Rachael Gibson

Here's how Rachael is finding the challenge

Smoked Salmon and Chives Puffs

Rachael - Week 12

Smoked Salmon and Chives Puffs

Dizzy but delighted!

Rachael - 12L

I really do believe it was fate that brought Kenwood Disaster Chef and me together!  I don’t normally have a chance to read the girly magazines and it was only by chance that I was enjoying having a catch up on all the celeb gossip in one of my colleagues mags that I found the Kenwood advert! 

Rachael 12PThe Kenwood Disaster Chef journey has given us all so much already; I really can’t thank them enough.  After rather a lot of lows, it finally feels like things are starting to go right for a change - thank you!

 It is with sadness that I write this; I can’t believe this is the last week.  I am not the only one that is going to miss the Kenwood team, Lenny is going to miss all the photoshoots and excitement created by them (although I think he does miss not getting so many cooking disaster titbits!)  We both had rather an exciting day on Friday - Radio Somerset asked us to come in for an interview about my Kenwood Disaster Chef journey so far.  I was rather nervous, having never done anything like that before, but Lenny was an absolute professional.  He had the time of his life - non-stop fuss!  I had nothing to worry about as the people at Radio Somerset were lovely; I wish we could do it all over again!  I was even treated to a cream tea afterwards by my great friend Wendy, who is 81yrs old! She has been a great supporter throughout and wanted to hear all about it. 

As you may have noticed from some of my pictures, our house is in a bit of disarray due to previous poor workmanship and I feel that if I can cook in the conditions I cooked in this week, then I can cook anywhere!
Prior to attempting this week’s recipe I was outside painting the house and, obviously not looking where I was going, turned around and walked slap bang into a scaffolding support!  Pete heard the bang and came running round from the other side of the house – luckily, my stylish painting hat must have softened the blow but I was feeling a little dizzy so I decided to go inside for a bit rather than climb up and down the scaffold!  Inside, our house has been turned upside down in preparation for the leaking kitchen roof being taken off and replaced.  The cooker had stayed where it was but everything else was all over the place! 

Amazingly, I managed to ace the Choux paste this week, despite having to do a quick run from the cooker to the Kenwood Chef!  I learnt from last week and only piped a few to start with in case it all went wrong in the oven, but they came out puffed and golden first time!  I enjoyed piping precision practice with the remainder, as I still struggle to get the shape and size I want - I was never very good at art at school!
The salmon mousse was easy and quick to make with the help of the Kenwood Chef food processor attachment; my chives were sliced in seconds!

The mousse was soon transferred into the piping bag (the trickiest part of all – even with Ben’s top tip of using the jug, I think my piping bag may be of commercial size - oops!)  After creating a small hole in the bottom of my “profiterole”, I filled one with the salmon mousse.  So much so it started to burst out!  Lesson learnt - I used a little less for the rest - perfect!  I then suddenly remembered that I would be serving a three course meal to celebs next weekend and that they may have higher standards when it comes to presentation!  Panic!  Drawing inspiration from our alter ego, “ Masterchef ”, I arranged some on the Salmon mousse profiteroles on to a pretty mini bread board, which also gave me the chance to put a special little message on it for the Kenwood team! 

The Kenwood Disaster Chef journey has given us all so much already; I really can’t thank them enough.  After rather a lot of lows, it finally feels like things are starting to go right for a change - thank you!
I look forward to meeting the other Disaster Chef finalists next Saturday, thanks to our blogs I feel like I know them all already.

By this time next week it will all be over, wish me luck everyone!

 

Your reviews

  1. Best of luck for the final! You'll be fine but might need to cook fast! Sorry I can't be there.

    Posted: 10/10/2013 22:32:54 / Peter S

  2. Good luck for tomorrow. I am looking forward to trying one of your cooked meals. Christmas lunch should be good this year with the help of Kenwood.

    Posted: 11/10/2013 22:37:16 / Barbara Florance

  3. Rachel, you are a champ no matter what! Lenny's friends----- Heather and Deric

    Posted: 13/10/2013 22:25:42 / Heather Foderingham

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Chocoate Eclairs

Rachael - Week 11

Chocoate Eclairs

Choux Paste – not quite aced!

Rachael 11L

I knew this week was going to be a challenge from my friend’s reactions, when I said I was going to attempt it! 

