Sunday, 21 August 2011


For some time now, I have been trapped in a sort of long-term ‘Domestic Goddess Internship’; a bastard of a journey, long hours and unpaid - but ultimately, if you make it, a springboard into glory. 

Now, following that nicely shoehorned metaphor, I shall share with you some of my nuggets - nay, pearls - of wisdom that have been garnered by what can only be described as ‘cocking up a storm in the kitchen’. 

To set the scene, it was a quiet June evening. The Boyfriend was in bed with a headache, and I - having just devoured the latest copy of Waitrose Kitchen - was rallied with a false sense of potential and desire to offer something to relieve said headache of my beloved. 

Obviously, I felt the entire enterprise should be broadcast out via Twitter, 140 agonising characters at a time.

NB: Apologies to the The River Cottage for failing to faithfully follow their recipe for ‘Almond Tart with Strawberries’. 

Culinary supremacy does not come without its costs. Mostly to my pride and clean work surfaces. Hereby follows HJ’s Twenty-Four Step Guide to Bastardising a Flan.

1: Begin to prep pastry _before_ realising you not have a ‘flan’ tin-thing. Make do w/tin substantially lacking in diameter #CookingwithHJ

2: Since overcoming the recent battle to check full list of ingredients, begin to prep filling before checking the _amounts_ needed 

3: Get so engrossed in making filling, forget to take baking pastry from oven. #CookingwithHJ

4: Whilst Boyfriend headachy, begin screeching b/c usual oven gloves are in wash, & clean alien gloves don’t open oven door. #CookingwithHJ

5: Hot ovens are hot. Avoid pushing tray back into oven with bare hand. #CookingwithHJ

6: Having salvaged mostly edible remains of pastry base, spill ‘shape-forming baking beans’ across counter and floor. #CookingwithHJ

7: Realise you have started on a 3 hour baking mission at 8pm. #CookingwithHJ

8: Mid-mixing, realise you lack enough key ingredient. Run out into street covered in flour & wearing polka-dot pinny. #CookingwithHJ

9: On street, remember you’re still wearing slippers, & forgot your purse, before haring up to corner shop for ingredient. #CookingwithHJ

10: At corner shop, be greeted by, “Oh god, what are you cooking now?! Going badly, huh?’ #CookingwithHJ

11: Substitute unsalted butter w/salted butter. Hope for best. #CookingwithHJ

12: Once bastardised version of River Cottage’s strawberry & almond flan in oven, completely forget what time ‘baking’ began. #CookingwithHJ

13: Wipe icing sugar off face. Review wreckage of kitchen counter, inc. washing pile. #CookingwithHJ

14: Open gin bottle. Forget everything. #CookingwithHJ

15: Drop iPhone in leftover mixture. Lick iPhone. #CookingwithHJ

16: Where possible, work with ancient and cantankerous gas oven, which doesn’t keep a constant temp. thru-out. #CookingwithHJ

17: Return to gin glass. If it wasn’t meant to rise, it has now. #CookingwithHJ

18: When checking on progress, absent-mindedly turn off gas. Sit down for 20 minutes. #CookingwithHJ

19: On opening & reheating oven, allow smoke to pour into kitchen. Start fanning back-door furiously, to avoid smoke alarms/boyfriend going mental. #CookingwithHJ

20: Stand back, and enjoy stifled choking and forced murmerings of ‘Mmm.’ #CookingwithHJ

21: (Stood alone in kitchen) Consistency test: “It’s crunchy. Flans aren’t meant to be crunchy.” #CookingwithHJ
(From @richxphotog: if it’s crunchy, it’s gone past flan; it is now a tart.)

22: If in doubt, take most edible slab (salvaged from charred entity) & take to the office w/ an air of effortlessly victorious domestic goddess. #CookingwithHJ

23: Cover creation with two punnets of strawberries in a valiant effort to hide colour/texture inconsistencies. #CookingwithHJ

24: In office, pass round single cream to ‘take the edge off’ crunchiness. 

And there, reader, you have it. Total incompetency, stubborn determination and a feigned expression of delight at end result is all you will need to recreate this crunchy fruit tart. 

To close, I should share with you this gem from @richxphotog: 

@HJFantaskis Sounds like you’ve invented your own genre of pudding. A fruit quiche niche, if you will. 

Praise indeed. 

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