The Ultimate Tool Challenge – The Result

So one of my loyal followers volunteered to be the tool in The Ultimate Tool Challenge. I filmed a few highlights of him cooking my Bacon and Mushroom Omelette so take a look at these three videos to see how my volunteer got on:

Meet Sam…

Sam got to work chopping up the vegetables and the bacon, explaining to me how his Mum and Dad usually cook omelettes differently from my way. Apparently his Dad has a special technique of keeping the pan lid on while the omelette is cooking, which therefore cooks the top at the same time so you don’t need to flip it over.

Sam decided to vary from my recipe slightly, where I said to fry the peppers, onions, mushrooms and bacon all separetely:

Sam decided against attempting to flip the omelette, instead he used the spatula to carefully flip it over, concerned that otherwise his hard work might end up as a pile on the floor.

Now the moment of truth, has my omelette recipe allowed other kitchen tools to be able to cook too? Or has it been a failure… Watch the final video to find out how Sam got on:

Success! Big thanks to Sam for taking part in this video.

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Filed under Easy Recipes, Level 2

The Ultimate Tool Challenge

Today is the day of the Ultimate Tool Challenge.

How it works:

Of all my Facebook followers I will select the biggest tool out there to volunteer to take part in the challenge, they will be presented with one of my recipes and will have to follow the steps to (hopefully) produce some good food! I will film the events – which will determine whether it is true that any tool can cook.

Watch this space for the outcome and the footage this evening.

 

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Really simple easy Lasagne

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY - 3    TOTAL COST – £7.65    SERVES – 4

Lasagne

This is a really simple recipe, made extra easy by cheating and using a jar of white sauce rather than making my own! Next time I make a lasagne I vow to make my own sauce. There are loads of variences on lasagne recipes and you can add in extra ingredients such as carrots if you want to.

1 onion

4 mushrooms

1 clove garlic

500g beef mincemeat

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato puree

200g mature cheese

1 pack lasagne pasta sheets

1 jar white sauce

Here are the 5 simple steps:

  • In a large pan, fry the onion, garlic and mushrooms then add the mincemeat and cook untill browned.
  • Then add the tomatoes, tomatoe puree and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Now get a deep baking dish and layer some white sauce on the bottom, then enough sheets of lasagne pasta to cover and then some of the mincemeat mixture, then repeat this layering untill you have used up all your mixture. Remember to save enough white sauce for the top and sprinkle a bit of cheese on the top.

Ready to go in the oven

  • Bake for around half an hour in an oven pre heated to 180* then remove from the oven and add the rest of the cheese on top, bake for another 15 miutes untill the top is golden brown.

Baked lasagne

  • Serve with either bread or garlic bread.

Serving the lasagne

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Filed under Easy Recipes, Level 3

Simple low calorie Pancakes, including a video of the all important flip

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY - 1    TOTAL COST – £0.90    SERVES – 8 (total amount of pancakes)

This is a really simple and well known recipe for pancakes, but lower in calories:

120g plain flour

2 eggs

200ml skimmed milk

50 ml water

pinch of salt

some fry light cooking spray

beat the eggs and add the milk, water, salt and sift in the flour.

You now have your pancake mixture, spray a few squirts of the low calorie cooking spray and pour in enough mixture to just cover the base of the pan.

Swirl the pan around to ensure even coverage, then when the underside is cooked you are ready to attempt the flip:

Serve with lemon and sugar, or whatever else you fancy.

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Bacon and Mushroom Omelette

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY - 2    TOTAL COST – £5.85    SERVES – 4

Completed Omelette

This omelette is simply delicious and so is quick and easy to make, ideal for a cold winter morning. I have classed it as level two because it is important that it is cooked to perfection otherwise the whole omelette could, literally, fall apart…

If you think you are an omelette pro there is a point during cooking where you can flip it over like a pancake and show off your talents.

I have also included a vegetarian alternative, which actually just involves leaving out the bacon so not too difficult!

