So it’s been awhile… Again… Sorry about the length of time between posts the time just flies by when you have a lot going on.
So a quick recap of the past few weeks… My sister is trying to take me to court, I’m behind on the allotment, ran into financial difficulties, cooking competition came up, finished up college, been ill quite a lot, follow up cervical screening, my daughters last booster injections and my sons move up day…. I’m sure there is more but really at this point I can’t think further back at the moment.
The sister situation and the financial difficulties go together so more on that on a future post.
The allotment and my illnesses go together also which is frustrating oh and financial difficulties have a hand in it too. I need a new shed as the one that is already there has been damaged by past vandalism and theft. I bought a new padlock for it but the latch that you put a pad lock on is deformed enough to not be able to clip a padlock on a lock it.
I asked if I can get a new shed but I need money for a new one and also the dimensions at hand to get permission. I will also need a grass trimmer to keep the grass at bay and in this heat we have been getting it no doubt has become a jungle again unless my plot neighbours have been kind enough to help me out and trimmed it down for me while they were trimming theirs.
It’s also a 30 minute bus ride away so i need money for bus fare and when I am ill I can’t get over there… I didn’t realise I would struggle with the upkeep or at the very least even get there on a regular basis and I am hoping they understand and wont take it off me.
I signed up for a spot in my colleges Tri-College Competition In hospitality to which my criteria was to cook a fresh pasta dish which was on this past Friday. I only had a week or two to decide on the what pasta dish and practise making it from scratch etc.
I tried a Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli dish, a Tagliatelle with Mushroom and Bacon Dish and a Spaghetti with Mushroom and Bacon.
I decided on Spaghetti with mushroom and Bacon. I had to make the pasta and prep all ingredients, cook it and present two portions that look nice and identical all within 30 minutes. Although I was allowed to make the pasta dough and prep most ingredients the day before.
With all the practises I learned, I corrected previous mistakes made it perfect on my last practise and then t he day of the competition came…. I felt I did terrible. The worst pasta dish I had ever cooked. Firstly I took too long rolling out the pasta and cutting it into spaghetti. I was using a pasta machine roller and hand rolling pasta cutter.
It went wrong a few times as it was so hot and the pasta was sticking together and the strands weren’t separating the way spaghetti should. a judge came over and asked if something was wrong and commented on the hand rolling pasta cutter. he told me that it’s obviously not working right and I can’t use it so I should just re roll and cut it myself….
Now I have not even learned how to cut pasta into spaghetti but surely it would just be a thinner version of tagliatelle and time consuming to do. I told him I will re-roll and try it again as it had happened the day before and I managed it just fine after a few rounds. I was right I was able to make it better by re-rolling it again with a bit of semolina.
But… I had five minutes to cook everything and resent it so I knew I was going to run out of time but it was okay as I would still be able to serve my dish when it was ready I would just lose points on not completing it within the time. by the time my pasta was cooking I realised it was clumping together and not separating and I had no Idea as to why…. I was trying to separate the spaghetti and forgot about the butter melting on the hob…. It burnt and caused a black smoke to go around the kitchen….
So at this point I had clumpy pasta which is not what you should be serving to anyone but I didn’t have a choice. I also had no back up butter so had to emulsify the sauce and spaghetti without the butter. I managed to make them look identical and also presented them nicely and the way I wanted.
But as I took my hot bowls of spaghetti with mushroom and bacon presented with a drizzle of parsley and rocket pesto and pancetta and parmesan shards with rocket leaves, I couldn’t help but be so deflated with disappointment. I bowed my head in shame as I walked away after putting my bowls down in front of the judges….
I couldn’t quite figure out Why my spaghetti went clumpy til a judge came up and we were talking about it… he went through everything with me till I realise I had forgotten the most basic of things…. I didn’t put any oil or salt into the water for the pasta… which is the separating agent in cooking Pasta!
I wanted a do over and I said so when asked afterwards! I know I can do better as I had done the day before! They asked if I felt something went wrong and I told them and they agreed but said the flavours were great but I knew the obvious faults that they also had found.
I managed to get my friend from college to pick up my daughter from nursery as it would be the same time as my competition slot. After I met my daughter and friend we had some food and just waited till I had to rush off to get my son from school and came back to the college in time for the award presentation to see what I had been marked and what award I would get.
Marks 64 and below = Certificate of Participation
Marks 65-74 = Bronze Award
Marks 75-89 = Silver Award
Marks 90-100 = Gold Award
My chef/Teacher came in to tell me that I impressed the judges to my confusion and that he was very happy and proud of me. I told him about all the things that went wrong and he told me the flavour must have been the thing that won them over then.
He couldn’t tell me what my marks were exactly but I did ask if I got more than a participation certificate because that would have sucked but I would have understood considering my poor dish. He told me it wasn’t just a participation certificate so I was definitely surprised and happy.
When my name was called up I was utterly shocked to hear that I had marked so high as to have been given a Silver Award! I was just a few marks away from getting a gold due to my clumpy pasta and lack of butter in my emulsifying sauce oh and that it wasn’t completed within the time limit.
I couldn’t quite believe it!
All I know is that they loved how it all looked and it was very tasty and full of flavour and seasoning which ticked all their boxes. My college friend who was in the competition with me took this pic of me with my award and I found this pic of me on the college website about the competition to my horror! my concentration face making me look calm and collected apparently!
Moving on to the illnesses… I have been suffering on and off with multiple sinus infections and headaches that are so painful it’s crippling and makes me very sick and causes me vertigo when I wake up every other morning. I also struggle to get things’s done and do the daily routine things like school runs etc.
The cervical screening follow up I will talk about on another post as that is linked to something in the past.
My son had his move up day this today! Year 4 already! Where does the years go? I mean both my kids are growing way too fast.
Saturday was the kids school summer fayre and I was supposed to do the candyfloss but yet again it wasn’t working properly so in the end I just went around the fayre with my kids and my friend who was meant to watch the kids for me with her husband.
I baked various jam tarts, chocolate chip Cupcakes, eggless cakes and chocolate chip shortbread cookies for the cake stall.
My eggless cakes were my first attempts and I didn’t think about the heat being a factor… So they kind of melted while I was piping.
The vanilla cake strangely enough taste like a scone and the chocolate cake actually tasted nice even though it didn’t rise and looked more like a stack of biscuits haha.
That’s about it for today I think… Thanks for reading 🙂
x Emz x