A recipe for disaster

My family has a longstanding recipe-sharing joke. And it usually ends in failure.

It all began at Mum’s sporting club.  With an endless supply of sponges, casseroles, soups, lamingtons, pavlovas and yo-yo’s, recipe sharing is rife in this small local community of women.

It is not unusual to enter the club and hear: “That slice is delicious.  I must have the recipe”.  Or, more so: “I love your pav.  Still waiting on the recipe though.”  Or: “What’s that?  You’ve sent me the recipe?  Nope, I didn’t receive it.  So here’s my email address.  AGAIN.”

You see, these gorgeous ladies love a good tasty spread.  As we all do.  Right?

But there’s an undercurrent to all of this which is due to the ‘Baking Chain’.  The Baking Chain is kinda like the Food Chain.  But more dangerous.

In the Baking Chain, there are a number of women, competing for baking survival.  In fact, almost every one of them is pushing for their own baking glory.  And there is always a winner, my friends.  There is always “Mrs I Can Turn Dog Poo Into a Culinary Delight.”  Otherwise known as the Bitch Baking Goddess.

Every week, women in the Baking Chain offer up a delicious feast, having spent hours of blood, sweat and tears in the kitchen, whipped it up in no time.

All for what, you may ask?  To achieve baking greatness.  Of course. To be placed on the cooking pedestal.  Queen of the Baking Chain. To be known for their dish.

It then goes without saying that while recipe sharing is commonplace, there is fierce and ruthless competition in this quest for the holy grail.

Which leads us to the oldest trick in the recipe sharing book.  It’s this:

Share your recipe gladly girls.  With a sneaky proviso.  Be the smiling assassin.  Give the recipe, BUT NOT the full recipe.

It is vital that you miss a key ingredient.  Fiddle with quantities.  Delete the clincher ingredient.  Overstate the cooking time.  Whatever.  Just do not give an even playing field.  It’s too risky.  You CANNOT have anyone cook your dish better than you do.  NUH AH.  NO WAY.

They need to fail.  So they’ll never attempt it again.  And you will remain the master of your dish.  Maybe even rise to become the Baking Goddess of your club.

I know this from experience.  My sister does this to me all the time.  I’ve baked a delicious Apple Ginger Cake – which only tasted of ginger – due to the 5 tablespoons of ginger I was told to add, instead of 1 teaspoon.  I’ve baked pork spare ribs in a thick gluggy sauce – due to being told to add 4 cups of flour, when no flour was necessary.

What can I say, I am a sucker with these things.  I know.  4 cups of flour is A LOT. I am just way too literal and measured in my cooking (And I usually drink…when cooking).  But that’s the way I roll.  And sisters will take advantage of that.

So there it is.  The secret is out.  Beware of the shared recipe.  It is not shared out of kindness.  Nor generosity.  It is only a step for someone else to climb the Baking Chain, and mush your baking status into the ground. With a mortar.  And pestle.

If you want a recipe, or need to check on a recipe that was so kindly shared with you, do what I usually do.  Google it.

Enjoy the Pork Spareribs recipe peeps.  It’s a cracker.  Honest.  It’ll be a huge success for you.  Haha.

Amy x

Size does not matter

That’s what I’m always told anyway.  By Mr F.

I do tend to agree.  As long as the outcome is the same, then we’re all happy.

What?  We’re talking about rissoles right?  Well I am.  And if you’re not, then could you please quietly step out of the gutter?  Haha.

Apparently I have size issues.  With my rissoles.  What begins as a good, hearty meat pattie, ends as a small pip-squeak of a rissole.

Or ‘riss’ as Mr F has taken to calling them.  Because there is no ‘ole’.  They’re too small for that.

Here, look at this little beauty, only just bigger than a cherry tomato.

I tell you what though, my riss’s may be small, but they do get hoovered down.  By the whole family.  It’s better for digestion.  Being so little. Isn’t it?  It must be.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, the outcome is the same.

DELICIOUS!

As my cooking test has clearly demonstrated, size doesn’t count.  It’s the effort that goes into it and satisfying the need, which can make or break you fellas all.

Signing out,

Amy x

Vintage Ice-cream Cones

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Fennells Lost and Found: Ice Cream Cones. Last seen in 2009. Apparently.

How old can something be before it becomes a ‘vintage’ item?

Like food for example: it is vintage waaayyy before cars, jewellery, furniture, and other old stuff. Milk is vintage after a week, bread even less. Mushrooms: a few days. Chocolate: 24 hours (in my house anyway)!

Anyway these ice cream cones were either back dated or they’ve been hiding from me for three years. That’s a long time to be storing food. And you know, when I finally found them, I actually checked the cones for crunch (with my fingers) before I even checked the date. Yes prior to the date check I considered keeping the suckers.

