Thursday, August 16, 2012

Three fails!

It started off as a great foodie plan, filled with so much winter goodness. Miss Pepper ordered pumpkin soup. She was desperate for it. She would eat four bowls full if we made it.

Not being a pumpkin eater myself, I hid my concerns and I asked for advice on choosing a good one. 

We came home with a fine looking Jap, we sliced it in half and she scooped out the pips. She saved them in a bowl so she could plant them in the ground. She was careful to get them all so she could plant HEAPS!!! She would grow a life time supply of soup pumpkins she announced.

And then we found a recipe and followed it to the gram. I would not be tasting it, so I had to trust it.

Then we chopped and peeled and measured and seasoned and boiled and simmered and finally we blended.

Then I sat her down for lunch with a steaming hot bowl of pumpkin soup. 

And after one mouthful she declared it was waaaaaaay too spicy. She put down her spoon and left the table. And that was that.

Failure number one.

While the soup was cooking I considered the big chunk of orange we had left over and decided to make pumpkin scones. I googled and started assembling the ingredients for the first recipe on the list.

We weighed and mashed and measured and mixed. Then we rolled out the dough and cut the circles and popped them in the oven.

But for some reason, no matter how long they spent in the oven, they came out like small, hard orange rocks.

Failure number two.

And then the mandarinalade.

You can probably guess what happened to that.

It was all going to plan. I was already standing next to the stove, so I decided to finish the batch I'd started the night before.

I blended, I weighed, I measured, I stirred. And it boiled and boiled and boiled.

After about 25 minutes, it was finally at that stage where the jars were warming in the bottom of the oven, the plates were in the freezer ready to start testing for readiness...when Miss Pepper started screaming at me from the bathroom to come and wipe her bum....

Burnt mandarinalade.

Failure number three.

I felt awful. Three strikes and I was out. My cooking morning had been a waste of time. And a waste. And I still had to make dinner. And do the dishes!!!!

But then the boys came in and loved the spicy, hot soup after their freezing, cold morning. The girls ate the pumpkin biscuits when they came home from school (anything with a bit of sugar). I gave the family tastings of the burnt mandarin marmalade and they didn't hate it. Maybe I'll cook with it, maybe it'll make good compost. And my farmer boy saved the scorched saucepan with the help of some bicarb and vinegar.

And then the 500 day-old chicks arrived. Eeeep, so cute!!!

It's all good, just a little bit different than I'd planned.

And no more orange in my life for a while I think.

So how are you going this week?
Are you winning in the kitchen?
Could you cook something you don't eat yourself?
Do you do orange?

Check ya chickies. xx


  1. Love that you posted about cooking failures! I had a few on the weekend too. To asked for spicy fried chicken so I stepped away from my seeing machine & got to work. The kids wanted potato balls so I got a recipe from Pinterest & got to work. Nobody liked any of it so I threw a bit of a tantrum, told them all they could eat things from packets & jars from now on & that they could all cook their own dinner! I was done for the day!! They all made themselves some dinner, apologized for hurting my feelings & I resolved to keep trying....

  2. I love cooking with pumpkin. We usually like Japs and then we just slice it in half and put it in the oven for 45 min face down (it kinda roasts and steams itself that way) then scoop out the flesh and freeze it in portions for either pumpkin and herb damper

    or Pumpkin and Ginger Vegan Scones

    For both the dough is really sticky, but you've got to try to not add anymore flour. The scones are a family favourite (one time my husband and I made them in the evening when the kids were in bed and we finished them that night. there was a strike the next day when we were found out :-) )

  3. 500 chickens?!! Oh my, that is a LOT of adorable-ness!
    Three cooking failures would really upset me, though it sounds like it actually all turned out okay in the end.

  4. This post made me laugh..I hope they weren't my pumpkin scones..recipe posted a couple of days ago..saturday? I have days too, when things don't turn out how I imagine they would. Seems like the day turned out beautiful beyond imagination with all those gorgeous fluffy chicks and other appreciative members of the family!

  5. I LOVE you.
    and i LOVE pumpkin. LOVE it.

  6. Ohthe flourless orange cake that NEVER fails, failed today and it was my daughter's birthday cake for tomorrow....went out and bought one that cost me a squillion dollars at a fancy cake shop...oh I am really bummed out.
    Sometimes things just dont work out!

