The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Part 1

It seems life got in the way of my Winter Wednesday entry this week and I had thought of a really good one too.  Oh well, I’ll save it for next week and hope I actually get the chance to write it up this time.  On top of having a chaotic time of things for the last few days, I’ve also had a few disasters, first time for a while.  I usually feel so proud of telling you all about my successes, I guess it’s only fair that I’m honest about my slip ups, so here goes.

Firstly, I’ll boost my ego a little and tell you about the good, a little kitchen success in the form of a super tasty slow cooked chicken cacciatore.  It was so simple, some lovely chicken thighs (I’ll tell you now I’m a thigh girl) tomato, olives, anchovies, bay leaves and chicken stock, cooked for an hour and a half in my beautiful sage green Chasseur dutch oven pot (if I could keep only one of my most prized possessions it would be this pot, I am totally in love with it and almost everything thing that comes out of it) –

The other love of my life

finished off with the mandatory sprinkling of home grown parsley.  I served this with a combination of mashed potato, pumpkin and parsnip with a good knob of butter, and some baby peas.  In all it was a very satisfying winter meal.

Now for the bad, a very bland, watery curried sausages.  Pretty much everything went wrong with this meal, starting with my casserole dish (not my beautiful green one, I stupidly decided not to use this one for once) being just too small for everything going into this dish.  Then in my attempt to make sure it wasn’t too spicy for Miss Two, I didn’t add enough of the flavour bases and it ended up with no real flavour at all.  I also failed to add enough flour so the sauce didn’t thicken, I ended up having to spoon some of it out, put in some more flour, thicken it in the microwave and then return it to the pot.  Even then the sauce really wasn’t think enough.  In with the sausages was some carrot and cauliflower, both of which were a bit too cruchy for this kind of dish.  These would have been fine in a stir fry, but not suited to this retro classic.  Lastly, I opted to serve this on rice as Miss Two usually loves rice, again this was a bit under cooked – hard to do in a rice cooker, but don’t think I added enough water.  Overall, I think I can safely call this one a big fat failure.  Sadly this was the recommendation of one of my faithful readers, I’m so sorry, I will attempt this one again after a little more research.  I have heard of a version with apple and sultanas (now there’s a retro combination to add to a ‘curry’) which I think Miss Two will enjoy.  Hopefully take two will leave me more positive about this retro Australian staple.

Finally for the ugly, this is the perfect example of why one should NEVER cook while trying to entertain a grumpy, over-tired two year old.  Last Saturday, as mentioned earlier, I ran out of both time and eggs to finish my cooking marathon and as a result we’ve suffered through half a week without cake, slice or other such sweet treats.  To be honest I think I’m the only one who really suffered being the most devoted sweet tooth in the house.  I decided this situation had to be rectified on Wednesday afternoon with a scrumptious looking cheesecake slice from Donna Hay.  On a side note I’ve been working my way through her slice collection from the June/July 2010 issue which I recently re-discovered.  So far I’ve made the Jam Coconut Slice, the Lemon Curd Squares and now the Cheesecake Swirl Chocolate Brownie.  Still to come is the Chocolate Peppermint Slice, the Chocolate Caramel Slice and the Rhubarb Crumble Slice (leaving the best til last perhaps).  I’ve decided to skip the vanilla custard slice (not having the patience to get the custard just right) and the ginger crunch slice (being the only one in the house that likes ginger).

And back to yesterday’s adventure.  Between playing dolls, deciphering two year old whining and doling out much-needed mummy cuddles I managed to get the chocolate brownie base made, though I definitely let the pan get too hot while melting the butter and chocolate so it did go a little strange, but still tasted great.  I realised at this point that I would never be able to get the cheesecake topping made, spooned over and swirled, so left the base aside until after Miss Two went to bed.  At this point the base had become a little bit too set to allow much in the way of swirling, so I chose to change the name to a cheesecake chocolate layered brownie and popped it into the pre-heated oven.  With ten minutes to go on the timer I checked the oven only to discover that the top was a little over done – tanned as my Mum would say.  This slice turned out nothing like the picture in the magazine and really not very attractive looking at all, but it still fulfills the yum factor and being chocolate makes up for any ugliness.

The uglies

So ends a somewhat deflating few days in the kitchen.  Let’s hope Saturday’s efforts are more successful.  You’ll note that this is only part 1 of the good, the bad and the ugly, yes there are more disasters to report on in my next edition.  Also stay tuned for a quirky Winter Wednesday next week.

 

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