Monday, 16 August 2010

A lesson in failure...

I want to let you all know that it's not always sunshine and roses in Mrs B's kitchen.

I don't always perform feats of culinary mastery. More often than not I'm flying by the seat of my pants/trousers and if there's a good result... Bonus! but sometimes (a lot of the time) there are mistakes, mis-read recipes, ovens left unattended or forgotten.

That kind of thing, admittedly, doesn't happen often. Most of the time the little fairies in my oven work wonderful magic and I pass it off as my own "hard work" after lots of praying "please work please work please work" and doing a little jig in front of the oven door.

I do make mistakes, though, and here's proof...

I read an idea on The Interwebs the other day that Bananas make really good vegan ice cream... if you freeze them whole, then put them straight into the food processor/blender, they contain just enough freeze and self-binding that that's all you need to do. Freeze, scramble, eat.

Simple enough, right? So, I froze some bananas....

And then I tried to peel them. But peeling them from frozen seemed rather tricky so I jumped back to The Interwebs and did a search for "peeling frozen bananas".... And it would seem that I'm an ass. Did you know that you should Peel. Them. First.!? Neither did I! So, all those brown, ugly, useless rocks were composted and I did this...

That seems so much more sane... with the benefit of hindsight. - I'll be making Banana Ice Cream soon (once I get over the self-humiliation of The Frozen Banana Peel Incident) and I'll let you know how what I thought of it when I do.

I decided, then, that it was time for a success in Mrs B's kitchen, so I did this...

I soaked some haricort beans so I could make some vegan Boston Baked Beans using this recipe.

This is what I got after 7 hours in the crock pot...

Nasty, no? See how they're all black/brown and there's almost no water/moisture? Not like Boston Baked Beans at all! So, why didn't the recipe tell me to add water?? What did I miss?? I went back to the recipe and scrutinised it...

When I made the recipe I read the ingredients and the bit about cooking them in the crockpot rather than the oven. This means I skipped the instructions that weren't relative (as far as I could see) to the method I planned to use. I read "Boil the soaked beans for 30 minutes, as directed above. Then, instead of combining everything in a casserole, combine them in the crock pot instead" which, to me, means that I add everything that's in the ingredient list, right?

No, as it happens. I'm a dumbass. There are instructions for both cooking methods in the first paragraph. How many times have I read a knitting pattern, a sewing pattern, a crochet pattern through All. The. Way. to make sure I understood everything?? Too many to count. There is supposed to be water added. Now I know.

And "knowing" is half the battle.

So, here I am, two failures under my belt in the same day. Argh.

What do I do? Do I admit defeat and call the day a wash? Start again tomorrow?

Hell no! I start again straight away, salvage some of my cook-esteem, redeem myself in the eyes of.... myself.

I made this little beauty...

Apple Tosca

And here's how... (non-Vegan advice can be found at the end of the post)

Preheat your oven to 200C (just under 400F)

While your oven is heating, slice 4 medium-sized apples and spread over a baking pan (for this amount, I find a pie plate is a sufficient size) and put in the oven so that the apples have a chance to cook and soften a little while you're preparing the top.

Now, in a saucepan over low heat, combine the following:

75 grams (1/3cup) milk-free margarine

75 ml (just under 1/3cup) sugar

2 tablespoons agave nectar (I used less because of the ice cream) you could also use maple syrup or corn syrup

2 tablespoons cream (I had oat cream but decided to use soy ice cream)

200 ml (just under 1cup) oats

75 ml (1/3cup) flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional. I didn't add it this time)

When everything is melted and mixed well together: take the apples out of the oven. Pour (scoop) the oatmeal mixture over the apples and spread evenly.

Bake for 20 minutes.

It should look something like this (if you omit the cinnamon. If you use cinnamon it will look like this but speckly)...
Pretty, isn't it? It tastes even yummier than it looks!

Here's mine with soy custard...
And Mr B's with soy vanilla ice cream...

So, to come we have Boston Baked Beans, the Redux and Banana Ice Cream, also a Redux. Let's hope these incarnations go a little more smoothly! I don't think my cook-esteem could take another blow this week! *grins*

Apple Tosca comes from a family favourite that's totally not vegan so feel free to use normal margarine, cream (or ice cream) and honey as to your heart's content. My family loves each version equally as *whispers* they can't tell the difference! ;)

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