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Minecraft Pizza! An education and an abomination.

30 Jan

Son and I got a kids cookery book for Christmas. I tried to hide it, but was reminded of it recently when my son suggested we cook more together. I held his little face in my hands not wanting to let him down, not wanting to remind him of our previous disasters. Hope always springs eternal in the young… so with a heavy heart I got the book out and said we could try to make anything he liked in it.

Happily he chose creative pizzas, I was relieved  because all that means is making shapes out of food on ready made bases. Phew, baking bullet dodged.

Sadly it wasn’t totally without trauma.

First up the Clockface Pizza – telling the time with food – what could be more educational? These pictures need no explanation but just imagine two happy human faces putting this little beauty together:

pizza

 Son happily ate all four quarters telling the time as he did so. Look, it even looks a bit like the picture in the book!
Pizz3Fired up with success and enthusiasm for this creative pizza making lark I then boldly told my son we could try any design he liked. To hell with the constraints of the book what would HE like to see on a pizza. The answer was Steve from Minecraft. What? Steve, you know from Minecraft? Right find me a picture. He did and so not without some trepidation we got stuck in…

For the uninitiated Minecraft is made up solely of squares and blocks, rather at odds with the roundness of pizza and its toppings.  I knew our happy pizza making days were at an end – before they had even really begun…

This is what Steve from Minecraft looks like:
mine-craft-steve-headsteve-head---minecraft-mask---myteespot---your-t-shirt-store-b2e0cutdAnd this is what he looks like on a pizza:

Pizza2

Son was so distraught at the abomination, the desecration of the venerated Steve that he refused to eat it and went off to play Minecraft instead. He asked me not to write about the experience and hasn’t asked to cook with me again.
He has a point. But I challenge any mother to make Steve out of pizza and not scare people?
pizz5

It’s the eyes right? They’re watching you, little pizza eyes… don’t have nightmares ok?

 

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Surplus Chocolate Cupcakes Success

18 Apr

Sometimes things go right, but also sometimes too right…

We had loads of chocolate left over from Easter, and as none of us are great chocolate snackers so I thought I would make cupcakes out of the remaining eggs. Even if they were inedible at least my son and I would have some fun and he’d get to see the food being used up.

I used a basic cupcake recipe and because I was expecting the inevitable disaster (as can be seen here and here) decided to quarter the ingredients so we only had six to ruin.

I let my son scatter the mix with some buttons from his little kiddy eggs. I melted the rest of the chocolate into a liquid using my own cobbled together version of a bain-marie:
cake1 Continue reading

Hot Cross Rock Cake Drop Scone Buns For Easter

2 Apr

Easter. Another excuse to make and eat lots of things that you wouldn’t any other week of the year.
Such as Mini Eggs, Simnel Cake (what is that anyway?)

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and hot cross buns!
I’ve never made hot cross buns before, and after this week I probably never will again…
I had seen others touting their seasonal wares on my various social media outlets and thought I should give it a go too. So Easter Saturday my son and I set to in the kitchen using a recipe posted by Nigella. I promised him by that afternoon we would have some lovely hot, fragrant steamy buns to break over our tea time drinks.

I started off following the recipe to the letter, infusing warm milk with cardamom and orange zest (although I had forgotten the cloves – so maybe not exactly to the letter) and then adding it to eggs, flour and dried fruit to make a dough.
Eas1 Continue reading

Mother’s Ruined!

13 Mar

Well after last weeks exposé on the terrible dishes I serve to my son, I myself was served this for Mother’s Day on Sunday:
BE-680CCYAA-3BEIsn’t it wonderful? Laden with gifts and gorgeous food, beautifully presented and thoughtful. Boy did I feel small, it’s a far cry from hotdogs on a plate right?
OK he had some help from his dad but still… sheepish mother must

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try harder with her presentation.
And yes that is a room service bell – I was allowed to use it all day for cups of tea any time I liked. I know.

But my favourite gift had to be this little beauty:
mugAin’t that the truth!?

