Maria Catania

Here's how Maria is finding the challenge

Week 6

Maria - Week 6

Toad in the Hole


Maria L

I was hoping this week’s challenge would be changed, as I have attempted this dish before and it was a disaster.  It could probably be named one of the top 10 most disastrous meals I have ever cooked!

So, I'm sorry to say I wasn't jumping for joy this week, unlike my son who had toad in the hole at a restaurant a while back and so lovingly said, ''mummy I love that, do it properly’’! I couldn't let my number one judge down, so I got sorted and prepared everything I needed.

I went to my parents’ house to cook this meal on Sunday to replace the usual Sunday roast; so the pressure was on.  I started off by making the batter and thought to myself ‘I'm sure these are all the ingredients to make pancakes!’ Keep focused Maria!!

The Kenwood Chef Titanium whisked all the ingredients together so rapidly and made a gloriously smooth batter.

I then part-cooked the sausages and made the gravy. When I used the red wine for the gravy I couldn't help but think ‘wow, look at me using red wine in cooking!’ I must admit it did make me feel proud! Then I took the tin of oil out and put the sausages back in, which nearly took my face off as I may have left the oil in for too long!

I added the batter, put the tin in the oven and waited. The oven I was using could be seen through, so I kept peeking through the glass every five minutes. The batter rose higher and higher and looked golden and crisp. I was so happy, it looked so good and I hadn’t even tasted it yet! When I did, I was one proud mummy. It was delicious, the gravy was so rich and the batter was heavenly. Sam approved and had three servings – what a result!

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Plum Upside Down Cake

Maria - Week 5

Plum Upside Down Cake

“No mum it's not shop bought, I actually made it!”

When I looked at this week’s tutorial, I thought to myself ‘if I get this right I will be in my mum's good books for eternity’.

She loves sponge cake, but in light of all of my past attempts to make cakes, I cringed at the thought of it all going wrong. However, I didn’t have the Kenwood Chef Titanium then!

First things first, I called for my son Samuel to come in as his favourite bit is to turn the speed dial up on the Kenwood Chef Titanium.  I started combining the ingredients and slowly added the eggs and flour. I thought it was a good tip adding a bit of flour after you added each egg so it wouldn’t curdle.

I then put the rest of the flour in and let Sam turn the Kenwood Chef Titanium on. All of a sudden the flour puffed up right in my face, Samuel thought it was the most hilarious thing he’d ever seen - I did not! I realised I hadn't attached the splash guard - that'll teach me!

Once I’d tidied myself up, I prepared the plums and arranged them in the tin, before adding the mixture. I was a little worried because the tin I was using was quite deep, but I put it in the oven and when the 35 minutes were up, I opened the door to have a look. It was far from cooked - oh dear! I rattled my brains and thought okay, I’ll just put the gas mark up higher and then I checked it again 10 minutes later and it looked nice and brown on top. I put a knife through the middle and the knife came out with mixture on, so back in the oven it went on a lower setting for 15 minutes. Finally, I took the cake out, turned it over, and it looked great and tasted delicious! Hooray!

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Week 4

Maria - Week 4

Sunblush Tomato Bread

Okay here we go again, a dough recipe - I CAN DO THIS! If I epically fail at this I will have to bow my head in shame.

Maria 4 L

I started off well; making the dough up with my new best friend, the Kenwood Chef Titanium. I remembered things from last week in preparation of the dough so I started to feel confident.

I then had to let the dough rise, but I learnt from my mistake last week and left the bowl well hidden so cheeky little hands wouldn't get to it. Before I had to check the dough, I prepared the sundried tomatoes. They came in a packet with garlic and oil, so I drained the oil off and cut some more garlic up (more the merrier I say).  I also cut up the tomatoes - I had never eaten them before so I was a bit dubious as I have been use to pretty much only eating bland food.

The Kenwood Chef Titanium combined the dough with the tomatoes and garlic, but the mixture looked a bit sloppy. I had a bright idea and added flour, so after mixing again it looked a bit better, but still a bit on the sticky side. Then I realised my hiccup! I hadn’t drained the tomatoes properly - what a numpty!!

Oh well - into the oven it went and, for some reason, I felt confident they would come out okay. Did they? Ohh yes!

They looked a little bit like red cakes but, do you know what, they tasted awesome!

I was a lot more confident this week and will definitely be making this recipe again!

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Week 3

Maria - Week 3

Vegetarian Pizza

Kenwood Chef Titanium- my new best friend!

