A bit of procrastinating

After making the very poor decision to do work at home today, I finally got round to doing a psychometric test for a job application for the civil service this morning. It was so traumatising that I didn’t feel like working for the rest of the day. So I didn’t.

Instead I made focaccia and bolognese for dinner, which took most of the afternoon and made me feel like I was doing something productive. And there weren’t any baking disasters, for once (actually, I stuck the magnetic timer to the front of the oven and the oven got so hot that the screen of the timer broke).

Anyway, here’s the focaccia (the spag bol was less photogenic). 

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Suziey’s Baking Disasters – Part 2

My Day in Chocolate:

Took a little group trip to Cadbury World today. Went to the shop, thinking we might buy a couple of things each. I went with the intention of buying a couple of Fry’s orange cremes and peppermint cremes. This is what I ended up buying.

Essentially, we saw an offer for a free teddy bear if you spent £20, so we aimed to spend more than £20 jointly. Seeing all that chocolate in our basket spurred us on, and we spent £45. A successful trip.

 
The Baking Disaster

Thought I’d make orange chocolate mousses for pudding after our takeaway pizza, which we are currently enjoying. Now, I was told that chocolate mousses are very easy to make and nothing could possibly go wrong. Not true. While attempting to beat the egg whites with a fork, with little success, I forgot that the chocolate was in the microwave. It burnt, and looked like a bowl of soil from the garden. I persisted, and poured in the egg whites that wouldn’t go thick after ten minutes of beating. Would have kept beating but I thought it couldn’t be much worse so didn’t bother. Anyway, they’re currently in the fridge and don’t look awful- really it’s just chocolate and egg, how bad can it be?!

Also, I will shamelessly plug http://mcgladtidings.wordpress.com/ ,  because it’s his birthday and also it’s very good.

Bread, Boots and Baking Disasters

My weekend at home

BREAD: 

St Albans market, yesterday morning

WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW

We bought A LOT there, the highlight being a sundried tomato and herby loaf, tasty.

BOOTS:

Got some new boots. Here they are.

BAKING DISASTERS:

National Trust have made some pretty amazing looking greetings cards which double as recipe cards, which I stumbled upon at Cadbury World. Saw a nice looking one with chocolate swirl meringues on the front, so of course I bought it and gave it to mum as a Happy Friday card when I saw her on Friday. Attempted to make the meringues yesterday. For starters, it was a pretty strange meringue recipe, but I can’t really blame the recipe because mine didn’t particularly resemble the meringues pictured on the front of the card. So I made the mixture and started to whisk it until I got the thick consistency that was promised. Ten minutes later, my arm was aching quite a lot. Switched to the electric whisk. Another ten minutes later, still whisking a very runny liquid. Keep going. Ten minutes later, still runny. And now very bored. So abandoned my pre-prepared lined baking sheet and poured it all into a pie dish for a meringue pie. Last step was swirling a bit of cocoa through it, which didn’t really work because it was so liquid. Anyway, we came to try it today and it looked a bit like the site of a volcano eruption and eating it was a bit like trying to bite into a stone made of sugar. I’d say watch this space for attempt number two, but it feels like a bit too much effort.

What the meringues should have looked like…

…and what the meringue did look like. 

Cutting the rock

Luckily, my parents cooked up some better food this weekend:

PIZZA TIME – attempt 4

Last night was attempt 4 of pizza making, this time with a new pizza peel and semolina flour. These were the results:

Pizza tossing: Han and I both mastered the two handed pizza toss after several near misses, one landing dangerously close to the open bin.

Pizza base: ten out of ten for the semolina flour but it only had about 40 minutes to rise so not the bubbliest crust I’ve ever made. Put the left over dough in the fridge and it grew into a monster over night and has taken over most of the fridge. Fingers crossed it will make an incredible pizza.

Cheese: co-op don’t sell buffalo mozzarella, bit of a downside. Will definitely go to Sainsbury’s for future pizza ingredients (was going to start doing all my food shopping at Cadbury World after recently realising that it is closer to my house than Sainsbury’s, but am fairly certain that Cadbury World don’t stock buffalo mozzarella…)

Pizza peel: nearly destroyed the first pizza trying to get it on to the peel. Was convinced that if I did it in one swift movement it would send the pizza flying in to the wall, so I went for the gently edging it on approach, which was of course a disaster, and took a good ten minutes. Luckily getting it into the oven was a bit easier (and the first time in weeks I’ve used the oven without burning my hands- got five separate burns on my hand from this term!)

 

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 A pretty alright looking pizza toss- not sure if I caught it…

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 Tomato spreading- made about ten times too much so if anyone wants any leftover pizza sauce….

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The now much easier task of getting the pizza in the oven- had some nightmares doing this without the peel (see aforementioned hand burns)

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 Hanny got a bit floury

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 THE RESULTS!

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p.s. Got my semolina flour from Shipton Mill (http://www.shipton-mill.com/), definitely recommend it! They sell billions of types of organic flour online and it arrived a couple of days after I ordered it.

pesto perfect, sort of

Made pesto and pasta. Pesto turned out nice although took ages because I tasted it so many times that I couldn’t remember what it was supposed to taste like, sort of like when you say a word so many times it loses its meaning. Rolled the pasta as thin as I could, and it was too thick. Used the leftover pesto to make pesto bread- verrrrrry nice. May or may not have taken the bread into the garden to take a very average photo of it…