I'm not a cook by nature. I can't whip up something sponetaneously with the ingredients I have in the fridge. What I can do is follow instruction - so if there is a recipe I can cook something step by step.
After cooking a lot for The Little Guy I am slowly being a bit more adventurous with my choice of recipes.
Last night I ventured a bit out of my comfort zone by baking. My last attempt was a failure so I was a bit apprehensive.
I bought the Strawberry and Vanilla jam from Bitton so I followed their recipe to make a Strawberry, Vanilla and Apple Shortcake. This is what it's supposed to look like:
I have no idea how to make dessert. When the recipe said "cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until smooth" I didn't know what I should use to blend. I ended up using a hand-held food processor. I didn't know what to do with the butter either - I tried blending without softening the butter and of course it didn't work. 30 seconds at low power in the microwave did the trick.
The next obstacle? " Knead until smooth", said the recipe. Well how do I know if it's smooth enough? This is the dough before kneading:
I kneaded it for a few minutes and it looked OK but I didn't know if it was ready so I kneaded a bit more (BTW can you over-knead?). This is the dough after kneading.
I was a bit worried about the apples. From recipe: "Place the apples and 3 tablespoons of water into a medium saucepan over a low heat and allow to soften (about 15 minutes)". I didn't think 3 tablespoons of water would have been enough, but after a while I saw that the heat rose through the juice in the apple slices so that was OK.
I didn't have a rolling pin either so I just used my hands to flatten the dough.
I was anxiously waiting for the timer to beep. When it was ready I opened the oven door and it looked OK!
I didn't have any icing sugar, and the strawberries that I bought last weekend gone off early, so I couldn't make it look prettier. It passed the taste test though.
The recipe suggested serving with whipped cream (which I didn't have either), I can see why they suggested it as the pastry was a bit on the dry side, but I'm not a big fan of whipped cream so I think I'll serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or mascarpone next time.
And today I had another first - I roasted a whole chicken for the first time! The recipe is from Kraft. I received a cookbook for free a little while ago when I bought some Philly cream cheese. Of course every recipe uses cream cheese in one way or another.
This is the recipe I chose - Roast Chicken with Cream Cheese and Herb Stuffing.
It was surprisingly easy to prepare. I bought a chicken from my butcher today (found out that they grow herbs at the back of the shop and they give them out for free - bonus!) and it didn't take long to finish the prep work.
This is the finished product.
I put the stuffing on the wrong side of the chicken, but it tasted good anyway.
That's enough cooking for me for a while - it's gonna be pizza tomorrow night!
Shane the butcher gave it a recipe for pork knuckles today - that may be my next project!