It’s time again to present the trials and tribulations of my home kitchen experienced over the past week.
Ever feel like sometimes you should be banned from the kitchen, or just resign yourself to a rigid routine of no fuss, no fail, basic cooking? The idea can be oh, so tempting at times.
A little over 2 weeks ago I developed a back strain at the gym and I doubt the pain and discomfort I’m working through has improved my efficacy in the kitchen. The good thing about kitchen/cooking failures is that they are of no account in the big picture. A so-so meal easily slips away into the shrouded paths of all one’s yesterdays as soon as the next meal has been consumed. A burnt morsel can even provide shared merriment if one doesn’t let personal frustration scorch the mood. I too often get moody when things don’t go right. After all I spend a lot of time and effort trying to provide meals my beloved husband will enjoy. When that doesn’t succeed, I confess, I readily turn to grumpiness. It’s a trait I am trying hard to overcome.
So for today I had plans on presenting a fresh recipe. A simple chicken nibble “throw it in the pot and let it cook” dish that is deliciously satisfying – especially if you love eating meat off the bone, which my husband and I both do.
It has inadvertently become my first fail of this week’s round up, though, as I can’t find the recipe. I have an old diary I write all my cooking bits and pieces in, but for some reason the chicken nibble recipe has gone AWOL. I have a sneaky suspicion that I meant to write it in after dinner, and then forgot. I could recreate it from memory, but I don’t think that’s fair on any of my readers. What if I forgot an ingredient or put too much or too little of something, or even add an ingredient I never used?! So I shall do another test, and write it down, next time I buy a tray of chicken nibbles.
So with that idea tossed to the whirling dust storm of unrealised intentions, I present the rest of my real life – failures – from this past week. To my chagrin, there’s been a few.
First up is a dish I’ve cooked several times before changing to low carb. A fellow student taught it to me years ago and it’s really tasty. Think of tender chicken and pork pieces in a curry coconut sauce cooked inside a whole baby pumpkin for each person. Drama galore when served on the plate and it tastes delicious. I decided it would be a great addition to my blog.
So what went wrong? Firstly, I used a different, previously untried pumpkin. Normally I’d use baby Grey Crown pumpkins. In my last shopping trip I found some cute little orange-skinned pumpkins for only 99 cents each and thought they’d be perfect for this dish. The pumpkins had a bright orange flesh and LOADS of it. Quite strong in flavour, too. I couldn’t fit all of the curry mixture inside and then a good amount of the liquid came out during the cooking process. There was just not enough hollow to hold it.
The ratio of pumpkin to filling was completely wrong and took away the enjoyment I normally get from devouring this particular dish – to the point where it’s going to be a long time before I make it again.
The next fail comes from the same night. I tried to create a new recipe using up some bits and pieces from the fridge. A dessert that in theory sounds great, and honestly, it should have tasted great. It didn’t. While not so bad as the first course, it disappointed us. Possibly a case of too much of a good thing?
This cheesecake mousse dessert was too rich and had a funny aftertaste (from the sweetener I used). It was simply an unbalanced dish. It even looked a bit … offputting. Since I don’t have a piping bag, I employed the trick of snipping the corner off of a plastic bag. It works, but my cut was a smidge too big and the mixture came out in narrow, fat ribbons. To me it just kind of looked like worms in a glass…don’t you think so? Oh how easy it is to pysch yourself out.
My next two failures are attempts to rectify previous fails (you can read about those here)
My first attempt at creating low carb croquettes looked good while failing to deliver on taste, but I do believe there is merit in the idea. So I tried again. This time I created them from scratch instead of adapting a fritter recipe. I wanted to get a softer croquette center and decided sweet potato would be the right vehicle to achieve it. I have to say the results were better than my first ones, but still not a “put me on the regular menu” success. They were too sweet, a tad on the dry side, and too sweet. Sweet potato and fish (tinned salmon) did not make a mouthwatering combination, just for future reference. Relegated to the ‘Meh’ bin, I need to do much more work on creating a croquette to satisfy my palate. Stay tuned, readers. One day I’ll nail it, or otherwise keep you entertained with my unfortunate trials.
The next attempt to perfect a recipe was the crumbed squid rings from my previous misadventures. With this batch I chose a simplified approach. They were an improvement upon the first try, although I forgot to add seasonings to the coating *rolling eyes*. Much more of the coating remained on the rings, but it needs more work before I will be happy sharing the recipe with you all.
This plate of food contained 2 failures – I managed to overcook the kumara (NZ sweet potato) oven fries!
My final fail to share with you today is another sweet experiment. It wasn’t actually bad, in fact, reasonably good, but I know it can be better. Chocolate and cream wrapped up in a cake that takes only minutes to cook – sounds good, huh? I overcooked it, so it was drier than I was aiming for. In an effort to reduce cost I used a couple of different sweeteners. Note: this is self-defeating and ends up costing more in failure, disappointment and repeating trials to get it right!
We still liked eating this dish, but I’m aiming for LOVE. Therefore this recipe will sit in the fail folder until I can perfect it.
So that’s this week’s round up of cooking misadventures from my kitchen. For all these misses, there were a good number of successes, too. Among them are my Lemon Ginger Cake, delicious roast pork with applesauce, Salted Peanut Biscuits (love these), a tasty and versatile minced beef dish – to be shared one day soon, and the chicken nibbles – which deserve to be listed as a success, too.
I hope you’ve enjoyed more successes than failures in your kitchen this week. I’d love to hear of your misadventures, and your wins, in the kitchen.
Happy, healthy eating,