Hope all you mums got to ring your own bells this weekend x

Festive Excess and Unsuccess

6 Jan

I admitted last year that I didn’t really enjoy mince pies, Christmas pudding, Yule Log and the like, the family don’t either. But I still buy them every year. And every year we try to get through them because… why? Because we think we have to? Because we won’t be festive without them? Because it’s not Christmas unless you have some mince pies handy for unexpected guests (of which we get none)? So I dutifully fill the house with boxes of stuff we won’t eat and don’t even like.

I have a terrible fear of missing out, of not trying something I feel I should and I inflict this on my family. Someone mentioned Cherries in Brandy on Twitter and decided that I must have some.
Could I find them? No! And it burned. I tried everywhere, my husband drove me to farm shops and delicatessens all over Sussex for my search. Even on Christmas Eve I was still asking hopefully in every shop I went into (the card shop in Shoreham were slightly surprised by my request). I’ve not even tried them, I don’t drink Brandy and cherries make my mouth itch so what was I thinking?

Continue reading

Alice CAN Cook Christmas

27 Dec

So the Big Day is over, I hope yours was wonderful and you are still

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feeling the benefits of some good food and drink and playing with your toys.
I feel as if I am 90% cheese and 10% chocolate currently, and running solely on Cava.

But I am also buoyed up slightly by a rather successful Christmas Lunch, cooked by my own festive hands.
It was rather a no-frills affair, without any celebrity chef intervention and not completely perfect but even my husband had to admit it was pretty good!

I got up early (earlier than my son) to peel some veg and get the bird out of the fridge – we had gone for an 8kg Kelly

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Bronze from the local farm which had been prepared so the giblets had already been taken out and bagged up thankfully (we boiled them up for the dog).

After hearing a lot about being able to leave a cooked turkey for an hour after taking out of the oven I decided to get it done and worry about the rest of the stuff later so it went into the oven early – I was still only on my first Bucks Fizz!

Here it is going in – note the butter under the skin – I understand this is a way of keeping the breast from going dry. I wasn’t sure how to do it so just hacked away until I made a couple of holes and stuffed some in. I also put a cut lemon and a whole onion in the cavity, and some salt and pepper over the back. I know myself well enough to just keep it simple… no more Nigella bucket birds for me!
Xmas2I read the instructions after it had gone in (I know I know) and they suggested that you should put the bird in UPSIDE DOWN for a bit first. Erm, too late for that. I hoped the foil and butter would keep it moist instead.

Three hours later I took it out, replaced it with some hot goose fat and par-boiled reindeer potatoes and went to the pub.
After a refreshing glass of wine I left son and husband there for a bit and came back to get the vegetables on (I’d bought as much ready prepared as I could) and make some gravy and bread sauce. I’d also cleverly stirred some chestnut puree into a stuffing mix to give the sage and onion a seasonal edge.

Yes I was mildly drunk but I felt calm and in control, the carols were on the radio and I took a few deep breaths. Maybe the trick to this cooking lark is to keep it simple and relax? Who knows…

As it all started reaching a cooking crescendo I unwrapped the bird for carving. And here it is:
xmas3Yes I know it’s a bit scorched and a hole seems to have appeared in the side (see that lemon?) but it was still rather juicy! I know the skin isn’t crispy but I think that is because I used foil?

I had steamed most of the veg – apart from the whole baby carrots – which sadly meant the whole baby cauliflowers were raw and rock hard, but as we pointed out you could eat them raw and at least they were hot. So… all was not lost. Everything else was just sort of perfect.
xmas4I didn’t wrap those ‘pigs in blankets’ myself.
And I know you can’t see the gravy and bread sauce but that is because I served it on the table in jugs/bowls decorated in holly. How festive

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is that?
The gravy was good too, despite being as black as pitch, I used something called ‘Browning’ I had never tried before – half a bottle of the stuff – so it kind of ‘blackened’ rather than ‘browned’ but still.

After eating this we never managed to get through the Heston Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding – in fact it is still in my cupboard. Might keep it for next year now.

We enjoyed ours, I hope you enjoyed yours.
Merry Christmas xxx

I’m Making Christmas Lunch Folks…

20 Dec

Total Result! My husband has agreed to me doing Christmas Lunch this year.
Which means… I’ll be able to spend time in the kitchen with some wine and carols on the radio, instead of building Lego castles in the front room as I normally do!
Oh and of course, cooking… I’m quite looking forward to it, the family however might not be.

