Zoe Campbell

Week 6

Zoe - Week 6

Toad in the Hole

 A new Family favourite!

Zoe L

I was having a bit of a manic weekend and had arranged to go to PopFest to relive my youth on Sunday. But before all that I had a Toad in the Hole to prepare. Usually, if I'm heading out I'd just leave a ready meal and instructions for the microwave or better still, a takeaway menu. But this is a new start and I was excited to see if I could make Toad in the Hole as the kids absolutely love it.

I have to confess to a terrible sin, I'm a Yorkshire girl born and bred and have never made my own Yorkshire pudding mix (batter). That's absolutely shameful! But after this I will never again rely on a certain Aunt and her ready prepared puddings!

I set all my ingredients out as I'm learning that it’s so much easier to have everything organised and to hand. I popped the sausages in the oven and set to work on my batter. An equal cup of flour, eggs and milk is my kind of recipe! I mixed them all together in the Kenwood Chef Titanium and was surprised at how little effort it took to whip up what looked like a perfect batter.
 
I took the sausages out (forgetting to turn them) and put oil in the dish. After making sure it was really hot I added the batter and laid the sausages on top. I said a little prayer that the mix would rise and amazingly, after about 25 minutes, it did!

The gravy was easy to make, despite the onion still causing issues and making me glad i hadn't done my mascara, but the end result tasted delicious. I served with peas and took just enough time to bathe in a sea of compliments about a truly delicious family meal before heading out the door to party at Castle Howard with the likes of Blue, 5ive and of course one of the amazing Kenwood judges Liz Maclarnon. Amazing, and proof that you really can create a fab meal in not much time at all.

Mia and Finn have already asked when I'm next making Toad in the Hole. I don't think they can believe that mummy is making homemade pizza, cakes and bread.

I am having such a fantastic journey in the competition, fingers crossed I can carry on...

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Week 4

Zoe - week 4

Sunblush Tomato Bread

Sunblush Tomato Bread

I was unbelievably excited about this week’s challenge. In my eyes, baking your own bread is something that professionals do and I was really up for the challenge to see if I could manage it.

Zoe 4 P

Just to throw a bit of normality into the mix, my circumstances involved a teething baby, a bored nine year old and an over helpful three year old. Standard. And three of the reasons that I put off 'proper' cooking, because I find it stressful if I can't focus on it 100 %. But I figure that these are my usual circumstances and if anyone could help me, then my lovely Kenwood Chef Titanium would. 

I really enjoyed making my own bread and I already want to try out new flavour combinations. Isn't the Kenwood Chef Titanium fab?!

I feel much more confident using the mixer now and, dare I say, it feels more natural to me. I found the dough baking process quite easy as I just followed last week but for some reason the dough seemed a bit stickier. I left it to rise for an hour and knew it was going well due to constant updates from the kids!

 I then chopped up my sun blushed tomatoes, rosemary and garlic and put them in the mixer with the dough. I started mixing but had to laugh when i realised i hadn’t put the Dough Hook back on! Once the Dough Hook was on, I was ready to mix!

It didn't seem to be mixing well and I was worried it wouldn't blend, but after a few minutes the dough was tinted red so I figured it was ready. The dough seemed stringier than last week and was sticking to my hands, so I quickly kneaded a sprinkling of flour through just so I could shape it into the eight rolls, then left them to rise before putting them in the oven.

One of my main issues is timing; I never quite know when things are ready. I took the rolls out and tapped the bottom wanting to hear the hollow sound as instructed in the recipe, but it didn't sound very hollow so I left them another five minutes.

As soon as my impatient little monsters could, they were tucking in and all of the comments were positive. I was amazed and proud to have made bread, the centre was really fluffy and soft and they tasted great - although I would put a little more tomato in next time.

My little ones have already asked me to bake bread and pizza again, so I must be doing something right.

I really enjoyed making my own bread and I already want to try out new flavour combinations. Isn't the Kenwood Chef Titanium fab?!

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Week 3

Zoe - Week 3

Vegetarian Pizza

Perfecto pizza

Zoe 3 L

I had a pizza party all planned and had even invited my son’s friends round, but this all went to pot when Finn ended up in A&E over the weekend. Best laid plans eh? By Monday, I had a boy firmly on the mend and my mind firmly on pizza.

I really enjoyed making the pizza dough, I was a little unsure of just leaving it to mix so kept stopping and starting the mixer but I ended up with a well kneaded dough that easily came off the hook. I was then able to chill whilst letting the dough rise.

After an hour I went back and found a perfect ball of dough. I allowed myself a little smile of pride - I'd actually made my own dough!

I rolled out a quarter of the dough onto plenty of flour, as thinly as I could. Then came the most difficult part, finding a tray! I seriously need to treat myself to a few kitchen essentials! I found a large grill tray, covered it in foil, then greased with oil. My pizza was now ready for the toppings.

