Thomas Jenkins

Here's how Thomas is finding the challenge

Week 6

Thomas - Week 6

Toad in the Hole

Childhood memories

Thomas 6L

So Toad in the Hole - this is a dish I haven’t had since I was a child. My memories of delicious onion gravy dripping from my fork and the crisp Yorkshire pud -  mmmmmmmmm! So with this in mind, I throw myself at this task.

Thomas 6P

Ben Ebbrell’s tutorial video makes it look easy but I have learnt from the previous weeks to be cautious. I gather all the ingredients – and put the sausages into the oven.

When the 25 minutes was up, I took the pan from the oven. The Yorkshire pudding had risen beautifully and with the peas and gravy, it made a very satisfying meal that took me back to my youth. I will definitely be making this again; it is very straight forward and most excellent.

I start on the batter, adding the flour first then eggs and I start mixing. This Kenwood Chef Titanium makes cooking so easy! With the milk added, the batter is done - until I realise that I forgot to season it. With the seasoning rectified, I move onto the onion gravy.

Onion chopped and cooking, I chop the rosemary, adding it to the pot.  The smell is making me very hungry. I took the sausages from the oven and added the oil to the pan and placed it back in to heat the oil as instructed.

When the oil was shimmering, I added the sausages back in and poured over the smooth batter, adding it back into the oven.

The only negative from this whole task was my gravy. The stock I had for it was from a cube so it was much thinner than the one we see in the video, so the gravy was a lot thinner than I would have wanted but the flavour was pretty damn good if I do say so myself.

When the 25 minutes was up, I took the pan from the oven. The Yorkshire pudding had risen beautifully and with the peas and gravy, it made a very satisfying meal that took me back to my youth. I will definitely be making this again; it is very straight forward and most excellent.

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Plum Upside Down Cake

Thomas - Week 5

Plum Upside Down Cake

Getting into a right plum!

I was astounded to find an 18cm cake tin in the cupboard, as I am sure it wasn’t there last time I looked. With that mild panic out of the way, I gathered the ingredients together. Upon realising that my nice ripe plums appeared to have vanished, I made a quick trip to the shops and was then ready to go.

I have never been a big fan of cakes but I have to admit, I do like the idea of being able to make a nice cake, as it could be very useful when guests come round for food.

Normally, my wonderful better half would be cooking, as she is ace, but I have a plan to ambush the next group with some of my own cooking to show off my new skills.

Chopping the plums, after measuring out the flour, sugar and other ingredients, left me slightly worried - the plums were far firmer than the mysterious disappearing plums that I had originally.

With the sugar and butter in the mixer, I made the rookie mistake of turning the mixer to a higher setting too quickly but after scraping the bowl back down, the K Beater managed to get to the mix a lot easier to make it smooth. This is easy!! 

Taking Ben Ebbrell’s advice to not waste any of the cake mix, I fill the lined cake tin (I had remembered to put the plums in firstJ) and the tin looked pretty full. Once in the preheated oven, the cake started to smell beautiful very quickly.

Checking the cake through the oven window, I was pretty worried as the mix was expanding and bulging upwards and outwards. It did seem to settle back down a little and when I turned it out onto a plate, it looked amazing.

The flavour of the cake was beautiful, light and buttery with the slight sharp plum cutting through it. I do think it would have been improved with the first plums, which were very ripe, so I will try that next time!! Also, I finally found out what happened to my ripe plums. Two cheeky little monkeys nabbed them from the fruit bowl, so at least they didn’t go to waste.

Your reviews

  1. Looks like a cake! Well done! You should name and shame the plum thieves!

    Posted: 21/08/2013 12:14:21 / Dan Jenkins

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Week 2

Thomas - Week 2

Eton Mess

From White Cookies To A Perfect Mess


This week was pure yum. I have a sweet tooth and have loved Eton Mess for many years. I have made it before but only with shop bought meringues, so with some trepidation, I gathered all the ingredients and washed the Kenwood Chef again just to make sure it was super clean.

Separating the eggs, surprisingly, went fine. I took Ben Ebbrell’s advice from the fantastic tutorial video and took my time putting the egg whites into the mixing bowl. I threw the Kenwood Chef onto full speed and stood back. The machine is ace and it makes the basics so easy. Unfortunately the mixer doesn’t impart the experience of a seasoned chef and I stopped the mixer too early. I had the necessary peaks and the bowl didn’t drop any of the egg mixture when I held it upside down but with hindsight, it needed longer. After adding the sugar (I also forgot to sift the icing sugar – doh!) I had something that looked like glossy shaving cream.

Thomas 2Realising I didn’t have any grease proof paper, I elected to just dollop it straight to the baking sheet, it was at this point that I realised I definitely had done something wrong.  Unlike Ben’s lovely pert globules, my mini meringues looked more like white cookies.

I decided to push on at this point, into the preheated oven they went.

After 30 minutes of cooking time, I went to have a look to see how they were doing. I was shocked because instead of staying a beautiful white, they had browned up and were now a caramel colour....uhhh ohh.

Deciding I wanted to enjoy my dessert and for it to look right, I headed to the shop, got more eggs and some grease proof paper.

Thinking back on the first attempt, I jotted down my mistakes –
• Sift icing sugar
• Beat egg whites longer until proper stiff peaks
• Don’t burn the meringues (with some quick Googling I found that a fan assisted oven needs to be quite a bit lower in temperature or the meringue will brown off)
• Use grease proof paper so they don’t stick to the tray

Attempt two went a lot better and taking my previous mistakes into account, my second batch came out beautifully glossy and white with nice body.

I personally prefer the cream in my Eton Mess to be more whipped than Ben suggests in the tutorial, so I beat it up a little more, added the vanilla and a tiny bit of sugar and the yummy strawberries.

Layering it up in the glass was tricky, but I am very happy with the end look and definitely very happy with the taste. Never again will I go for shop bought meringue - homemade is a million times better.

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Week 1

Thomas - Week 1

Spicy cheese and pepperoni slice

Successful Pastry Making

I have attempted to make pastry before and it has always been a nightmare. I am stunned at how easy it became using my Kenwood Chef Titanium. I did have one small problem with my first attempt - I think I added too much water too quickly and ended up with a squidgy mess, so after raiding the cupboards, I managed to find some more flour and on the second attempt, using more care, it went smoothly.


With my lovely pastry resting in the fridge, I began on the filling. I am pretty good with chopping as I have had a lot of practise in the past from having to re-chop things that I have burnt or just overcooked to the point of baby food. My main problem with cooking is that I am terrible at keeping to times. I am determined not to ruin my shortcrust so I was on high alert and re-read the recipe and watched the video numerous times.

The filling went in fine and I remembered to use the egg wash. I nearly forgot to slice the pastry to let out steam. The smell of the cooking pasties was mouth-watering.

I am eagerly awaiting next week, and am feeling very pleased with myself.


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Thomas Jenkins

Wannabe master-chef Thomas Jenkins has tried several times to come up with a Michelin star dish but is deemed to fail. Thomas loves eating and thinks that because he can appreciate good food he should be able to cook, it but his cooking attempts, sadly, turn into burnt, inedible meals. Thomas’ girlfriend is a wonderful cook but even her culinary creativity is unable to save him – perhaps Kenwood can?

One night, Thomas was asked to put frozen fish and chips in the oven because his girlfriend was working late. He received strict instructions but when she got home, although she was presented with a dinner that edible on the outside, the fish was still frozen in the middle. It’s no surprise that Thomas is now banned from the kitchen!