Rachael 11P

This week, I definitely reverted to Disaster Chef at times, but I fought hard against it and I can now say that I have successfully made a chocolate éclair!

I followed Ben’s choux paste instructions and it was going well, as the mixture became glossy and was soon ready for the piping bag. I attempted this first in a freezer bag but this was a massive fail, as I snipped the end off where it was bunched together and I ended up with two holes.  I tried holding the other hole closed while I tried to pipe but this just resulted in a big mess!  So I downed tools and managed to source myself a piping bag.  Once I had transferred my paste from the freezer bag to the piping bag (just a little bit messy!)  I tried again but by now the choux paste was too runny and I couldn’t control the shapes or amount that came out!  Still I managed to get something onto the lined baking trays and into the oven they went. 

Meanwhile, I started the pastry cream and this went well. I was delighted that I managed to successfully separate seven eggs - I am getting it finally. The pastry cream soon thickened and was ready to go in the fridge to cool. Once it cooled, I stirred in some raspberries, I couldn’t resist trying a bit!  It was out of this world, much tastier than cream! 

15 minutes was soon up and I was pleasantly surprised at how puffed and golden they looked.  I took them out and they went from puffed to flat instantaneously! On closer inspection, they were rather anaemic and only golden in places! There was a small amount of mixture left, so I squeezed this out and popped it in the oven.  I increased the cooking time for this to 20minutes, it looked perfect from the outside.  I went to remove it from my non-stick tin and it had stuck on and it had obviously overcooked as when I tried to remove it with some force it just crumbled! 

By this point I was a little in despair!  Luckily I had 2 eggs left so halved the amounts (not easy with my non-digital and not very reliable scales!) and attempted the recipe again. This time they came out beautifully puffed and golden. 

This week, I definitely reverted to Disaster Chef at times, but I fought hard against it and I can now say that I have successfully made a chocolate éclair!

Lessons learnt
• Clean oven door so I can see if things are golden
• Ensure you have enough ingredients should things go wrong
• Purchase modern accurate scales and piping bag
• Make sure my non-stick tins are not so scratched from previous disasters that they are no longer non-stick!
• Know when to call it a day when your partner has given up and gone to bed hours ago
• Have patience when it comes to melting chocolate
• Piping needs practice to make éclairs perfect

Your reviews

  1. They look wonderful, when can I have one? Love the strawberries.

    Posted: 03/10/2013 19:55:42 / Wendy Lamacraft

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Chicken and Mushoom Cannelloni

Rachael - week 10

Chicken and Mushoom Cannelloni

Holey Moley Cannelloni!

Rachel 10L

Well another few firsts for me.  I had heard of Cannelloni but I had never seen it or tasted it before this week’s challenge.  This challenge was perhaps one of the hardest as it had so many parts to it and did take me some hours.  I am starting to worry a little about the final as we have to make three courses in an unknown time scale.  I think I will need to get my skates on!  It will be great fun though, and a real challenge.

Rachael 10P

20 minutes later, we had a yummy birthday lunch of Cannelloni made by me!  What a difference a year makes! 

I never thought I would be saying this, but I spent a lot of my 27th birthday making Cannelloni (and enjoying it!) for my birthday lunch with my mum. I didn’t make my own Birthday cake; although I was tempted!  My sister made me an amazing chocolate one, so now you can understand why I wanted to be able to make a cake - so that I can start to try to repay all these fabulous creations my family have made me in the past.

To the challenge! I made my pasta dough as before.  Whilst this was chilling, I commenced the chopping.  The chopping of the veg was easy enough. As for removing all the skin, fat bones and sinew from the chicken drumsticks and thighs - this took me two hours!  I definitely need to be taught a quick way of doing this. I resorted to using my hands as my knife just wasn’t sharp enough to get through it all and I then used scissors to cut it as small as I could.  This was soon cooked; I added the parsley and left this to cool while I made my béchamel sauce.  This was the easy part!  While this cooled, I made my lasagne sheets with the help of a rolling pin and the Kenwood pasta attachment. 

While I was cooking this week, Peter was busy destroying our ceiling, so he had his tape measure handy for measuring up my pasta thickness and sheet sizing.  With the pasta pieces done, I decided the filling did not look like that in the Kenwood picture so I used the Kenwood food processor to blitz all the cooked ingredients to a smoother consistency. 