I made my tomato mix and it smelt delicious. The onion cutting was more problematic but it's certainly not the first time I've cried over my cooking!  I layered the toppings onto the pizza finishing with a healthy portion of mozzarella, but then had a disaster moment. Why had I not put my pizza on the tray before loading it down with the toppings?!  I transferred the pizza onto the tray as carefully as I could but I had to do quite a lot of rearranging before putting it into the oven.

Result - Success! It tasted amazing, maybe not quite restaurant standard, but getting there. It was so lovely to have freshly-made pizza and I've saved the rest of the dough, so the kids can choose their own toppings for tomorrow.

My husband said it was the best pizza he's ever tasted, though he did later add 'the secret of a fantastic chef is the ability to keep a kitchen tidy too'. Hmmmmmm, I think that must be in next week’s tutorial.

Your reviews

  1. I am Zoe's daughter, as mummy said she made pizza for us the next night and it was gorgeous! The best thing she'd ever made. Our toppings were cheese and ham, Yum Yum. We all enjoyed it, even Freddie had some and he's eight months.

    Posted: 01/08/2013 09:01:23 / Mia Campbell

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Week 2

Zoe - Week 2

Eton Mess

Meringue Mayhem

Zoe 1

I was looking forward to this challenge. My kids never say no to a dessert so what's the worst that could happen?!

Hmmm so hands up which 35 year old hasn't quite mastered the art of separating eggs yet? Oh yes, that would be me. After a few practice runs with two eggs becoming casualties I started whisking. I was far too hesitant here and mixed in quick bursts as I was worried about over whisking. Having never done this before, I didn't really know what I was looking for. I stopped when the eggs looked stiff and added the caster sugar and icing sugar and carried on the whisking.

I didn't have any baking paper so had to use foil and hope for the best. The result was that they stuck to the foil a little but as we were breaking them up it didn't matter too much. No prizes for presentation though!

Zoe 2I then mixed the cream mix.

I really enjoyed using the Kenwood Chef Titanium, and am now realising that even beginners can hugely benefit from this. 

 I cut the strawberries and began the layering process.

The result was a very messy Eton mess - but delicious none the less!  It’s a perfect dessert for a Sunday barbeque as it didn't make me feel stressed at all. I would definitely do this again, as my family all really enjoyed it… or maybe they were just really shocked that I made something tasty for once!

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Week 1

Zoe - Week 1

Spicy cheese and pepperoni slice

Pastry Panic

I was really hesitant to attempt making my own pastry as I've never made anything like that before. I watched the tutorial three times, took a huge deep breath and jumped right in. First mistake! I learnt that it's so important to be prepared and have everything that you need to hand otherwise you are constantly getting things out of the fridge. So I stopped, weighed out all the ingredients and set up the gleaming Kenwood Chef Titanium.

Zoe

I watched the tutorial three times, took a huge deep breath and jumped right in. First mistake!

I put the flour, salt and garlic powder into the bowl and took my cubed butter from the fridge (following instructions to keep it cool). I added the butter and turned on my mixer. I found this part easy and it soon came together into a nice dough. I made it into a ball and panicked slightly when it started melting in my hands. Quick into the fridge to rest.

The next bit took ages, chopping the veg and pepperoni - I need more practice! Grating the cheese was the fun bit - I mixed it all together and the filling looked good to go.

I then took out my rested pastry and used lots of flour so it didn't stick. I had to use a roll of cling film as a rolling pin though as I didn't have one (shameful! It's on the shopping list for next week!). It stuck a few times but I found the cutting of it fairly easy. I started to pile the filling into the middle of the pastry sheets, but messed up here as I put far too much filling in and there wasn't enough of a gap on the outside.

I then rolled the top sheets slightly bigger but found that I only had enough pastry for two and not the four I needed! Aaaaaargh! I knew it would go wrong!

I used the egg wash as glue and the first two were done but I had to re-roll to make the third, and the fourth looked like its coat was a few sizes too small and had the filling spilling out of the edge. Ah we'll, three out of four isn't bad.

They came out of the oven looking not too bad at all and they tasted fairly decent too although the pastry was quite heavy so perhaps I rolled it a bit thick.

So I survived my first week! I’m not sure my flour and grated cheese covered kitchen would say the same but it’s all clean now and ready for next week’s challenge...

Your reviews

  1. Wow , well done Zoe !

    Posted: 18/07/2013 16:57:49 / Ellen Jackson

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Zoe Campbell

Busy mum of three, Zoe, has never been a whizz in the kitchen. The only dish she can make is tuna pasta bake, which has become a running family joke. Everything she cooks ends up burnt or inedible, leading to her often resort to chicken nuggets night after night.

Her most embarrassing kitchen experience was when her husband’s boss came round for dinner. Keen to impress, Zoe decided to attempt potato dauphinoise, which ended up turning into grey watery mush. After a few tears and a bin liner full of waste, everyone was tucking into tuna pasta bake! Zoe is desperate to improve so as she can make dishes she can be proud of for her husband and children to enjoy.