Tag Archives: Recipe Books

Baking Not Bad Brownies

24 Jun

The idea of a recipe that only need THREE INGREDIENTS appeals to me. Because there’s obviously a lot less chance of me mucking it up. And so I was keen to try these Nutella Brownies that only need: Nutella, Eggs and Flour – that’s right, just three things.

How hard could it be? Well not very is the answer, in fact even though they were rather basic they were easy and delicious and worked for me. So how did I manage to find a way to ruin it all? Read on…b1

Nutella, flour and eggs mixed in a bowl. I know – so far so good right?b2Mixture spread into a greased dish and baked for 15 minutes:b3Delicious brownies as a result. Soft and springy and edible.

I am QUEEN OF THE WORLD!

Buoyed up by my success and the surprise of my family who actually ate them. I made some more the very next day but – of course – thought I would add to them. Maybe try and make them a bit healthier. I replaced one of the eggs with mashed banana and some of the Nutella with oats.

Thinking I would still have the basic success and taste of the Nutella brownies but with a hint of oaty banana goodness I made this unappetising looking mix to start:

b4My son thought it looked like bird spit and I have to say I didn’t disagree with him. However I was still reasonably confident at this stage.

After 15minutes in the oven sadly I didn’t pull out the same sweet and delicious brownies I thought I had mastered and made my own. They were tasteless and damp and quite dense. How could such innocent tweaks make such a difference?

Well I suppose if you already have a recipe that’s as simple as only having three ingredients then maybe you shouldn’t muck about with it?

They’re still in the cake tin, no one wants them. I shall stick to the originals next time. If there is one.

 

 

 

 

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Homecooked! A New, Young Book

21 Oct

Look at this lovely new book I’ve been sent! It’s called Homecooked by Donal Skehan, and is apparently ‘as seen on TV’.
Gosh!
Because look at him, look at Donal, does he look old enough to have a cook book out? I’m surely old enough to be his mother?
Well yes he obviously is because it’s actually rather good – and no it’s not filled with space food, or popping candy or whatever it is the youngsters are eating these days. It’s actually full of rather traditional and dare I say it quite old fashioned dishes such as roast pork, fish & chips and creme brûlée. But there are some lovely twists on the traditional and various influences from around the world. There is also a fantastic ‘Fast & Healthy’ section, (which you know I might need now I am advancing in years).

As soon as I can get over my jealousy at this young over achiever already being a far better cook than I will ever be I shall be looking forward to trying a few of these recipes out. I feel a Celebrity Cook Challenge coming on…

20131021-172604.jpg‘Homecooked’ by Donal Skehan is out now.

Cheese Stake That Vampire

16 Sep

I’m a bit of a fan girl, if I love a film or TV show I’ll happily buy into the whole thing. I have a Game of Thrones mug (Lannister House of course), Breaking Bad t-shirts and once dressed up as Harry Potter to get into a midnight bookstore opening. So I was very happy to be sent the True Blood: Drinks & Bites Cookbook.
It will go marvellously well with my Merlotte’s Bar & Grill Waitress t-shirt and ‘I Want To Do Bad Things With You’ shopping bag (don’t judge me).
Vamp2 Continue reading

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

iPan

16 Nov

I have long suspected that not only am I crap in the kitchen, but dangerous.

Today I opened a kitchen cupboard and a tin of baked beans fell out.
Which ordinarily wouldn’t be a problem except underneath said cupboard was our iPad.
Smash.

I know it shouldn’t really have been there, but I use it a lot for looking at recipes and taking photos of my rubbish cooking. It regularly falls off the counter, or sits in a pile of water, or gets covered in soup.

I took it straight to the Apple store for a replacement, they were incredulous about the beans.
No really, I said, I’m a liability in the kitchen:
As it was pointed out on

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Twitter, beans need a Pan not an iPad.

Foiled By Oil: Jamie’s Cauliflower Fritters

23 May

Thanks to everyone who voted in the inaugural Celebrity Can’t Cook Challenge. You may remember Gordon Ramsay’s Lancashire Hotpot was pitted against Jamie Oliver’s Curried Cauliflower Fritters – and lost.

So ladies and gentlemen I give you the results….

I was going to make these a night my husband was away but then realised I was a bit scared. I have never deep fried anything before and thought that if I was going to be boiling up vats of hot fat it would probably be a good idea to have someone else around. And I was right…

I mixed up the beer batter that involved adding some seeds and spices to give it a curry flavour. So far so good:
Continue reading

Celebrity Can’t Cook Challenge, Jamie vs Gordon: You Decide!

