Sunday, 16 September 2012

Cooking up a storm

The last week we've been watching Celebrity MasterChef on television each evening. Its been great watching various celebrities trying their best to produce well presented and tasty meals under incredible pressure.
When Cheryl Baker went out I was a bit disappointed as I wanted to see her get through to the final and even win, sadly it wasn't to be though. On a side note I'm going to be cheering for Johnny Ball to win on Strictly Come Dancing this year. For a 74 year old I think he's very dapper and suave, I bet he gives some of the younger male contestants a run for their money in the sex appeal stakes.

Anyway back to MasterChef, or at least the version that seems to have developed this weekend at home.

On Thursday my son came home from school to announce that this Wednesday he has to cook something that will impress his catering teacher at school during the lesson. With only two hours to prepare, cook and present it whatever he does has to be quick. With that in mind we've scoured the cookery books and come up with a number of different ideas that we've been trying this weekend and will finish up doing tomorrow night.

Last night was Potato, Chicken and Banana cakes - not a big success. First off we had to swap the chicken mince for turkey mince as both Asda and Tesco don't do chicken mince. The cakes themselves needed something more to help bind them together as they were still quite wet and didn't hold their consistency as well as they should have done. Still they were tasty and I managed to eat them. Probably not as tasty as the chips that my son ended up having after he decided he really couldn't eat the potato cakes. They were very similar to the potato and sausage dish that my other half made earlier in the week.

This afternoon was Victoria Sandwich with a strawberry jam and cream filling, topped with blue icing and white chocolate buttons. After we spent a long time on the phone discussing with my father-in-law whether or not the food processor he'd given us because he no longer wanted it had come with a whisk attachment or not we ended up whisking the mixture using an electric whisk that I've had almost since I first left home 20 plus years ago. In fact the whisk and a serrated chef's knife that I bought when I first started work are the first utensils I ever bought and I still have them and they work pretty well.
Unfortunately my son didn't sieve the flour and so the resultant cake mixture had quite an interesting texture. We also didn't have the right size cake tins and so had to go with some slightly larger ones. The resulting cakes didn't rise as much as they should have done but once he'd filled it with strawberry jam, cream and then put blue icing and white chocolate buttons on top it didn't look to bad. Certainly tasted OK with 3 clean plates when we tried some.

Tonight is Potato and 3 Cheese soufflé. This is the favourite for Wednesday. Its going to all depend on how it turns out tonight and if its a success then we'll have to hope that it works on Wednesday and doesn't collapse. I know that soufflés aren't the easiest of things to make. If it does work and he manages to get it cooked OK on Wednesday then I'm sure that his teacher will be impressed.

Tomorrow is going to be Pork fillet with Pineapple coulis and potato and herb gnocchi. This will be plan B if the soufflé doesn't work. The pork fillet only needs to be wrapped in foil and put in the oven. The pineapple coulis we'll have to prepare beforehand as he's not sure if the school have blenders and food processors. I'm sure that they have but he'll need to be prepared just in case. The potato and herb gnocchi should be simple enough to make and as long as he doesn't overcook them then a half dozen of them should add nicely to the dish and will certainly impress the teacher.

I've also just been given a recipe for carrot cake by a friend. Will be trying that at some point myself to see what its like. After that its going to be getting the ingredients together to make another of the Christmas cakes I made a few weeks ago, it was the lightest, moistest one I've made in a long while. 

Can't link to a decent video of the song from Ice Age 2 but here's the lyrics, just picture the vultures singing.

Food Glorious Food
We're anxious to try it
Three banquets a day
Our favourite diet
Just picture a mammoth steak
Fried, roasted or stewed
Oh, Food Wonderful Food
Marvellous Food
Glorious Food
Food Glorious Food
Poached possum served flambé
Broth made from a sloth
Or sabre tooth soufflé
Why should we be fated to
Do nothing but brood
On food, magical food
Wonderful food
Marvellous food
Food Glorious Food
Flesh picked off the dead ones
Rank, rotten or chewed
Soon we'll be the fed ones
Just thinking of putrid meat
Puts us in a mood
For food, glorious food
Marvellous food
Fabulous food
Beautiful food
Magical food
Glorious food