Ingredients:

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

150g mushrooms

200g bacon

1 onion

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp oil

8 eggs

200g Cheese

100ml Milk

Ingredients

  • Chop up the onion into small squares, then do the same with the mushrooms, red and yellow peppers, and the bacon. Then fry each ingredient separately in a frying pan for a few minutes and put to one side on a plate, make sure the bacon is well cooked and starting to brown. Grate the cheese and also keep to one side.

Chopped up peppers and mushrooms

  • For the next step break two eggs into a bowl and add a splash of milk mix with a fork till all of the mixture is a nice orange colour. Then add a quarter of the mushrooms,  peppers and onion, then season with a dash of salt and pepper.
  • In a frying pan heat some oil to warm up the pan then add the mixture from the bowl, heat on a very low gentle heat so as not to burn the underside of the omelette.

Omelette cooking

  • If you think you are an experienced omelette maker then when it has been cooking for about 10 minutes and is nearly done, you can attempt to flip the omelette like a pancake. BEWARE this could go wrong! If you would rather not risk seeing your carefully made omelette in a pile on the floor then instead you can place the pan under the grill for a few minutes.
  • Now you are ready to add the a cheese and bacon (if vegetarian you can leave out the bacon), sprinkle over half of the omelette. For the finishing touch fold over the other half of the omelette onto the other side. Your omelette is now ready to serve.

Omelette

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Filed under Easy Recipes, Level 2

Danish Meatballs with Cream Potatoes and Roasted Vegetables

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY - 6    TOTAL COST – £7.25    SERVES – 4

Danish Meatballs with Cream Potato and Roasted Vegetables

As I have mentioned in the About page, I am a bit of a tool when thrown into a kitchen generally and would have been crazy to attempt this on my own!

As a nice change from cooking for other people I had an evening off and my Danish friend Mie cooked some traditional Danish food for me and some other dinner guests.

This dish is widely eaten as a regular evening meal throughout Denmark. The meatballs are different from the ones we are used to and kind of reminded me of mini burgers!

It was a great experience to take a backseat and play the role of assistant chef for a change.

Here are the ingredients for the meatballs:

500g mixture of beef and pork mince meat

1/2 pint milk

100g pint flour

2 eggs

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp pepper

1 onion chopped

1 tbsp oil

For the cream potatoes and the roasted vegetables:

1 1/2 kilo potatoes

1 clove garlic

Salt and pepper

1-2 pint double cream mixed with milk

Half an onion

First it is best to start with the cream potato and the roasted vegetables as these take the longest to cook:

  • Slice the potatoes into thin slices and layer onto 2 baking dishes.
  • Chop the onion and garlic and add to the baking dish of potatoes which will be the cream potatoes, then pour over the cream-milk mixture.

Cream potatoes

  • Add the salt and pepper and mix well
  • Chop up the carrots and add to the other baking dish, then sprinkle over the oil and season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Place both baking trays in the oven, the cream potatoes will need around 50 minutes and the roasted vegetables will need around an hour. These times can vary depending on how thick you cut the vege.

Now make a start on the meatballs:

  • First chop up the onion, then mix in a large bowl with all the meat.
  • Add the eggs, milk, flour, salt and pepper and mix well.

Meatball mixture

  • Heat the oil on a pan and on a low-medium, use a small amount of the mixture to create a tester meatball, cook until well browned and taste to see if you need to add more salt and pepper.
  • Then divide the mixture into small balls and cook the meatballs, flattening them down on the pan.

Meatballs cooking

  • They will take around 10 minutes and you can tell if they are cooked by squishing them with your spatula, if they are cooked they will feel hard and not soft.
  • Remove the Cream potatoes and the roasted vegetables from the oven and mix half way through cooking.

Mie stirring the vegetables!

  •  When they are cooked, serve with the meatballs and spoon extra cream over as sauce.

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Filed under Hard Recipes, Level 6

Delicious melt-in-the-mouth Chocolate Chip Cookies

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – 1    TOTAL COST – £2.15    SERVES – 4

Delicious melt-in-the-mouth Chocolate Chip Cookies

My second attempt at a cooking video was much more successful than the first… Mainly because I managed to bribe someone into being cameraman, using a cookie as payment of course.

