Lola Skinner, from Amersham

Posted by Lola Skinner on 15/10/2015

  • Blog post
  • 5 of 5 2


Week Six -  Soufflé

It’s the final week! I can hardly believe it’s been 6 weeks already.  I’ve had so much fun and the Kenwood Chef Sense has really revolutionised my cooking.

I won’t be hanging up my apron anytime soon – I have so much enthusiasm to try new things.

I have never eaten a soufflé before or even attempted making one.  What I know about soufflés from cooking shows is that there’s usually a fear of it not rising or collapsing – all very nerve-racking.  

I love this quote by James Beard “the only thing that will make a soufflé fall is if it knows you’re afraid of it”.

I watched Raymond several times and got all my ingredients ready.  I decided to use gluten free bread crumbs and flour so my hubby could eat it.  He’s never had a soufflé before and he loves all kinds of cheese…the stinkier, the better!

I start off by preheating the oven and then I grease and prepare my soufflé dishes.  Now it’s time to make the béchamel with the butter, flour and milk.  I remember Raymond’s words “don’t start a disaster by burning the butter”.  My béchamel looks thick and shiny and then I add the Roquefort cheese and mix thoroughly.

I carefully separate my eggs and whisk the egg whites in the Chef Sense.  I gently fold them into the soufflé base and fill the dishes. Then quickly put them in the oven.

After 10 minutes they are ready.  It is truly amazing that a dish with a reputation for disaster can come out of the oven and dazzle everyone.  I do a happy dance, no disaster in sight.  Très bien!

The cheese soufflé tastes pretty good, it is rich yet simple, light and undeniably delicious.  I mean where have you been all my life?!

Thank you Kenwood for giving me this incredible opportunity.  I’m looking forward to the live final, meeting the other contestants and judges.  I really hope to win and go from Disaster Chef to Kenwood Chef.

Week Five - Walnut Cake

So it's week 5 already!

This past week has been hectic.  The kids have had a bug and now I've got the worst flu ever.  But hey, cake makes everything better!

I love baking cakes but for some reason mine always end up sunken in the middle.

Hopefully with Miranda's help I will have a perfectly baked cake.

I start by lining and greasing my cake tins. Then I toast my walnuts and leave to cool. Creaming the butter and sugar in the Kenwood Chef Sense with the whisk attachment made the mixture nice and fluffy. After adding all the other ingredients, I scrape the mixture into my cake tins and into the oven they go.

My cakes are now baked and I'm pleased they haven't sunken in the middle. Hooray!

I turn them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Now it's time to make my strawberry cream.  I whip my cream until it’s thick and then prepare my strawberries.  I've never tried strawberries with balsamic vinegar; it really does enhance the flavour.

I enjoyed putting the cake together and decorating it. Everyone was like 'wow'! I was so pleased I managed to pull it all off despite being ill.

Now I'm off to eat some cake. Roll on week 6!

Week Four - Pastry

As much as I love eating pies and tarts, I have to admit I was super nervous about this week's challenge.

Shortcrust pastry is one of those things I tend to shy away from, even shop bought ones you simply roll…it just seems so daunting.  But each week I'm determined to step out of my comfort zone and now it's time for my very first attempt at making a tart.  I love Swiss Chard but I've never tried Comté cheese so here we go.

Time to make the shortcrust pastry; I mix all the ingredients in my Kenwood Chef Sense (my new bestie).  Rolling the dough in cling film makes it easy, thank you Raymond! 

My husband even helped to roll the dough, now that's a first him helping in the kitchen.  He was trying to butter me up to make a gluten free version!

Ok I'm feeling rather brave so I'll make two versions.  I was able to place my dough in the tart tin without any mishaps, phew.  I left it to chill in the fridge and got started on the filling.  After preparing my filling, I filled the tart tin and placed it in the oven.

I kept peeping through the oven door as I was nervous.  When the time was up, my tart was looking good.  My proudest moment, I can't believe I did it!!!

My friends loved it and said it was the best dish so far on the challenge.  It was delicious - the Comté cheese was creamy and slightly nutty.

My husband loved his gluten free version and now wants me to make pies and tarts every day, what no rice and chicken?!