Maria 3 L

I was really looking forward to making a pizza for this week’s challenge. My friend makes amazing pizzas and I often go round to her house to eat them with my son and he always comes away with the biggest smile on his face. I hate to admit it but I am so jealous – if I could pull this one off, I’d be very proud of myself.

Maria 3 P I started making the dough and it was really simple. I’ve always thought, anything that involves yeast is a ‘no go’ area as it can be very difficult. So I was a little apprehensive but everything was going well!

I love using the Kenwood Chef - it does all the hard work for me, and it doesn't complain!

I sat back while the Kenwood Chef Titanium did all the hard work for me!

I then covered the dough, but to my stupidity, I left the bowl on the work surface! I walked in 10 minutes later and saw my sons hands in the bowl. He looked up and said ''mummy, this is good play dough'' - aaagh!

The dough doubled in size! (EVENTUALLY), so I began to prepare the sauce - it smelt so nice. I used the Food Processor attachment to the Kenwood Chef to slice the vegetables up and, yet again, it made easy work for me, which is always a bonus.
The pizza looked great before it went into the oven so I was hoping it would taste as good as it looked. To my surprise it did – and it wasn’t burnt!

I love using the Kenwood Chef Titanium - it does all the hard work for me, and it doesn't complain!

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week 2

Maria - Week 2

Eton Mess

I Hope I Don't Mess This Up!!

Maria 1

I couldn't wait to get stuck into this week’s challenge, as I love desserts with a passion, so if I messed this one up I would not be very happy!

The tutorial looked easy but I was worried the meringues would be flat as a pancake – so I tried to use the power of positive thinking!!

The first step was pretty easy and I thought I was on a roll; I put the meringues in the oven and started the agonising wait.

Maria 2

Finally, it was time to look at the results - shock horror; they were pretty amazing (well I thought so anyway!)

I was so chuffed but then, when it came to the whisking of the cream, I over whipped it and the cream became a block in the centre of the bowl. I quickly came crashing back to earth, but once I added the strawberries it didn't look too bad and tasted delicious.

I really enjoyed using the Kenwood Chef Titanium - my son keeps looking at it every time he walks past (come to think of it so do I!) I also like it because there aren’t a hundred and one things to clean!
Next time, I think I need to work on timing and pay closer attention to what's going on.

I decided to invite my parents round to try my creation. As usual, they made their excuses, but I wasn't having any of it, so they tried it and they thought I had bought it from the shop! Charming!

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Week 1

Maria - Week 1

Spicy cheese and pepperoni slice

Maria and the Kenwood - we did good!

I was really excited but daunted to unpack the box ready for my first challenge. I watched the tutorial video, which made it look simple, but I still had a few reservations.

The first step was to combine the pastry ingredients. This was quite easy to do, and the Kenwood Chef Titanium made light work of making the pastry, which is something I would have never have been brave enough to tackle before. Admittedly, I realised after that I had used the balloon whisk instead of the correct attachment but it seemed to make the pastry fine anyway!


I went to grate the cheese as in the video, but realised that the cheese provided was already grated - oh well, less washing up I guess!

As I was nervous I made a paper template to cut the pastry to calm my nerves about cutting the right size.

I took the rest of the prepping slowly to make sure I did everything just so, as I didn't want it to end up being an absolute disaster on my first try!

I eagerly awaited the buzzer of the oven to see if my slices came out. I was unable to see though the oven glass so it was a nerve-racking wait.  As I sat wondering how they were going to turn out, I ended up leaving them in the oven for slightly too long and went into my usual panic mode!

I opened the door and wow! They looked browner than my fake tan!

I cut one open, everything looked great and the taste was pretty impressive considering!

I did think that the pastry was too slightly too thick, but all in all it was not a complete disaster! My son loved them, what kid wouldn't. My first proper pastry dish - I’m so proud.

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Maria Catania

Single mum Maria is desperate to make delicious, healthy meals for her five year old son but, despite her best efforts, just can’t seem to get it right. Attempts to cut corners and silly mistakes constantly lead to cooking disasters, meaning they often end up with fish and chips from the local chippie.

Maria’s worst cooking disaster involved accidentally dropping a spoon into her blender whilst attempting to make gravy for a family Sunday roast. The spoon cracked the plastic casing, resulting in gravy flying everywhere. Her guests arrived and hurriedly gathered in the kitchen to compliment the delicious smells, but just at that moment a huge lump of gravy fell from the ceiling and Maria quickly realised her kitchen ceiling was covered!

Despite her numerous kitchen disasters, Maria remains determined to turn her culinary skills around so her son can grow up enjoying nutritious home-cooked food.