WINNER of Disaster Chef 2015!
See the winners gallery and photos of the Grand Finale here.
Week Six - Soufflé
My little Sous Chef had been looking forward to this recipe since the start of my journey. I on the other hand had not. After watching countless cookery programs where the soufflé was the contestants’ downfall and having previously attempted béchamel sauce only to have to throw the pot out, I was a bit apprehensive to say the least.
I need not have been so worried. Firstly I found out my main issues with the sauce was that I wasn’t cooking out the roux for long enough and I was using a wooden spoon instead of a balloon whisk. After addressing these problems, I had a glossy, smooth, unburnt sauce.
The rest was plain sailing (I have become a dab hand at separating eggs now!). Ramekins filled and edged. Into the oven they went (while I said a small prayer to the god of even rising!). After the 9 minutes they seemed a little pale, too much like liquid, so I left them for another 5 minutes just to be sure. I was like a giddy schoolboy when they came out both well risen and fluffy.
So for the taste test, my Fiancée said it was the best recipe attempt yet (high praise indeed!). My son however was a bit more enthusiastic with his comments “They are Awesome!” and “I would give them over 9,000 out of 10!”. So I think it’s safe to say that I finished on a definite high!
Week Five - Walnut Cake
This was the week my fiancée and son were looking forward to, but I was dreading. After my recent successes I was in a buoyant mood as I watched how easy Miranda made the recipe look.
On the very first step my fears about me and cakes were realised. I set the Chef Sense to work creaming the sugar and butter together and then moved onto to the eggs. As instructed I poured in a little at a time while the whisk was running. However once all the eggs were incorporated it slightly resembled badly made scrambled eggs! Remembering a tip from a TV chef, I put a little of the flour mixture in to start with and mixed before adding the rest... Result! The mixture now resembled cake mix and not even worse scrambled eggs. Walnuts added and into the oven it went.
The cake seemed to be rising and baking nicely so after 25 minutes looking the part in the oven, I checked to make sure it was cooked all the way through. The edges were fine but the middle seemed a little uncooked so back in it went. As I watched through the window of the oven my heart sank…much like the middle of my cake!
The filling and decoration caused little problem, however I do admit to decorating the cake with my sunken middle now on the bottom so no-one would know.
The taste test proved to be more favourable than I thought with my fiancée absolutely loving the flavour and the ladies from the Craft Club echoing her thoughts.
So maybe it wasn’t a complete DISASTER! After all.
Week Four - Pastry
I was looking forward to this week’s challenge as the last time I made my own short crust pastry it was neither light nor crumbly; more brick hard and inedible. My first issue was the “Tart Ring” as most retailers in West Lothian hadn’t even heard of it let alone stocked it. So, ever resourceful I opted for a loose based Sandwich tin and prayed that it would do the trick.
With my ingredients measured out and my confidence in the Chef Sense growing, I set to work. The pastry dough came together with little problem. Rolling it out and filling the tin was child’s play (thanks to Raymond’s Clingfilm tip!).
With the pastry case chilling in the fridge I started on the filling. I surprised even myself at how easy this had become (no egg shell in the mixture!!). I did however have to substitute the Comte Cheese for Mature Cheddar as my pregnant Fiancée would not have been able to taste my efforts as it is made with raw cow’s milk.
Tart case filled and into the oven it went, while I prayed to the God of Soggy Bottoms! After 30 minutes my tart looked rather pale and uninspiring, the filling more soup like than soufflé. So in she went for another 10 minutes and came out golden and lovely.
Once again I entrusted my culinary fate to the ladies of my Fiancée’s craft club. Rave reviews all around and not a soggy bottom in sight! My only criticism came from my eight year old boy who turned his nose up at “the green stuff!”
Week Three - Dim Sum
Having watched the video a few times and read the recipe a few more, I felt reasonably confident with this week’s challenge. Right up my street as it were!
The pasta dough came together really easily with the k-Beater, previous attempts at making pasta by hand usually left my kitchen looking like a winter scene. So dough wrapped and chilling in the fridge I set to work on the filling. This too proved to be uneventful, although I was slightly concerned about how green it was! Filling done, now to roll out the dough, this was where I encountered my first problem…
The dough must have been a bit dry as it crumbled on the first 6 times through the rollers (even on the widest setting), however I persevered and after only a dozen or so more times through, it resembled pasta. Having rolled it out to the right thickness and cut into squares, I set to work filling my Wontons. I must have been a bit over generous on the filling on the first couple of attempts, because when I went to seal one side the filling oozed out the other. With a bit of trial and error I had 12 filled wontons, 6 triangles and 6 “Chefy” looking dumplings!
Dipping sauce made and dumplings cooked, it was time for the taste test. The dipping sauce proved to be a bit too spicy for my son, however he did happily devour 6 of the dumplings. Even my pregnant (and now fussy) fiancée happily ate one and came back for more. So success all round!
Week Two - Meringue Cake
Having not made meringue since High School, I was slightly nervous about this recipe (especially the tipping the bowl over my head bit!) With sugars measured, mixing bowl cleaned and balloon whisk in the Chef Sense I set to work on separating the eggs. I even surprised myself how easy this was (only a couple of bits of shell to fish out!)
With the Chef Sense on high speed I watched as my egg whites turned to fluffy clouds, knowing that the dreaded bowl test was coming. When I was happy that I would not end up with egg on my face, I gingerly lifted the bowl over my head and...........Nothing! Success!
Buoyant with my success I remembered a trick I had seen somewhere and placed four spots of meringue on the tray before placing the baking paper on it and spreading out my mixture. Following the recipe to the letter, the rest of the components came together pretty easily.
When it came to assembling the cake I noticed that my meringues had cracked on the top, but I thought to myself “the ganache would cover this slight mishap”.
I was pretty pleased with the end result, however my son Kody said it looked “Messy, but yummy!”
After the mixed reviews from the previous challenge I decided to seek outside opinion and took the cake round to the ladies at the local craft group my fiancée attends. Rave reviews all round!
Week One - Brioche
After watching the Raymond Blanc video several times, and seeing how easy he made it, I set out to measure out my ingredients. This was where I encounter my first problem! While getting scales out of the cupboard I managed to lose my grip on them and they smashed to the floor.
With newly purchase scales, I measured my ingredients and set to work. I was surprised how easy it was with the mixer and how clean my surface was! After a fight with the greaseproof paper, the dough spread out and was put into the fridge.
After another fight the paper(!) I rolled the dough up and put it in the tin to prove. For some reason the dough hadn’t risen much after 1hr, so I left it for another hour before baking.
My son Kody’s face was a picture when he tasted it. He said “it might be nicer with butter on it!
Kenny, father of five with another on the way, is a full-time Carer and Children’s Entertainer but after his latest culinary disaster, he should probably add ‘Fire Juggler’ to his titles. Kenny had hoped to impress his Gran with the perfect Sunday lunch. However, after over-zealously dousing his mini Yorkshire puddings in oil and carefully placing them in the hot oven, the entire oven erupted into flames! The Roast Beef was burnt to a cinder and after putting out the fire a takeaway was needed to save the day. Although his Gran graciously thanked him for a wonderful night’s entertainment, Kenny hopes the Kenwood Disaster Chef competition will put an end to his dependency on last minute takeaways.