I now have a new found confidence and most importantly I'm having fun in the kitchen. 

Roll on Week 5!


Week Three - Dim Sum

I can't believe it's week 3 already! I love wontons but never imagined I'd be making my own from scratch. I have to admit I was very nervous about making pasta. It looks so technical and complicated. After watching Martin's video tutorial I was ready to begin.

I decided to get the easy part done first so I made my spicy oil dressing (I added extra chilli as I like it hot) and left it to infuse.

Now the pasta dough. I placed my flour, salt, egg and water into my Kenwood Chef sense and mixed for 5 minutes, wrapped it in cling film and left it to rest for 20 minutes while I got started on the filling.

The food processor was easy to attach. I was able to mix all my ingredients for the filling effortlessly.

I saved the best for last, now it's time to roll my pasta and make my wontons.  Surprisingly the pasta roller attachment was easy to set up thanks to the twist connection system.

I was nervous when I first started rolling the dough but I felt relieved after passing it through a few times.  I got it as thin as I could and left it to dry slightly for 10 minutes. I cut it into squares and placed my filling in the centre.  Once done I added my wontons to a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes, drained and served.

My finished dim sum was delicious and the dressing had a real kick to it (just how I love it).

I'm now inspired to make my favourite wonton soup, I think it's more satisfying making it at home than ordering it at a Chinese restaurant.  I also think with practice I'll be more confident making homemade pasta and say bye bye to shop bought ones! Thanks to Kenwood Disaster Chef.


Week Two - Meringue cake

The recipe this week looks like a real show stopper.  I was eager to wow my family and friends. After watching Miranda’s video I was ready to start this rather technical challenge.

I measured out all my ingredients and carefully separated the eggs. I was happy I didn't get any yolks in my egg whites.

I wiped my bowl with the lemon, great tip. Thank you Miranda!

My Kenwood Chef Sense made whisking the egg whites so effortless and my finished meringue looked perfect - smooth and glossy.

I didn't have a small enough cake tin to draw my circles so I used a small plate.  I figured out 120°C was gas mark 1 and popped my meringue into the oven.

I made my ganache and left it to cool down and set for 3 hours.

After 1 hour I went to turn down my oven to 100° but my oven kept switching off. I carefully turned the dial so the flame didn't go off again.

My tasting crew were eagerly waiting. I got my meringue out of the oven and it didn't look anything like Miranda's.  Mine was a bit brown and huge so I think my oven was too hot and I should have spread my meringue more evenly on the tray. 

I got my salted caramel, nuts and chocolate curls ready.  Now onto the assembly, this bit was fun.  My tasting crew were impressed with my finished Chocolate Salted Caramel Meringue Cake.  It was yummy and we all enjoyed it.  Looking forward to week 3.

Week One - Brioche

I was happy to see that week one recipe was brioche as it's my favourite bread, but I was also nervous as I've only ever made it in a bread maker. Raymond makes it look easy peasy in the video.

So with all my ingredients measured out and my Kenwood Chef Sense ready to go, I begin.  I love this machine, it takes me back to over 30 years ago when my mum had a Kenwood mixer.

Mixing all done, I place the dough onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper and chill in the fridge. 

Disaster one - when I tried to turn my dough onto my floured surface it was stuck to the paper. I literally had to scrape whatever I could off.  

Disaster 2 - I proceeded to prove my dough and alas it did not double in size. Never mind, into the oven you go.

Disaster 3 - my brioche was burnt!

I decided to try again in the morning.  Before my son went to school he said 'mummy, don't burn it again or I'll be very cross".

My husband analysed my first attempt and said I didn't exactly follow the instructions and mix the dough long enough.

My second attempt was more successful. My dough doubled and baked well.

My kids were happy and we enjoyed eating it.



Despite her best intentions and her keen passion for food, lifestyle blogger and mum of two, Lola, is currently known amongst her family as “the one who can’t cook”. Keen to shed this title and move away from her staple of rice and chicken, Lola hopes the Disaster Chef Competition can help her wow her family with a variety of new dishes. Her past disasters, including curdled cheesecakes and sunken birthday cakes, have held Lola back from trying new things, but with a helping hand from Kenwood, she hopes to regain her confidence in the kitchen.

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