that people can't resist, but until now my desserts have spelt disaster. I was a bit nervous about making meringues, any recipe involving the use of eggs has always run the risk of salmonella, but after last week I'm feeling quite confident!

So, I start to separate the whites from the yolks, I found this really tricky and it took me the best part of twenty minutes to fish out all the bits of shell that had made it into the bowl! I think I got most of the shell out, but I wasn't too worried as meringues are supposed to be on the crunchy side after all! Then I put the egg whites into my Kenwood Chef bowl and whisked them until they started to form stiff peaks.

Nikki 2

They started to change in consistency really quickly and it was so much easier than whisking for ages by hand. I then added the caster sugar and icing sugar and continued to whisk again until it was nice and thick. I was going to test the mixture by holding the bowl up over my head but wasn't quite brave enough! So, I then dolloped them onto a lined baking tray and popped them into the oven with the door slightly ajar for two whole hours! They were the longest two hours of my life! I was so worried they would burn being in that long but they came out intact, although they didn't look too pretty, a bit like white cow pats.

Whilst they were baking, to distract myself from opening the oven door every five minutes to make sure my meringue masterpieces weren’t slowly incinerating, I set about making the filling. Into the mixer went the whipping cream, vanilla essence and more icing sugar. I whisked this up with the whisk attachment until thick and fluffy, and then added some hulled, quartered strawberries which mashed up a little bit and gave the cream a lovely marbled effect. It smelt amazing and was so easy to do. I'm not sure if I whisked the mixture for too long, as it looked lumpy and had some juice in the middle, I panicked, but then gave it a stir and it looked fine.

Once the meringues cooled completely in the oven, I smashed them up, and layered in martini glasses the cream, fresh sliced strawberries and meringue.

I loved making this dessert, we enjoyed it in the garden and it was so light and fresh. As for the egg shell...they were none the wiser! I would never have the confidence to make meringues from scratch usually, but my Kenwood Chef makes such light work of mixing and whisking!

I would definitely recreate this again to impress my friends next time they come to dinner! It was so easy to make! I can't believe I've started to silence my critics already!

Your reviews

  1. Looks delicious! Definitely want to sample this next time I'm round......but no egg shell for me please!! X

    Posted: 25/07/2013 22:35:09 / Charlotte Durden

  2. I can't believe the transformation in my wife. I live in hope that one day soon, I will end up with more than Cheerios for dinner. Whilst she gives her Kenwood Chef more attention than me, it's a welcome addition to our home let me tell you.

    Posted: 25/07/2013 23:12:03 / Jimmy Holmes

  3. The end results look amazing Nik, but the egg shell is a worry!! I might be brave enough to come round for lunch one day soon if this progress keeps up!! x

    Posted: 26/07/2013 07:25:59 / Yvonne Bruton

  4. This Kenwood machine, has transformed all our lives, what my dear daughter dishes up now is beyond any expectations. For years I have tried to help her make a decent cake, but every single one ended up in the bin. It's even been put out for the birds to eat and they even turned there noses up and fled in the other direction. She is so exited that we are actually eating the food she cooks, so thank you Kenwood, you are truly amazing. Posted 26/07/2013 Jayne Eby

    Posted: 26/07/2013 14:02:42 / Jayne Eby

  5. Nikki, They look amazing. I will definitely take you up of the offer of dinner real soon. Enjoying reading and watching your results, and looking forward to Week 3 Lots of love to you and your beautiful family Xx

    Posted: 29/07/2013 21:20:16 / Denise Hibbert

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Week 1

Nikki - Week 1

Spicy cheese and pepperoni slice

Spicy cheese and pepperoni slice... Turned out nice!

Nikki 1

Well week one! I am super nervous and so excited! I can't believe how beautiful my Kenwood Chef Titanium is, I hope it will become my best friend over the next few weeks!

