Friday 30 December 2016

2016 Recipe Disasters!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

What a fun/embarrassing post this was to write!
When I actually dug into my 2016 photo archives, I was amazed by how many disasters I had had this year and forgotten about. I am the worst when things go wrong in the kitchen.
At the time, I get so frustrated and annoyed. It's when I look back that I can have a real laugh and giggle over them. If there's one thing I've learnt from this whole cooking and baking thing, it's that getting things wrong sometimes is part and parcel of the job. You have got to make mistakes in order to become better at what you're doing. Anyway, I loved writing up this years (see 2015 here!) kitchen disasters. It was quite therapeutic in a weird way. And, don't worry, I can assure you that none of this food went to waste. Unless of course, it was completely inedible in which case we have a brilliant food waste recycling system here.

Let's begin!

These noodles sounded like a good thing but I overdid the cinnamon and soy. Let's just say the delicate rice noodles and chicken mince had no chance!

This was some kind of falafel attempt which did not go well. It was super dry which is why I drowned it in yoghurt and ate it with my favourite sweet potato fries.

Oh my god, please look away right now!! These were supposed to be citrus bars. Think lemon bars but using orange, lime and grapefruit instead of the lemon. It was the biggest disaster. The biscuit base got stuck to the baking paper, was really burnt (those edges!!!) and the curd just collapsed.

I love me some potstickers but these ones fell apart. Probably because I left them on an un-floured plate which made them super sticky and then meant they ripped and completely fell apart.

Ok, even I am surprised that I had a disaster with Nutella. So, this was a no-bake Nutella cheesecake. The filling was ok because duh, Nutella. But the base was not so good. Basically I decided to do the whole nutty base thing and add hazelnuts to my digestive biscuit base. Completely forgetting that I am not a fan of hazelnuts in their pure form. Sure, I loved them blended up in my favourite chocolate spread. But, stealing the limelight from my beloved digestives? No thank you!

Another hazelnut disaster! Somehow I decided to ruin my Nutella cookies by adding in hazelnuts. The poor Nutella had no chance. Why??

So, these were courgette pea fritters or something. But the problem was with the tomato relish. I mean, do you see that pool of oil??! Basically I decided that it was a good idea to put in both fresh tomatoes and sundried tomatoes. Completely forgetting how strong sundried tomatoes can be. Cue oil everywhere!

Aahh ... how pretty is this Swiss roll? Well my friends, don't be fooled. This is a classic of example of how a little clever photography can make even a cracked Swiss roll look good. Basically I overfilled it with whipped cream and the whole thing had a giant crack down one side. I mean, even the polka dots couldn't save it. Really tasty though.

This fish pie looks amazing but for two things. I had thrown in smoked haddock and a lot of fresh parsley. The two basically overpowered the whole pie.

So, this was some sort of Kabuli/Afghani pulao. It tasted really good but I kind of had the wrong idea about the carrots and sliced them way too thick.

These green banana crepes turned out well but I just had to share what always happens with me and crepes/pancakes. The first one always goes crazy wrong. It's because the pan is still heating up to its right temperature.

This was some sort of curry stir-fry thing with chicken. But it ended up really thick and the spring onions weren't the best idea.

Oh my gosh! These buns were so bad, they deserve two pictures!

These were probably my biggest disaster of this year. Basically I wanted to make a chocolate version of these buns. And, oh my days, I just don't know what happened. They turned out so heavy, dry and the raisins were literally popping out of the dough. It was so sad!

These were lamb mince dumplings. I rolled the pastry out way too thick and so, the dumplings ended up being really chewy. Oops.

So, these were a take on a healthy-ish chocolate bar. You know, the kind made with raw cacao powder, maple syrup and virgin coconut oil. I threw in pieces of clementine and let the whole thing chill until set. I mean, it was ok if you like that kind of thing. For me, the way coconut oil sets once it's cold was just not appealing. It felt like we were eating cubes of chocolate oil which we basically were.

Oh, I remember these quinoa pancakes. But for all the wrong reasons. Basically I thought if I try to mask the taste of the quinoa with eggs, sugar and a tonne of syrup, I could actually force myself to eat it. Let's just say that the quinoa overpowered everything. Even my fresh berry compote couldn't save those pancakes.

This was the time that I decide to replace the usual white sauce in macaroni cheese with Quark!! All I'm going to say is that it tasted like sour, tangy yoghurt with pasta. Never again.

Back in the spring, I thought it would be a good idea to up my pavlova game and try to fill it with a homemade pineapple curd. Only problem was that I completely eyeballed the curd recipe and the whole thing didn't thicken up as it should have. Cue curd leakage everywhere.

I am a Chinese dumpling addict. This giant, tear-and-share version seemed like a really good idea at the time except I didn't get the filling to dough ratio right. So, we had lots of sad bits of dough without any filling. Maybe we could have used them to mop up the leaky pineapple curd?

Oh my god, look away right now! This guys, is my attempt at proper barbecued chicken legs. That's right. I was trusted with raw meat and hot coals. I think the picture above says enough.

Oh, this was the saddest dish ever. It's another take on a chicken manchurian. Everything was going so well except somehow we decided to cook it in advance and so the crispy fried chicken soaked up most of the sauce and became the soggiest thing ever. Ugh!