I can actually put together quite a good roast now and again – see here for evidence – I just need to relax, go with the flow and remember that everything stays warm for ages, it doesn’t always need to cook together exactly at the same time, which is what I try to plan for but of course never have enough hob or oven space for that to happen. Apparently you can leave a cooked turkey for up to an hour before serving?

Of course I will be getting some help in the form of pre-made bread sauce, pre-scored sprouts and I managed to secure one of those Heston Hidden Orange puddings this year. Maybe one year I’ll attempt to make my own Christmas pud but I just don’t want to ruin the big day for everyone.
pud
I have had experience of Christmas cooking before, my Nigella Turkey ended up on the floor but my Mary Berry cupcakes were a triumph. Who knows what will happen this year, I will of course keep you updated.

And to finish here’s a picture of my Christmas tree just to make this post more festive.
As you can see from the decorations we have a small child in the house…
treeMERRY CHRISTMAS COOKERS! X

Birthday Cake Ache

6 Nov

Birthdays! A cause for celebration? A chance to make someone happy? A time to try hard for the ones you love?

Or in my case grit your teeth and have a go at making a cake…
Regular readers will know the problem I have with celebratory cakes and how I usually solve that problem – see here and here.  (Basically get someone else to make them)

But this week was not only my husband’s birthday but our wedding anniversary, so I felt I should make a bit of an effort and attempt his favourite cake – the coffee and walnut.

Now, I will be honest, I have never made a two-tier cake. Is that what you call one made of two halves with stuff in the middle? Basically using two cake tins? Of course I wanted to make a proper coffee and walnut cake so out came two tins…

All the recipes I found were about the same. Whip up a cake mix but add some kind of coffee flavouring and chopped walnuts.
Continue reading

One Year On… A Poem!

21 Aug

So Alice Can’t Cook is one year old.
It’s the first birthday of my blog and if I may be so bold?
I shall celebrate with a rhyme or three…
Remembering the best and worst of my cookery

So I’ve served raw eggs to an unborn baby
Made a risotto so solid it could have plastered a wall, maybe
My roasted vegetables just won’t roast
But now and again I can have a bit of a boast

My self-imposed Veg Box Challenge was really trying
The hideous shrunken-head celeriac had me crying
I created some fruit compote that ended up in the sink
And a toxic hummous that kicked up a stink

Jamie Oliver’s Fritters won the vote but still got burnt
I’ve been a student but still haven’t learnt
There has been SO much trouble with eggs and rice
But thankfully I have a failsafe dish that usually turns out quite nice

Toad in the Hole nearly burnt the kitchen down
And even an easy kids recipe made me frown
A slimy festive turkey had me skidding across the floor
But my Christmas kit cakes had them crying out for more

Just don’t talk to me about curry!
I either make it like soup or a nasty slurry
My pretend birthday cakes reveal me to be a bad mother
But this years castle creation has made me think not to bother!

I’ve made my dog sick and my son scream
But weirdly my really difficult salmon dish turned into a dream
In the past year I’ve laughed and I’ve cried
I’ve served crap food but still no one has died.
Thanks for reading this year, for all your helpful comments and the laughs!
Alice Can’t Cook (still)…
But She’s Getting Better x

Silly Sausages

13 Aug

Not sure what happened here.
I was merrily frying up some sausages for a birthday breakfast for myself as I have just hit the big 4-0! (don’t judge me I used a no-calorie cooking spray and low-fat sausages).
But I burnt them.
But I didn’t

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just burn them – they managed to stay raw on the inside at the same time. Clever dogs.

I decided to split them and squash them into the pan, to make sausage patties (well it works in McDonalds’ breakfast buns right?) so they cooked inside but didn’t burn any more.
Bigger surface area meant they managed to pick up what little fat there was in the pan making them all greasy, and they still managed to stay slightly chilly no matter how long I squished them for.
The kitchen filled up with black smoke, I gave them to the dog.
Had a yogurt.

Happy Birthday to me!

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