27 Apr

And the winner is…. Jamie’s Cauliflower Fritters with 57% of the vote. Thanks to everyone who voted, it looks like I’m going to be playing with a pan of hot fat this week. You are harsh.
Wish me luck!
THIS POLL IS NOW CLOSED.

Finally, an election you can believe in…

From now on (well until I burn the kitchen down) I shall regularly be asking you to vote on which tricky dish I should attempt next in my new Celebrity Can’t Cook Challenge.
Yes, I plan to pit the worlds greatest chefs against each other. Using me as the medium.

As a self-confessed terrible cook I am going to pick recipes from famous books (I have loads) and attempt to recreate them. Alice style.
BUT you will get to vote on which recipe I choose.
First up is:
Gordon Ramsay’s Lancashire Hotpot – from Great British Pub Food
vs
Jamie Oliver’s Curried Cauliflower Fritters – from Jamie At Home

I know, it’s exciting right?

Continue reading

I’m A Proper Turkey

15 Dec

It’s Christmas! And look it’s even snowing…

But you know what that means? An orgy of cooking, baking and eating. And I intend to throw myself into that orgy fully.
So over the next couple of weeks expect posts about ruined roulades, stupid stollen and buggered up beef joints.

Look – I even own this:
How to cook Christmas written by the goddess herself Nigella. I have tried two recipes from this book, firstly the Macaroni Cheese that involved two types of cheese and evaporated milk, it was a total disaster. Curdled and salty and certainly not worth the million calories it contained.

And then three years ago I actually attempted her turkey! You take your bird and put it in a bucket of water outside for a few days before Christmas. Obviously not just plain water, water full of salt, peppercorns, bouquet garni, oranges, bay leaves and all manner of spices. I didn’t have everything that was required so I put in some herbal tea bags, not that I think it mattered.

The problems arose when I tried to take the monster out of the bucket after it had swelled to nearly twice it’s size and was now the weight of a small truck. Hoisting it out a leg broke off and it skittered across the floor leaving a trail of salty slime which of course I slipped over on as I went to chase it across the kitchen. I cried for a bit, and then cried a bit more the next day when the turkey didn’t taste any different from normal.

Husband now cooks the main Christmas lunch to ensure we actually have something to eat on the big day. I am both happy and sad about this.

BUT I don’t just need to roast the turkey to get in the spirit of the season there are plenty of other things I can get to grips with…

So are you scared Santa? You should be – it might be one of my mince pies left out for you to eat on Christmas Eve!

Cooking the cookery books…

7 Aug

Look, these are cook books from my actual kitchen. I own these, I read them, I use them. I buy the ingredients they list and follow the instructions as written (usually). See how mucky they are? That is real sweat, oil, flour, sauce and water-damage from my own work surfaces.

However, the beautiful pictures of the finished dishes are lost to me, as if a special secret ingredient or instruction is hidden within the pages for only real cooks to find. My own interpretation is always wide of the mark.

See how varied my selection, Chinese food, comfort food, healthy food, Great British pub food, Italian food, even baby food. I’ve tried something from all of them.

See the amount of celebrity chefs represented? I’ve met a few of them… I asked Gordon Ramsay for his autograph, I asked Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall what he fed his dog, I asked Gillian McKeith where she got her dress from and when Rick Stein was in town I sent my husband along to get his take on Eastern cooking while I sat at home and drank wine. Missed opportunities all!

But you see these books? Each one represents a hopeful possibility of something going right, any one of them could contain a recipe that works, the recipe that goes well and becomes that elusive success.

I keep them, I love them, hope springs eternal…

Is

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Cooking the books…

7 Aug

Look, these are cook books from my actual kitchen. I own these, I read them, I use them. I buy the ingredients they list and follow the instructions as written (usually). See how mucky they are? That is real sweat, oil, flour, sauce and water-damage from my own work surfaces.

However, the beautiful pictures of the finished dishes are lost to me, as if a special secret ingredient or instruction is hidden within the pages for only real cooks to find. My own interpretation is always wide of the mark.

See how varied my selection, Chinese food, comfort food, healthy food, Great British pub food, Italian food, even baby food. I’ve tried something from all of them.

See the amount of celebrity chefs represented? I’ve met a few of them… I asked Gordon Ramsay for his autograph, I asked Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall what he fed his dog, I asked Gillian McKeith where she got her dress from and when Rick Stein was in town I sent my husband along to get his take on Eastern cooking while I sat at home and drank wine. Missed opportunities all!

But you see these books? Each one represents a hopeful possibility of something going right, any one of them could contain a recipe that works, the recipe that goes well and becomes that elusive success.

I keep them, I love them, I buy more. Hope springs eternal…

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