Thursday, June 18, 2009

Masterchef Reject



For weeks I have been reading the blogs of women who seem to be able to cook the most amazing food for their families or quickly run up a set of clothes for their children. So feeling pleasantly domestic and hoping to acheive a similar satisfyingly homey outcome I got out the appropriate paraphenalia. I now wish that, for the short period of time I spent at a particular school attending compulsory Home Economics classes (yes, they even set tests), I had paid close attention instead of yawning my head off, wondering how on earth this was relevant to me and dreaming of being just about anywhere else.(I only lasted 6 months at that school - I begged to be sent to a far more sensible school that thought cooking should be an elective, if anything, and where I could indulge in...oh my gosh, real subjects.)

Mr I once told me of the uncanny ability of the cooking staff at his Uni college to take clearly recognisable and palatable ingredients and turn them into the most unappealing meals. One such, he and his fellow collegians chose to call Chicken Trainsmash.

Hence the title I give to the outcome of abovementioned culinary adventure - a dessert I choose to call Apple and Sultana Trainsmash.


Little Tree was excited about helping me cook a new dish. We started out peeling, coring and chopping apples for stewing. This went quite well although Little Tree did get quite frustrated that the peeler would work for me but not for him. And decided after much trial and error that it would be better if Mum did that bit. He liked cracking the egg and mixing all the ingredients for the dough and was very helpful in instructing me how to use the rolling pin.


Having rolled the dough to the correct thickness and having spread a layer of stewed apples and sultanas over the dough - we proceded to the next step in the recipe book which was to roll it all up and slice into 7 or 8 segments. Had this worked we would have ended up baking something like this.....



Fate intervened. The dough started to stretch and stretch, stick to the floured surface and the fruit started oozing everywhere. At which point Little Tree stated quite categorically that "Mummy is eating that " and definitely not himself. Trying unsuccessfully to rescue everything I eventually decided I had two choices - throw the whole lot in the bin and leave it to more experienced bakers or to pick up the lot and dump it into the greased cake tin and cook it anyway. Well, being someone who hates to waste good food, I chose the latter while thinking that maybe it would still taste okay even if it no longer looked anything like the intended dessert. This was the result....



Having tasted it (very chewy) I know why the book calls for caramel sauce. Anyway, I made a quick call to Mr I to pick up some cream and crossed my fingers that I could at least make a decent caramel sauce.


In hindsight what went wrong? The dough was too wet - "add water to make a soft dough". What is a soft dough supposed to look and feel like? Obviously an assumed level of knowledge was required. The stewed apples still too warm ( I did wonder at the time) and next time, if there's a next time, I will roll out the dough on paper to assist in the rolling up. And maybe I'll stick to singing and shop at the bakery - that way we'll both be doing what we've spent years training for.

2 comments:

PG said...

I think it's often a matter or doing it and doing it until you get it right, and once you make a few mistakes you get to sense what is a properly wet dough or whatever...I was hopeless at making bread, until I decided to knuckle down and do it until I produced something edible,and now I am one of those irritating people who can knock up a loaf of bread with the greatest of ease (and no breadmaker). But it did take a lot of practise...

Syren said...

Thanks for your encouragement PG. I think you are right. That is the approach I take to my singing so it's not unreasonable that the same approach to cooking would work.
I think it was Einstein that said -Genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.