These tiramisu brownies seemed like such a good idea. But I decided to stray from my favourite gooey brownie recipe and so ended up with a hard, really thick one that no amount of coffee whipped cream could save.

So, this was a version of jerk chicken that I tested before falling for this one. Anyway, the one in the picture was just way too spicy. Like really badly spicy. Plus I wasn't a fan of the texture of the chicken drumsticks with the jerk sauce.

Ok, so I didn't exactly cook this myself. The sausage here is a Quorn hotdog that was just so smoky. Like really overpowering. Maybe next time I'll stick to making my own with real meat.

Oh, stuffed peppers. These were with rice and somehow, unlike last year, I managed to actually get the peppers completely cooked. But the rice filling didn't have much flavour. So sad!

This was a strawberry cheesecake ice cream pie that I made during Ramadan. Somehow the cheesecake filling and whipped cream topping decided to separate themselves from each other once frozen. I have no idea how. But it was a summer Ramadan, and at Iftar, any cold dessert will do.

Oh my gosh, another Swiss roll crack! This was my chocolate log that I made during Ramadan, and unlike the original recipe, decided to stuff it with more whipped cream. And of course, it cracked. So tasty!

Um, a question? Can fried chicken ever be too crunchy? It seems that this one was. Let's just say that it felt like all we were eating was fried batter. The chicken got completely lost in the middle.

Oh, that puddle! This was an orange pound cake with a zesty orange glaze. The pound cake was the best and made an appearance in this trifle. I baked a second loaf which was delicious too but got the glaze measurements really badly wrong. 

This was a mango, turmeric, oat and ginger bircher muesli thing. Ugh ..... let's just say that all you could taste was raw ginger. It completely overpowered everything. Not what you want first thing in the morning.

Not a recipe disaster in itself but I know that there are a tonne of methods out there showing you how to cut corn off the cob without it going everywhere. I am just too lazy and prefer to clear up the mess rather than read said methods.

Oh my god, this was bad!!! This is the spicy french toast and let's just say that the red chilli powder was off the scale spicy. We grind our own dried red chillies at home and they are super spicy. My mother went a little heavy-handed in this recipe and we suffered. It was painful. Like stick your tongue in cold fruit yoghurt afterwards painful.

No amount of recipe book instruction or YouTube tutorial could help me get through making this 8 strand plaited loaf. Why on earth did I think, as a plaited loaf novice, starting with 8 strands was a good idea?! 

Oh, this was so sad! This was a chocolate poke cake that I made for Eid-ul-Adha. I knew it would be crazy gooey and so made it the day before to let it set in the fridge overnight. And, it still collapsed. On Eid day. Just before Eid lunch.

Oh my days, filling these chicken pittas was one of the hardest things ever. Look closely and you'll see that most of the actual pitta breads are torn. Probably because I was trying to stuff them with too many things. But I don't know why it always happens to me. Whether I heat the bread first or use it cold, it always cracks!!

Yep, you are seeing right. It's cracked Swiss roll number 3 of 2016. When will I ever learn? This is a rhubarb and custard roll which once again I overfilled and it cracked. Story of my life.

So, this was a spicy omelette that I actually shot a full photo recipe for. One mistake though. I somehow thought I would be able to flip this giant 4-egg omelette in one go. Um, no! The entire thing broke and had to be pieced back together. I was super annoyed. Plus it tasted more like a frittata than an omelette. A smaller size for next time, I think.

Ugh! Why am I always trying to do something different with macaroni cheese?!!! First Quark and now, butternut squash. That's right. I thought I would cook the squash down, blend it and use it as the "creamy" base for the pasta. It didn't go so well. The pasta decided to suck up all the sauce so the whole thing was crazy dry. Add to it those rosemary red chilli breadcrumbs and no, just no.

Why do I torment my vegetables? The poor swede was the victim this time. I decided to make fritters out of it but got a little too crazy with the spices. The swede was completely overpowered and we were drinking all the water in sight.

Oh my gosh, I am still so sad about this recipe. I was trying to make some sort of lasagne thing but instead of pasta sheets, I made crepes. And, instead of a mince sauce, I made a curried chicken. And, instead of a tomato sauce, I used cherry tomatoes. Which had somehow decided to go off and ruin the flavour of everything. Still so sad about it.

Aaaah .... another super sad thing. These are red velvet whoopie pies. The actual pies were fine. It's the filling that gave me the biggest problem. I decided to let my cream cheese come to room temperature and so the whole filling lost its stiff consistency. They kind of look nice on camera but there were cream cheese frosting pools everywhere.

And, we're at the end with probably the worst one of all. This was supposed to be a cookie pie. Can we just make a list of the mistakes:
1. I didn't blind-bake my pastry. Even though I knew the filling would be pretty wet.
2. I let my nephew and nieces loose on the raw pastry base with a set of spoons and Nutella. Who knew spoons could rip and tear pastry?
3. I baked the pie at a low temperature for a ridiculously short amount of time.
4. Once it looked baked, I didn't do the poke test to see if the middle was cooked.
5. I cut into it pretty much straight away. Raw cookie dough poured out and there was the world's biggest soggy bottom. Mary would not have been impressed.

Keep me in your duas please!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

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