But my vintage food story gets better. I found a mini chocolate bar keeping the cones company. I offered it to Mr F for his lunchbox. Just after my unselfish and loving offer I found a small tear in the wrapper and discovered that the innards had been eaten. By something. Rodent-like I’m guessing. God knows when? From my track record it could have been umpteen years ago? Eewww. Pantry is now on rodent lockdown. And undergoing thorough spring clean.

What’s the oldest food piece you’ve found in your pantry? Hope I haven’t grossed you out too much.

Ciao and eat safe.

Amy x

Local bakery wins us over with service

I LOVE good service.  To me customer service is everything.  It can make or break my day.  It is often lacking, so when I get great service I really appreciate it.

Yesterday I took my girls for a treat at the small local bakery – Crestwood Bakery Deli.  I’ve only been there once before a few years ago and the food was ordinary, service nothing to note.

The bakery has recently had a facelift – possibly new owners?  I guess they had to do it – with Zarraffas two doors down and and a few other fancy coffee shops in the complex.

So yesterday we gave the new/old bakery another try, and we were very pleasantly SURPRISED.

I ordered lemonade spiders (big treat) for the girls.  They weren’t on the menu, but they’d had them there before.  The young assistant hesitated, but the manager came over and said ‘sure thing’.

I asked if the girls could share a spider, but each have their own glass. The assistant again not sure, told me they could have two straws/one cup.  I was fine with this.

The manager then took over and brought the spiders out in two milkshake glasses, each with a straw and both looking full to the brim.  He paid attention to my kids (even the three year old who can’t sit still for love or money).  Now that’s good service surprise!  My expectations had been exceeded.

See, it doesn’t take much.  Just to give that tiny bit extra.  I’ll go back there often.  I’m now telling all my friends about it, including you!

They also have little lounge chairs for the smalls – which Jazzie ADORED (and looks quite at home)!  They served our cherry slice with extra dollops of cream and chocolate syrup.  Not to mention the coffee was GREAT.

Up till then my day had been okay.  After this I felt happy – I’d had a lovely afternoon tea with my girls.  I’d had a REALLY GOOD SERVICE EXPERIENCE.

Thank you Crestwood Bakery Deli.  You probably don’t even realise how you uplifted my day with just a few small gestures.  I do appreciate it.

Gold Coast Locals – if you get a chance visit this bakery – they are in the Crestwood Plaza, Molendinar.  You will be one very happy customer.  Just like the three of us,  Okay there’s more crazy going on in this pic.  Happy crazy maybe?

Love ya, Amy x

Bake. Cake. Rock. Hard…Trifle!

Hiya.

Cake Disaster.  Baking Trainwreck.  Bake Smash.

Ever happened to you?  Cooking merrily on your way. Grand plans for your little one’s birthday cakes.  Oooh, they’re going to be delightful.  All the mums will ooh & aah and compliment me on my culinary expertise, smoothness, ability to do it all and so well at that.  Kids will devour my cupcakes and come back for more.

Hah!   Snort.  Apparently I’d wandered off to Fairy Cake Land.

Reality: This doesn’t happen.  Fancy thinking all of these fanciful thoughts.

I’ve baked many a Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake.  Not once has it been a pleasurable experience.  Each time I start out with the best intentions and a big serve of enthusiasm.

Midway through the cake bake I’m tiring, things aren’t turning out as they should and I’m knee deep in butter icing, licorice, marshmallows and god knows what other sticky, icky delight.

By the end of the bake, I fall into an exhausted coma/sleep, disappointed that my cake DOES NOT look like the picture, but it will have to do.  Seriously, how is warm chocolate meant to stick to ice cream in a neat, orderly, decorative fashion – with no meltage?  But I digress.

It all began a few nights ago with a pretty, sweet cookbook that a friend gave to my daughters.  Sugar, spice, all things nice – yes all that stuff.  Well blah blah blah.  Here’s my grown-up recipe review:  It sucked.

I was baking from said recipe book for the first time.  STOP right there.  We all know that we DO NOT try new recipes when we are on deadlines.  We go with tried and tested – CAKE MIX.  Well apparently not for Super Mum/Me (tongue in cheek).

And so it began.  My cake mix was very thick.  Doughy thick.  I perservered, spooning the heavy mixture into the cupcake patties.  Into the oven.  They rose beautifully.  Golden brown.  Removed from oven.  Cooled.

And they are ROCK HARD.  I could seriously play tennis with one.

Then there were TEARS.  What now?  I always bake something special for the kids’ birthdays.  Mr F suggested a trip to the supermarket.  But not an option.  I had to turn this around, but how?  Then it struck me.  TRIFLE.

And so it was.  Plastic cups.  Jelly.  Custard.  Soakage into cake to soften it.  Chocolate.    SAVED.  just.

No points for cake presentation, but hey, kids ate it all up so they must have been half decent.  Or kids were starving.

Shake n Bake baby.

Amy x

ps.  For the record: it WAS the recipe that was bad, NOT the baker.