I then proceeded to make the Cannelloni cigars placing my line of filling and rolling them up.  I then poured all my sauce over the cannelloni. It had gone a little lumpy as a skin had formed and it had set a bit where it had been left to cool for so long while I made my pasta sheets!  As soon as the breadcrumbs and cheese were in place though, it looked fine.  The quick bit was the cooking. Thank goodness I didn’t put my oven on to warm up right at the beginning!  20 minutes later, we had a yummy birthday lunch of Cannelloni made by me!  What a difference a year makes! 

After lunch we popped in to see Peter’s 92 year old Grandma with some birthday cake. Being 92, she doesn’t really understand blogs, but she enjoyed hearing all about my latest challenge!  

Really excited about attempting next week’s challenge “Chocolate Éclairs!”

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Fresh Tomato and basil pappardelle

Rachael - Week 9

Fresh Tomato and basil pappardelle

I HAVE MADE PASTA!

I was really excited but also apprehensive about this week, after last week’s pancake setbacks!

With Ben back by my side I was sure he would continue working his magic and prevent a pasta disaster and make me a master!

I gathered all my ingredients together (having popped to the shops to get the previously unheard of OO flour!) and began.  I had a little issue - despite measuring out a tablespoon of oil and using 3 medium eggs, my dough didn’t combine together like in the video but using my skills learnt from the pizza and pastry dough, I knew to add a bit more oil and water until I had a decent dough. 10 minutes of sweat free kneading (courtesy of the amazing Kenwood chef) was soon up so in to the fridge it went for chilling.

Meanwhile, I excitedly put on my pasta attachment dusting it with flour so it was ready and waiting for the part where it looked like you needed to be an octopus to manage all those rolls of pasta! 

30 minutes was soon up and I halved the pasta dough.  And started to feed it through the pasta attachment on the Kenwood Chef, I worked through the different gears until gear 8 was completed.  To my amazement, I had a piece resembling pasta!  As a previous disaster chef, I have made pasta! Before this challenge I didn’t even know what Papperdelle was!

I used minimum speed and this was fast enough for me to cope with whilst I got the hang of it. I originally was only going to do half and save the other half for another day but I was having so much fun, I did the whole lot!  Having turned my clothes dryer into a very effective pasta airer, I got on with the sauce.

Ben’s tip for dicing the onion and garlic were genius - a little more practice definitely needed but my pieces were mainly fine!

Once the onion had sweated itself, I added the wine, garlic and tomatoes (luck would have it that my mum had dropped some home grown cherry tomatoes in earlier in the week so they were perfect for this sauce.)  They bubbled away and were soon soft and squishy.  I made sure that all their lovely juices were in the sauce then added the basil for the finishing touches. 

When I drained my pasta I was slightly concerned as it seemed rather anaemic (I guess I am used to yellow shop bought pasta) and very sticky but I added the olive oil as instructed and served it up as quickly as I could.  I was desperate to try it!

The verdict = it was amazing, it tasted so good, not sticky and really light and the sauce was rather tasty too.  It felt very healthy after the last couple of weeks of yummy Béchamel sauce.

I already have a friend coming round for lunch on Monday for homemade pasta, which is sat ready and waiting in the fridge.  She is a good friend and tells it as it is, so I will have a good judge in her!

I am so relieved last week was just a bit of a blip!  Can’t wait for next week!!

Thanks Team Kenwood, I am still in a state of shock that I HAVE MADE PASTA!!!

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Savoury Pancakes

Rachael - Week 8

Savoury Pancakes

One step forward three steps back

Rachael 8L

Well, what is the saying, “One step forward three steps back”?! I was starting to feel confident in the kitchen last week but this week knocked it down again. The Béchamel sauce part of the recipe went well again (and it had cheese in it, which Pete had asked for). The savoury pancakes however were the sticking point – quite literally! 

Rachael 8P

With the help of the Kenwood Chef, preparing the filling was a doddle and I had my filling chopped and waiting to fill my pancakes in no time. Although I was sceptical, as I don’t like olives very much but I trusted Kenwood and kept an open mind on the flavour combination.   

I did enjoy this week despite it not all going to plan and it looked quite good considering the earlier hiccups.

