Monday, 5 March 2007


I had another failed cooking weekend.

On Friday I made three new recipes out of my favourite favourite Philip Johnson cookbooks. I love these books as everything I've ever made from them has been absolutely superb and I thought it was the world's only infallible cookbook. Until now.

I first made a tomato and porcini mushroom soup that ended up as not 'Ooh YAY soup for dinner again!' but rather 'Oh. Soup again. Do we have to finish it?'. The recipe specified 75g of dried porcini mushrooms which is over $30 worth. I used about half of that (still pretty extravagant) and put some fresh swiss browns in too. The result was an overly pungent mushroom soup that was not nice. I think even 40g of porcini was way too much.

The second thing I made was fudge. Hard to stuff that up, right? Wrong. It said to simmer the mixture for 15 minutes until it started to change colour and then to press into a tray to cool and harden. I began to think maybe things weren't right when the mixture after 15 minutes was still the consistency of water - pretty hard to press that into a tray! In the end I boiled it for 45 minutes until it went the colour of chocolate. Aha! Finally I've managed to go too far I thought, but poured it onto the tray anyway, just to see. It turned out that it (amazingly) wasn't burnt, and was the consistency of Russian Toffee rather than fudge. It tasted ok actually, but I still count this a failure. I was aiming for fudge, which was not what I got, and if I'd wanted Russian Toffee I would've made Russian Toffee and it would've been better than what I ended up with.

The third thing I made was a flourless pineapple and coconut cake. It browned within 10 minutes in the oven, and after the allocated cooking time was still undercooked in the centre. That could be my oven though. I count this as a failure too, because I didn't like the cake much. But I detest dessicated coconut, so that explains that. Everyone else seemed to like it, but it certainly wasn't over the moon amazing like Mr Johnson's other recipes. Grrr.

So not only did I have a bad cooking Friday, I have lost faith in my favouite cookbook. Cry!

On Sunday, I tried again. I made Mughlai Chicken from Nigella's 'Feast'. This came highly recommended from Mag. I don't know what went wrong, but it was bland and boring. I won't be cooking it again. What a shame. I also made Thai black rice to go with it after seeing it in a shop and getting excited by black rice. It was ok, but it turns out it's really more a dessert rice. Also, it stains things maroon. It was an interesting experiment, but I think I'll be sticking with regular white or brown rice from now on.


Margie said...

Wow. That's all a bit disappointing really.

The only way I have ever managed to make fudge turn out like a bought one is using condensed milk and chocolate. That stuff is da bomb. I'm pretty sure that that is how all those "home made fudge" shops in Hanhdorf make it too. I think the boiled sugar and butter fudge is meant to turn out like russian toffee. It's "old-fashioned".

I can find the recipe for you if you want. For the easy good fudge.

I am surprised you didn't like the Mughlai chicken. I love it. It's so almondy and subtley not quite hot and creamy and delicious. Arm num num. Oh well. Each to their own, huh?

m∃ said...

That's ok Mag - I've already got your fudge recipe - it's in the AUCS cookbook. I've made it before and it was delicious! Certainly better than what I ended up with on the weekend.

I don't know if the Mughali Chicken just wasn't to my taste, or something actually went wrong somewhere. I can't think what, but I'm surprised that we have such different taste!