This is the first in a new series of posts for The Lockwood Echo;
‘Then there was that time…….’
All true anecdotes. Mostly highlighting my utter stupidity & world-class ineptitude. Some will be of the ‘you couldn’t have written the script’ variety.
I sense you are all eager to laugh at me, so let’s get started with;
THEN THERE WAS THAT TIME I REMEMBERED I COULDN’T COOK.
I have touched on this subject before. In the second half of that post, I confess;
‘I was not born to cook. I was born to eat. To me, cooking is chopping a tomato, heating stuff up in the microwave, rinsing a lettuce. My culinary skills remain somewhat underdeveloped. And even when I do feel the urge to grab a recipe and have a go, it’s not unknown for me to substitute most of the ingredients. Usually for chocolate. I’m not completely incompetent. I can fry eggs. Although I have to sacrifice a pan each time.’
We had friends visit one weekend, they had travelled far. Not long having moved into our own home, I was keen to impress and play the hostess with the mostest. I have THE SIMPLEST cheesecake recipe ever to be placed on earth. The base is 2 ingredients, the filling is 4. The whole thing is made in a food processor. The oven does the rest. HOW EASY IS THAT? I would wow our friends with this homemade delight. We would eat outside, the sun would shine, the birds would sing and little cotton candy clouds would waft by as we drifted into bliss, our senses sweetened by the heavenly creamy dreamy cheesecake…….
Meanwhile. Back in reality. Fly on the wall camera pans round to discover me hurriedly opening the oven door to retrieve a part-baked cheesecake. It is called cheeseCAKE for a reason. It is sweet. And for that we add sugar. One of the 4 vital ingredients. So let’s do that then. How I was to add sugar and evenly distribute it into what was basically a batter, I wasn’t sure. If I mixed it in situ, I was bound to disturb the biscuit base. So I decided to pour the filling out of the cake tin into a separate bowl for the procedure, hoping the base didn’t also tip out to join the party. It went fairly well. But no surprise that not all the filling stayed for the round trip. The end result thankfully didn’t reflect the method. It didn’t tell tales on me and it really was a delight. The Cooking Gods gave me a break on that one. They must’ve known how important and special the weekend was.
Pizza and Chips. What could possibly go wrong there? Well, I could give you a list, but let’s focus on what I believe may be a unique culinary error. It’s one of my repetoire that to this day remains in my Top 5 cooking fuck ups of all time. One tray for the pizza. One tray for the chips. One shelf in the oven for each. Until half-time. Because that’s when you take both trays out, give a cursory knowledgeable Michelin Star Rated prod. Nod in a ‘yeah, you’re chef-ing like a pro’ kind of way. Then place the pizza back on its shelf with the chips on top. Maybe I need to clarify; you put the tray of chips directly on top of the pizza. Not back on their own designated shelf. And then you leave it all to finish cooking. Please don’t ask how this was served. In stages, would probably be my best answer.
I can ruin a ready-meal quicker than the microwave can say ‘ping’. My new cookability talent is to forget to serve half of the meal. Often have we sat down and finished something fairly edible, for me to then remember that there was a really nice sharing bread to go with it, still sat in the oven/kitchen/freezing in the freezer. We had a lovely relaxing picnic style meal the other day. I laid everything out on the table, gorgeous dips and things to dip with. A variety of cheeses and butter. Ummmm. Cheeses and butter. There was something missing but I could not put my finger on it. Cheeses and butter……. BREAD! There should be bread! I then remembered I had indeed bought a crusty baguette. The picnic was put on hold whilst I went and searched for it.
I’ve worked in cafes and canteens. I clearly didn’t pick up any tips. Ah, I didn’t pick up any tips. That should’ve been my first clue. But no-one died. I have a marvellous collection of cookbooks at home. It’s just that as soon as I read the bit ‘makes 12 cupcakes’, I start to have palpitations. What size cupcakes? Do I use the little itty-bitty fairy cake cases that you would serve at a 4 year old’s party or the big hipster coffee house muffin cake cases? I can’t guess because I don’t know how much mixture is supposed to go in each one. I can get very stressed over it. If I don’t know where to start, I’m flummoxed from the off!
Yet, despite all that, I can make a Yorkshire Pudding. A pretty decent one. Without measuring. Strange as it seems. Maybe there’s hope for me yet!