 Now, onto the pancakes. I had hoped lumpy pancake batter was a thing of the past, but having never used wholemeal flour before I wasn’t sure what to expect. I started by trying to create a paste with the 200g flour, salt and two eggs. It didn’t resemble a paste at all. I thought perhaps the eggs were too small, so I added another one but to no avail! I stayed positive and added the milk a little at a time, believing it would all be ok in the end. Unfortunately when I put my spoon into the mixture, I realised that there was milk on the top and a floury pastey sludge stuck to the bottom. So I started again!

This time I stuck to the recipe and used two eggs and 300ml milk. I put my Kenwood Chef on full power to try to eliminate all the lumps and the mixture did look better, despite being thick and somewhat lumpy. Then I tried to convince myself that perhaps this was what it was like with wholemeal flour?! 

On I went, I ladled the batter into the frying pan but it was so thick it wouldn’t spread thin and when I tried to flip it, it was stuck to the bottom. Out came another frying pan and a little more milk was added to the mix to try to make it pourable.  It was a little better and I was able to make something resembling a pancake but it was very thick and stodgy because the batter was so thick, so for the next one I added even more milk until the batter was a lot thinner, more resembling the Toad in the Hole batter. This was much more successful, the pancake was thin and much easier to turn. I must admit, I am not brave enough to flip it, so with the help of a fish slice utensil I turned my pancake, ensuring it was cooked on both sides. I then filled my pancake with the Mediterranean-inspired filling, added some cheese sauce and rolled it into a cigar shape, finishing it off with some more cheese sauce and a sprinkles of dried Parsley, as I didn’t have any fresh. 

I did enjoy this week despite it not all going to plan and it looked quite good considering the earlier hiccups.

This week I had to go to show Lenny my finished result on his bed as he was absolutely shattered (as was I after starting my new job and having a very active two year old to stay for the weekend).  I think he was still impressed - what a loyal supporter! 

Then it was the moment of truth as Pete and I sat down to tuck in.  Well, my trust in Kenwood was right, as it did taste yummy and olives are not so bad after all.

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Leek and Mushroom Pie

Rachael - Week 7

Leek and Mushroom Pie

Sceptical to no-lumps-detectable Béchamel sauce!

RACHAEL 7L

After our week off, when I saw the title “Béchamel sauce”, I was a little daunted.  I thought: “they are giving us a real challenge after our week off!”  I popped it into google as I had no idea what a Béchamel sauce was and it sounded rather technical and I discovered it was a white sauce.  I breathed a sigh of relief, as this sounded a lot less complicated! I have tried to make a white sauce many times but it has always ended up being a lumpy mess.  So this time I was hoping it would be a success!

RACHEL 7PI started by preparing my ingredients. I love the Kenwood slicing discs; they slice ingredients in seconds, speeding up what would be a very slow process by my own hand.  So my leeks and mushrooms were soon washed and sliced to perfection, ready to use.

I had a hungry office worker-cum-labourer to feed and he was not disappointed!

I then started the sauce. With the help of the Kenwood team this was so easy to make. I have discovered that it is all about getting your butter and flour into a smooth paste rather than my usual attempt, which looks like a solid lump of butter and flour. With a smooth paste, it was a lot easier to incorporate the milk into it. I soon had my “Béchamel” sauce gently bubbling away on a low heat, while I softened the mushrooms and leeks in the frying pan and added the thyme.  It smelt delicious! 

I then poured it into my oven dish. I suddenly remembered the ingredients list had two bay leaves on it, unsure where to put them I popped them in to the béchamel sauce mix.  I then remembered the wholegrain mustard with chillies just in time and swirled this into the sauce.  Pete says; “thanks for this”, he is a hot food lover, so is very pleased with the new addition to the sauces cupboard.

I then got out my puff pastry. I still struggled a little with doing the trim around the edge of the serving dish. I know I am a Disaster Chef blaming her tools again, but I must say I think my choice of serving dish didn’t help as it had variable thickness around its edges.  I managed it with the help of a few add on pieces. Once egg washed, it was ready for the oven.


The timer was soon going off and out it came. The struggle with the pastry edge was worth it, it looked so impressive and ready for eating. I had a hungry office worker-cum-labourer to feed and he was not disappointed! Shame I didn’t manage to serve it very carefully. He has requested I make it again but next time a cheese version, a chicken version or even a bacon version.  Thanks Kenwood, you have made me very popular with this quick and now easy recipe.