  7. last week i forgot about the black beans i had boiling on the stove for patties, and burnt them and the pot and filled our whole apartment with a nasty smoky smell that would not go away. FAIL! ; )

  8. ....the sour-sweet bits of life!!!
    I really enjoyed reading this post!!!
    xxxx Alessandra

  9. Oh, so frustrating!

    I screwed up so many batches of sourdough that I stopped baking for a while, plus I was so frantic with work that I didn't have the energy. Yesterday I got back to it, making the standard yeasted bread and hot-cross buns from the River Cottage book - and they worked out brilliantly. Auden has started saying 'Bun! Bun!', and right now they're one of the few things he'll eat. I feel so much saner after a bit of time baking, even though I have so much work to do and shouldn't be using up precious childcare time on anything else.

    I have been watching Farmer Bren's sourdough efforts and wondering how he gets such brilliant results. Did he make his own starter? Maybe your beautiful oven is the magic ingredient.

  10. My bread dropped yesterday, still tastes good though, think it's the heat...
    Loving the chicks...500!!! wow!!
    I enjoy reading your blog, one of the reasons being you are seasonally opposite to me....whilst you are wrapped up and chilling.............I'm wandering around trying to find some shade and dashing off to swim (but, gradually, it'll be 'all change' again for both of us.
    Take care

  11. Try to find Lady Flo's pumpkin scone recipe. A Qld secret.

  12. Aaw, sorry for you! As consolation, I followed you mandarinalaide recipe to the full stop, and it came out fantastically! There were a few miscalculations along the way, such as halving the ingredients but ending up with double the volume...I had to scoop out quickly as I only had a third of the required sugar :-D But the end-product - I could enter some women's competition, I'm sure.

  13. Oh goodness....I hate days like this when everything goes wrong in the kitchen. I love your blog though, so very beautiful. My housemate and I live in a tiny unit and always read it and get so inspired!!! Thank you so much.

  14. I made a failed banana cake yesterday and posted on facebook - banana cake/bread fail - how is that even possible????
    I've made it a million different ways and often dont even measure, i've had fluffy ones, dense and heavy ones and i love them all... but last nights was just weird! and yuck.

    and I cant believe you dont like pumpkin! pumpkin soup is divine! esp with spoonful of sour cream! and fresh bread!

  15. Have to get some pumpkins ..looks yum

  16. Nothing more infuriating than spending hours in the kitchen and to feel you've wasted your time and added to the washing-up. Actually, there is one more thing. Spending time in the kitchen every single day making meals for little ones to then see it all end up on walls and floors, not in their tummies.

  17. Oh and I meant to say that I bet your 'caramelised' marmalade will be the business with some cheese and crackers...

  18. Lovely post! Laughed out loud reading it :) .. A Hindi saying comes to my mind - translating it in English "If the end/result is good, then the whole journey/process was good!"

  19. haha! oh dear, ive had many a morning like that...
    p.s. i laughed when i read '500 day old chicks' as being 500 days old! very specific ha.
    enjoy the 500 babies.

  20. I bet that was how Maggie invented her burnt fig jam icecream... there's an idea brewing here

  21. i am failing miserably at sourdough. i keep trying day after day but have very little luck. the culture is back in the fridge for a bit until i dare try again.
    love pumpkin second fav veg after broccoli.

  22. Not a pumpkin fan here either. That and peas. Yuck. I will cook them for others in the house who eat them but they have to test them because I will vomit if I do.

    Been too busy sewing to bake this week, though it has been so cold here that cooking some comforting warm afternoon teas or puddings should have been a priority.

