Always a good challenge to take you out of your cooking comfort zone.
I made this challenge harder for myself by trying to cook new recipes either by using a new technique or a new ingredient. This is more difficult than you think, most recipes use basic techniques, hence my challenge of randomly opening a cookbook doesn’t count, it was delicious and new but just a different take on a roast dinner.
Bizarrely this has been on my to-do list for years. I have never made a Christmas Cake before. I scoured the internet and chose Mary Berry’s recipe. I love a bit of Bake Off and her recipes are usually relatively easy to make.
The mixing and baking part was easy, I fed it a few times in the following weeks but maybe I should have done more.
As a bit of a cheat I did buy ready rolled marzipan (life is too short).
The icing was the MOST FUN! My friend came round the weekend before Christmas and we iced both our cakes together. I am not the most creative of people so I was very nervous. I am sure that it could have looked better, but it sure tasted good and I shall definitely aim to make my Christmas cakes in the future. Read how I got on here
2. Pad Thai
This Pad Thai recipe was taken from the Tesco website. Pad Thai is a favourite of mine whenever we go to a Thai restaurant or order take out so when I saw that it was ‘easy’ I thought I would have a go.
It was soooo easy and absolutely delicious and I am sure that I will be cooking this regularly. The only difficulty is I wouldn’t usually have fish stock or tamarind paste in the house. So the meal needs planning in advance.
So good that it only occurred to me afterwards that I should have taken a photo.
So bad that the house stank for days afterwards. The taste was definitely better than the after-smell.
This was an interesting one and had a very unusual taste and texture. A mince base, with a sort of spicy eggy bread mixture binding it together. It was taken from a children’s cookbook called The World Cook Book. This dish is from Africa and was fairly interesting to make. Due to my dislike of fruit in savoury cooking, it wasn’t the best choice for me but enjoyable all the same.
4. Apple Custard Tart
Have you ever seen those quick videos on Facebook which make out that something is REALLY easy to cook. I thought I would give it a go and yes, it was incredibly easy and quite delicious too, it needs quite bit longer than 20mins and no-one can cut apples that easily but why not give it a go?
5. Wagon Wheels
Who doesn’t love wagon wheels? A childhood favourite of nearly everyone I know. And yes they HAVE got smaller. They were huge when we were young and came one in a packet. The Great British Bake Off gave homemade wagon wheels as the technical challenge. On the programme the were only given a limited time to make the biscuit, marshmallow, jam, put them together and cover them in chocolate, I had a lot longer. They were dinky small, but very rich and very nice. You only need one for a satisfying smackaroo. Recommended.
6. Naan Bread
This was another Great British Bake Off technical challenge, I had never made Naan bread before and this was a version not using yeast, so I thought, why not give it a go. Verdict? It certainly tasted like Naan bread but looked a little anaemic and unappetising. It was also far to much work to justify the end result. I shall continue to buy Sainsburys Naans thankyou very much.
7. Mint cake
Oh my God this is so so so good. It has the texture of Millionaire’s Shortbread but is like a biscuity after eight mint. It is very rich and you don’t need very much (of course I ate far too much). It can be made in little squares for party nibbles or like I did, a dessert for a dinner party. Did I tell you it was good? Don’t believe me, invite me round for dinner and I shall volunteer to make dessert. 🙂
8. Chicken Biriyani
Love a good curry but I must admit I usually cheat and buy a ready made sauce, working on a budget at the moment I found a recipe using store cupboard ingredients ALL of which I had! I only had to but Chicken – and it was a result – bloody delicious!
9. Roasted vegetable and lentil dahl
Another curry and this time I decided to go vegan, it was very nice but not, I repeat not, a hit in the house. The boys didn’t go for it at all, it had horrid things added like, onion, courgette, aubergine and lentils. You would think I was trying to kill them. Doesn’t look like we will be switching to a plantbased diet very soon.
As a family we LOVE pizza, it is our standard good to go – grab out of the freezer dinner. Because we eat pizza in our ‘rush’ days I never make my own. I was determined to master Pizza dough and these Calzones worked a treat! Ham and cheese for everyone, plain cheese for me as it was me vegetarian week, they were delicious.