I just need to learn how to pronounce “Béchamel”…
Looking forward to next week’s challenge already!

P.s. I thought I would let you in on what I have been up to during my week off from Disaster Chef.  I was so proud of and inspired by my upside down cake that I booked myself onto a cupcake decorating course.  I must say, I am rather proud of them!  I must admit they supplied the cupcakes and all the tools and ingredients but we had to make the decorations (e.g. the cute little bumble bee) and pipe the butter icing on etc.  I still can’t quite believe I managed to do these – I was so excited every time I looked at them. I just need to learn how to make the butter icing etc now and then I am going to try to make them again, which will include making the cupcakes this time using a variation of the Victoria sponge recipe we made.

 

Your reviews

  1. When can I come for dinner ??

    Posted: 09/09/2013 16:58:01 / Deric Foderingham

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Week 6

Rachael - Week 6

Toad in the Hole

"On the road to success with my toad in the hole"

Rachael 6L
 
I cringe when I think about the last time I attempted "Toad in the hole"!  It was four years ago, we had only just moved into our house and I was a domestic goddess wannabe. I decided to try a home cooked meal for my friends. I thought “toad in the hole can't be too hard?" but in reality, it was a disaster. Bless my kind friends who politely picked at the bits of burnt batter on the outside and the raw batter on the inside that was literally swimming in fat, until I said “you don't have to eat it – it’s awful!” 

Rachael 6PSo I had a lot to prove, and to improve on, in this task.

I can’t believe this could be it for my Kenwood Disaster Chef journey! I really hope it isn’t, as I love challenging myself every week with each new recipe. 

What can I say? This week it all came together. The batter was so easy to make with the help of my trusty Kenwood Chef.  It was so easy I didn't quite believe I had done it correctly until it was in the oven and started to cook! The batter grew and grew around the sausages; it looked so impressive! I love the look of it in the cake tins; I would never have thought to use these for cooking it in.  It is the perfect size for Pete and I. 

The only thing I will do differently next time will be to use a jug to put my milk into before I pour it into the machine as I lost some of the milk over the worktop. 

My gravy was a little on the runny side but it tasted yummy with the onions, wine and rosemary.  Ben’s beef stock looked a lot thicker than the shop bought beef stock I used so I guess this is why.  I am sure there is a way to thicken it but I didn’t want to ruin the perfect toad in the hole I had created! 

I think this is officially the new Sunday roast substitute in our household.  It is quick, easy to make and looks and tastes lovely!  I am looking forward to having my friends over, so I can make it for them again and see their reactions!

I can’t believe this could be it for my Kenwood Disaster Chef journey! I really hope it isn’t, as I love challenging myself every week with each new recipe.  I have already learnt so much but I still have so much more to learn!!!  I am enjoying every minute! 

Your reviews

  1. Of all the contenders, Rachel's commentary is the absolute best---very real , very natural, and very funny. Every true disaster chef can relate to her kitchen challeges........"how big is a sprig?" The ever present dog wears a rather bemused look as he watches over Rachel on her culinary journey

    Posted: 03/09/2013 21:48:14 / Heather Foderingham

  2. I have only just seen these comments! Thank you so much.

    Posted: 07/10/2013 13:38:33 / Rachael Gibson

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Plum Upside Down Cake

Rachael - Week 5

Plum Upside Down Cake

“No need to fake bake or frown at this upside down cake!”

Well, the week had come for the much dreaded cake!  A task that I avoid at all costs these days, as it leads to a lot of frustration and upset! Everything gets blamed, from my oven to my eggs.  A Disaster Chef definitely blames her tools!  I prefer instead to buy cakes or beg my mum to make one for me.  Luckily, my mum makes amazing cakes and our local shop sells homemade cakes too, which you can pass off as your own!

Ben’s tutorial made it look easy, I started to hope that maybe it really was!  Having learnt from previous weeks, I weighed and prepared all my ingredients before I started, so that I couldn’t mess these vital parts up in my panic.  I then set the Kenwood Chef to work, the sugar and butter really does change to a pale colour – I have never seen this before!  Ben’s tip of adding one tablespoon of flour with each egg to stop the mixture splitting is brilliant, I think all my previous cake mix attempts have had this happen. 