  23. Oh I know these kind of days too well. With a child with major complex food allergies and intolerances sometimes I can get through 7 recipes before he will actually eat something and not declare it disgusting. With respect to the pumpkin soup, you just overtried I'm afraid. Best pumpkin soup is a little onion fried in oil, add chopped up pumpkin and water and cook until soft. Blend and add some salt/pepper and a decent drizzle of sour cream. No frills basically is better. And second someone elses comments for Lady Flo's pumpkin scone recipe. melx

  24. Wow! What a day - thank goodness for your support team! Gorgeous pics as always Kate :) Kx

  25. Hi Kate
    Sorry about your frustrating cooking day. It takes me a lot of energy sometimes to get in the kitchen so I need results and its sucks if it doesn't work out. With your scones I always shove all mine together so they are actually all joined up in the middle of the tray. I just do this because that is how I watched my Mum do it when I was a kid. However since this I have read that when there all huddled together the heat supports them all to rise? I have always used Lady Flo's recipe with out fail i.e. children willing to eat with lashing of red jam. Also the burnt jam ... maybe you could put it through a really good vanilla ice-cream. I happen to love Maggie Bears ice-cream with a burnt fig jam through it .... a little too good I have had to ban it because I can't resist eating the whole lot in one hit.

  26. I have had a theory for a while now that every now and then I have a 'bad cooking day' where no matter what I try or do it doesn't turn out right. Not just one dish but everything I try - old favorites, new recipes, tried & tested - they all fail. Then the next day it's all back to normal and good... Sounds like you were struck by one of those Kate ;-)

  27. Oh, I know... bad days in the kitchen are so disheartening. Better luck next time! I love pumpkin dishes though - quite adore them. Always look forward to when our coffee shop has pumpkin spice lattes in the fall. Love the chicks! My 2 year old son has an obsession with chicks right now - calls himself a chick and me "mamma chickie." too funny!

  28. Like many Of the other comments I bake Lady Flo's Pumpkin Scone and they are always a winner! I was only saying last night how I never ate pumpkin for the first 30 years of my life and in the last few years I cant get enough of it, I love pumpkin anything!
    I hate a baking failure but it always makes me keep trying.

  29. Oh this made me smile - I hope you are laughing about it now!

    I love cooking but new recipes always throw me a bit, so much so that I will always test them out on the boy first before serving them to anyone else (he'll eat anything!)

  30. "It's all good, just a little bit different than I'd planned."

    That line from your blog is helping me through a tough time. Thanks :)

  31. Been there, done that - just not quite with your good grace (there could have been a fair bit of pot banging!) I find the internet a real recipe distraction, you end up with 10 different options and in the end a tricky recipe. I try to remember the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid).

    Do try the roasted pumpkin soup, it is easy peasy and a dollop of sour cream and chives seems to get the kids every time. Like you, I don't do pumpkin however, I do eat the roast pumpkin soup. KISS.

  32. Thankyou Kate for your honesty....not only did you make me smile but made me feel very 'normal' as not everything I cook works out as well as I hoped. Thanks again for your beautiful blog and very inspiring words. xo

  33. Much of my learning has come from making mistakes Kate and I am glad to hear yours was such a great outcome too :

  34. That's exactly why I keep away from the kitchen whenever I can. Too many failures is not good for the soul, but happy yours had delayed success : -)

  35. Oh if I had a dollar for every time Bijou calls our "Finished!" from the toilet just when I'm in the middle of something. Hands usually covered in dough, halfway getting dressed, mouthful of name it, any time! I feel your pain lovely. Wishing you a grand weekend and a day's strike in the kitchen :) x

  36. YOU DON'T EAT PUMPKIN? *hyperventilates*
    It's my favourite. Ever. And I have a pumpkin scone recipe on my blog that won't fail you. Actually... you can't even tell there's pumpkin in them, despite the orangeness. Makes me wonder why I bother, haha xx

  37. Oh no! I hadn't read this post yet, so didnt realise the scones hadnt turned out as you had hoped. Your scones were the awesome prompt to make mine! (posted about mine yesterday.)
    And what a kind mama for cooking a rather super large vegetable that isn't going to be passing your lips.

  38. I do orange but not oranges and mandarins! I absolutely love pumpkin especially Kent pumpkin and the best soup is made by simply peeling & chopping pumpkin, carrot & brown onion, adding a good stock, some herbs, salt and pepper and cook until veg are tender. Puree with a whiz, and add a little pure cream, garnish with sour cream or nat. yougurt. Delicious.
    Also when I have a day like this...I blame it on the moon... xxx

  39. Days like that just make me want to be a Mum that just tips out packets and opens jars and uses tinned soup. Love that you posted your failures we all have em xx

  40. You are so interesting! I do not think I have read something like this before.
    So good to find someone with unique thoughts on this issue.
    Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that's needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

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I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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