Those who know me well will testify that I’m not much of a domestic goddess. Dinner for one usually consists of either a grilled cheese sandwich, toast with peanut butter or eggs.
And while there isn’t a whole lot of experimentation or creativity going on in my kitchen, there is usually quite a bit of bad language.
Cooking for friends and family is worse; I’ve served up inedible pancakes, burnt brownies (hidden under a generous dusting of icing sugar) and a plate of spaghetti and meatballs in which all the meatballs had been cut in half before serving so I could be sure they were cooked.
A constant fear of poisoning people means I rarely cook for others unless it’s something super easy or of Mexican origin … thank you, Old El Paso.
My colleagues are the one exception; they regularly feast on whatever I’ve been sweet treat I’ve baked on the weekend and, bless their little cotton socks, they are always supportive and complimentary!
On the weekend, with a free Saturday up my sleeve and spurred on by a season watching the invention tests of MasterChef, I decided to hit the kitchen.
Armed with two recipes I’d torn from the pages of the Courier Mail, I gave myself a pep talk on the way to get groceries—these recipes required only ‘basic’ cooking skills, so how hard could it be?
Almost an hour and $60 later, I made it out of Coles with the ingredients for sausage rolls and a chocolate cake.
These Chicken, Bacon and Cheddar Sausage Rolls were first on my hit-list.
1/4 cup milk
500g chicken mince
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
2 rashers middle bacon, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 small granny smith apple, grated
1 carrot, grated
1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato chutney
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 sheets butter puff pastry, thawed
Sesame or poppy seeds, for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with non-stick parchment paper.
- Make egg wash by beating egg into milk, set aside.
- Combine chicken, breadcrumbs, cheddar, bacon, onion, apple, carrot, parsley and chutney in a large bowl, season generously with salt and pepper and knead with clean hands until sticky.
- Cut pastry sheets in half. Shape meat into logs along the centre of each piece of pastry, brush one edge with egg wash and firmly roll pastry over the meat, pressing to enclose edge. Now cut each length into 4 sausage rolls.
- Arrange sausage rolls on a prepared tray, brush with remaining egg wash and sprinkle with seeds. Bake at in the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Serve warm with extra tomato relish.
The mixture came together quite easily and the granny smith apple was a nice little twist to the savoury ingredients. The most complicated part of this recipe was trying to arrange the right amount of mixture on the puff pastry.
With the sausage rolls cooked and cooling (and a couple already consumed), I turned my attention to the Lazy day chocolate cake which seemed slightly more challenging given that two cakes needed to bake simultaneously in my temperamental oven and some steps needed to be done in a saucepan.
The cakes weren’t too tricky and the ganache was also fairly straightforward.
While my finished version wasn’t as picture perfect as the MasterChef one, it was more than edible. In fact, two days later, all that remains is a few crumbs and a blob of ganache.
If anyone has any (basic) recipes they think I should try my hand at, I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, I might try my hand at some lasagne pots.