I am still having a few issues with cracking eggs but I am determined to get there one day!  I soon had a cake mix ready to go – it actually looked like cake mix.  But I was determined not to get too excited just yet (although secretly I was ecstatic!).

Well, Cartouche! Why have you not come into my life before?! Whenever I’ve attempted cakes before, I spent forever drawing round cakes tins, cutting out my greaseproof, to find it wasn’t quite the right shape!  As long as you don’t miss one of the folds, it is so quick and a perfect shape and size.  Ben you are full of amazing little tips! I really like the cake mix Blue Tac for holding the circle into place!

My plums were soon cut using Ben’s helpful technique and the cake was almost ready to go in the oven. Then thirty minutes of anxious waiting.  To keep me distracted, I made a second cake; knowing my usual cake track record I thought I would need a second attempt!  Thirty minutes was soon up, WOW it looked amazing! It had risen, like I had never seen before in my own oven! 

Unfortunately my heart and cake, sank when I removed it, as although it looked golden on the top, it wasn’t cooked in the middle. I popped my second cake in the oven and extended the time to 40minutes. This time it was cooked to perfection.  Not wanting to waste my first cake I popped it back in the oven and continued to cook this until it was cooked all the way through.

I have learnt so many new skills this week; it has been the best yet!  My cake may not have been perfect first time but it looked like a cake, which is a massive improvement!  I am pleased to say my second cake was pretty much there, I think?! 

Thank you so much Kenwood, I have successfully made a cake!!!!!  

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week 4

Rachael - Week 4

Sunblush Tomato Bread

“You’ve got to roll with it!”

Rachael 4 L


Well this week has been a “roll”er coaster of ups and downs!  Let’s just say I have stayed true to my Disaster Chef roots!  After a long and hard night shift, I felt like a milkshake for breakfast. When making it I accidentally spilt a pint of milk over the whole power unit of my beloved Kenwood Chef!  Unsurprisingly it died a sudden death!  I contacted Kenwood in a state of panic, I was rather emotional.  By some miracle they took pity on me and my new mixer arrived on Friday morning giving me plenty of time to attempt this week’s recipe.  It will be a long time before I am able to enjoy a milkshake again without thinking of that awful morning! 

Rachael 4P

On the new Chef’s arrival I studied the manual again and watched the Kenwood promo video again, to ensure I had not forgotten anything vital! All I can say is I now have a long Christmas list of desired Kenwood Chef attachments!    

I was now ready to attempt this week’s recipe.  I watched last week’s video again for a refresher with Ben and made a start.  The Kenwood Chef, as always, made light work of the dough and it was soon proving.  I added less water than last week and it looked a better consistency.  Dusting the bowl with flour was somewhat tricky though! 

The airing cupboard is my new proving assistant! It is just a shame I didn’t think about the aroma of garlic when putting my rolls back in there to prove again! The rolls smelled divine (shame about my washing!)

With trepidation, I used the Kenwood Food Processor attachment to chop my tomatoes and garlic. No major disaster this time, so my confidence was boosted! While the dough proved, I had time to look up how much a “sprig” was (probably another thing I shouldn’t admit to!).  The hour soon went; the dough had doubled in size and was ready to have the flavours added.  The airing cupboard is my new proving assistant! It is just a shame I didn’t think about the aroma of garlic when putting my rolls back in there to prove again! The rolls smelled divine (shame about my washing!)

I was soon looking at my uncooked rolls with pride. They looked so professional with the ripple of sun blush tomato running through them and the bits of rosemary.  Mum had popped her head in the front door as they were just about to go in the oven and was very impressed!  25 minutes was soon up and the moment of truth!  Pete said the smell was amazing as they cooked, much better than the smell of burning!  Well, they looked perfect. We enjoyed them warm for lunch and the flavours were yummy scrummy.  The dough was a little heavier than commercial bread but I am assured that this is normal?!

The events of this week have made me more determined to succeed than ever!  I want Kenwood to know I am so very grateful to be given a second chance!  I am devoting my week off next week to practicing and hopefully perfecting the skills I have learned so far!  I will keep you all updated as to how I get on!

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week 3

Rachael - Week 3

Vegetarian Pizza

No longer a pizza cheater!