So, onto the recipe, Spicy Cheese and Pepperoni Slice! Sounds great, the only snag is the only spicy cheese and pepperoni slice we have eaten before in this house has come out of the freezer, and has simply involved the removal of a thin film of plastic. This time, I was expected to MAKE shortcrust pastry. From scratch. Isn't that the sort of thing you need a Michelin star to do?

Well, despite my fear of failure, I get to work. Failure number one. My scales are in lbs and ounces so I have to do a Carol Vorderman and get converting! But once that's done, I'm off! First I make sure the attachment is in place, it's so quick and easy, then I put the butter, flour, paprika and salt into the bowl. Soon I see the mixture turn into a breadcrumb consistency as required, but I'm a little worried by the colour as it has a slight orange tinge. I realise that I have used 1 tablespoon instead of 1 tea spoon of paprika!! As I add the water, it turns into a gooey consistency. I scoop it out and make a ball which I pop into the fridge.

Whilst my rather tanned looking pastry is resting in the fridge, I set about dicing the pepperoni, spring onions, red pepper which I then add to the cheddar and mozzarella cheese. It smells lovely already and so far seemed quite simple!

So out comes the pastry and I'm ready to roll! I think I may have added too much water as it seemed a little moist and stretchy! I cut 8 rectangles in total, and placed some of the filling in the middle before adding the top and sealing the edges. It looked great, until I attempted to move it from the surface and it split underneath! It was clear I had rolled the pastry too thin. So I re-rolled it and cut thicker rectangles. It definitely got better with practice. I had to brush raw egg over them with my fingers as I do not own a pastry brush (I have never needed one for a microwave dinner) and popped them in the oven!

Nikki 2

The result.....I'm pretty pleased. Maybe a little too much paprika, but pretty delicious! One slice in particular looks nice and tidy! I am as proud as punch that I made pastry. This is the first thing I have made from scratch and I love knowing every ingredient that went into my dinner! But the best thing....wiping that smug look off of my husband’s face and seeing him empty his plate...and not throw it in the bin!

 

Your reviews

  1. Well done nic!! Looking forward to reading your funny blogs each week! Good luck chick xxx

    Posted: 20/07/2013 22:20:51 / Nikki Bamber

  2. They look yummy ... Well done :) x

    Posted: 20/07/2013 22:23:55 / Jodie Lewis

  3. Good luck on your following recipes! These look tasty

    Posted: 20/07/2013 23:28:10 / Antony Eby

  4. That looks great nic, I don't think the Victoria sponge was your biggest disaster ever, your forgetting your Spanish chicken and sausage surprise. Lol. Really was a surprise. Look forward to sampling done of the delights your learning xx

    Posted: 20/07/2013 23:55:57 / Lucy dalton

  5. I have had belly ache on a number of occassions due to my daughters cuisine. But...I have to say, I was very impressed.

    Posted: 21/07/2013 08:06:01 / Jayne eby

  6. Well done Nik! I wasn't sure what this was going to turn out like. I had the Chinese takeaway on standby, but they were nice. X

    Posted: 21/07/2013 08:10:48 / Jimmy Holmes

  7. Looks delicious, wish you the best of look with this hope you win

    Posted: 23/07/2013 22:05:57 / Erica fitzgerald

  8. Loved reading your blogs, when do you get your own show?? :)

    Posted: 25/07/2013 23:43:09 / Karen Eby

  9. Well done Nikki!!! Looking forward to watching your progress :o) x

    Posted: 31/07/2013 14:44:19 / Kay

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Nikki Holmes

Food lover Nikki loves to host dinner parties at home, but instead of enjoying her food, friends and family end up mocking it. Nikki is desperate to learn how to whip up some tasty cuisine so she can avoid being ridiculed, setting her kitchen on fire or nearly losing a finger! Most of all Nikki wants to please her son, as her recent attempt to bake a Victoria Sponge for his pre-school cake sale resulted in her having to buy some muffins from a shop instead.