Rachel L

Take 1: I put the yeast minus the sugar into the whole 250ml of warm water!

Take 2: (with some sleep!) I watched the video again, Ben used all the water for the yeast water but the recipe said a quarter! What to do?  I decided to go with the recipe as I thought what if I don’t use all the yeast mix?  I need not have worried as I used all the 250ml and more!

Rachel PI left the dough to “prove” while we popped out, I was assured we would be back within 2hrs… 4hrs later, the dough looked interesting!  With a well-floured surface I attacked it with the rolling pin, it rolled too thin too easily! I eventually got a decent intact shape with the use of a pizza cutting board as a template but on transfer to tray it stretched so much it fell apart!  I would not be spinning my dough above my head like the Italians! I re-rolled it on the template and then tipped it onto my tray!  But I had forgotten to oil it!  With trays oiled, toppings on and pizzas made to fit the trays available, in to the oven they went!  The results were pretty impressive considering! They were yummy, but dough practice is definitely needed.

The results were pretty impressive considering! They were yummy, but dough practice is definitely needed.

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week 2

Rachael - Week 2

Eton Mess

Eton Mess. What a Success!

Rachel 1

Fresh from my night shift I was looking forward to attempting this week’s challenge. I was determined to improve after last week. I had also (maybe not so wisely given my lack of sleep) organised for a group of taste testers – so the pressure was on! 

Having learnt my lesson, I weighed and prepared all my ingredients before putting anything into the Kenwood Chef Titanium.

Rachel 2

Separating egg whites looked so easy - one tap from Ben and the eggs split in half perfectly. Unfortunately, my tap resulted in egg everywhere and a shell smashed to pieces! 

After some practice I managed to split my eggs in half to separate the egg whites and, by some miracle, I didn’t break a yolk in the process! The Kenwood Chef Titanium made light work of the egg whites; a cloud of icing sugar later and I had white peaks withstanding the tip test! 

Once in the oven, off to bed I went with my alarm set. My alarm was soon going off and I ran to turn off the oven - now for whisking the cream… I have in the past managed to over whisk it rendering it unusable, so I watched over the cream like a hawk to make sure I got it just right.  Having served up my mess, it was time to take them to my friends for the taste test.

Success!  Empty glasses all-round!

Taster’s comments – too much cream, more meringue needed, but all in all it was a success and I had so much fun!

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Week 1

Rachael - Week 1

Spicy cheese and pepperoni slice

PASTRY PROWESS OR JUST A MESS?!

This morning saw me doing a lot of things for the first time; I attempted making pastry from scratch for the first time, luckily this was made easier using my Kenwood Chef, I cooked in a bikini top, which isn’t my usual cooking attire but it was 30 degrees after all and I even got up really early to cook, to prevent butter melting in the amazing summer heat! Then I was so keen to get the butter in the bowl I forgot to dice it, so ended up having to stop to remove a giant clog of butter. 

Rachel

While the pastry was chilling I chopped the vegetables, giving me time to look up egg wash (not sure I should admit to not knowing how to make this!) and then it was time to roll the pastry.  After lots of pastry patch-ups I had a whole piece of pastry roughly resembling a rectangle.  The pieces were too small, I had already overworked this piece so decided to try to make the second piece bigger.  Using a tape measure and more pastry band-aids I managed it! 

While the slices were cooking I had another go with the left over filling and some readymade pastry for more practice.  It was easier to roll but I seemed incapable of rolling anything accurately into the right shape or size. Considering earlier mishaps the end result looked OK!  My partner took the taste test and said “It dries your mouth out” – I had to agree.

My pastries didn’t go quite to plan, but I really enjoyed attempting the recipe and the filling combination was great!

I can’t wait for next Friday!

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Rachael Gibson

By day Rachael is busy saving the animal kingdom as a qualified veterinary nurse, by night she is a hopeless cook forced to heat up microwavable meals straight from the freezer. Despite her best efforts, 26 year old Rachael who lives with her boyfriend, has never been able to follow a simple recipe and ends up burning everything.

Rachael dreams of being able to cook incredible or just edible food for her friends and family. In particular, she would like to repay her long suffering boyfriend who has had to put up with her many kitchen disasters, including when she had to bake him four separate birthday cakes and even on her fourth and final try, the cake was burnt and tasted horrible.