The weather’s getting colder and what better way to warm up than sitting in front of the fire with a nice cup of tea and some freshly baked cookies?
These cookies are so easy and simple for any tool to make, and you can even customise them by adding extra chocolate chips or smarties.

Ever ordered some cookies from Dominoes and wondered how they create that perfect melt-in-the-mouth texture?

Using this recipe you can recreate those cookies! If cooked correctly, they should turn out to be crisp around the edges but moist in the center. The best way to achieve this is to take the cookies out a few minutes before they start to brown, so they are slightly underdone. They will seem too soft at first but as they cool down they will harden.

Ingredients:

170-200g butter

200g brown sugar

100g caster sugar

1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk

250g plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100-300g chocolate chips

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Filed under Easy Recipes, Level 1

Tomato and Herb Chicken with Rice

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY - 3    TOTAL COST – £5.20    SERVES – 2

Tomato and Herb Chicken

This dish is for those who perhaps don’t like the heat of a curry but don’t want to miss out on some delicious saucy chicken and rice.

It is one of my more experimental recipes and I literally decided what ingredients to use while I was looking round the shop.

Ingredients:

Ingredients

300g Chicken

3 Spring onions

1 Red onion

2 Peppers

200g Mushrooms

3 Cloves Garlic

1 tin Chopped Tomatoes

Some mixed herbs

1 tbsp Tomato puree

1 tbsp olive oil

150ml of rice in a measuring jug

300ml water or chicken stock

Here are the 5 easy steps:

  • Chop the onion, spring onion, garlic, peppers and mushrooms, then dice the chicken. Put the oil into a large pan and fry the onion, spring onion and garlic for about 5 minutes stirring regularly.

Chopped ingredients

  • While that is frying you can make a start on the rice. Cook the rice in a large pan with a lid, add the boiling water (or for extra flavour use chicken stock) stir together then completely leave the rice to cook on the lowest setting for 15-20 minutes. Stirring makes the rice become sticky and looks more like rice pudding!
  • Add the chicken to the fried onions and fry until browned, then add the mushrooms and peppers and cook for 5-10 minutes until the mushrooms are soft.

Chicken being cooked with the onions

  • Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and boil down for 5-10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and tomato puree

  • Serve while hot with the rice, perfect with a piece of Naan Bread!

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Filed under Easy Recipes, Level 3

Apple Sausages and Sweet Potato Mash with Caramelised Onion Gravy

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY - 4    TOTAL COST – £3.00    SERVES – 2

Apple Sausages and Sweet Potato mash with Caramelised Onion Gravy

There are many tools (me being one of them) who pride themselves on being an expert chef because they can cook a cracking bangers and mash… However lets face it, how hard is it to stick some sausages on the grill and mash up some boiled potatoes?

With this in mind I decided to set myself a challenge and experiment – with the aim being to spice up a normally dull meal and dazzle my dinner guests.

Ingredients

Ingredients:

6 sausages

1 apple

200g bacon

4 medium sweet potatoes or 2 sweet potatoes and 2 ordinary ones

1 onion

1 stock cube or gravy granules

1 tbsp milk

1 tbsp butter

  • Cut the apples into thin wedges under 1cm think. Then cut a slit down the middle of the sausages and place the apple slice into the sausage with the skin of the apple facing out. Then wrap the bacon around the sausages.

Sausages with apple wedges placed inside

  • Place sausages into a pre heated oven at 150* and slow cook for 45 minutes, this brings out the taste and ensures they are cooked through.

Apple sausages wrapped in bacon ready to go in the oven

  • While the sausages are cooking, peel the potatoes and chop into equal size chunks.
  • Place into a pan of boiling water and cook for around 15 minutes until soft.
  • Strain the potatoes with a colander, add the milk and butter and mash until there are no lumps.
  • Chop up the onion, then fry in a pan with a little oil and sugar to caramelise them.
  • Make up the stock/gravy granules and add the caramelised onion.
  • When the sausages are cooked, remove from the oven and serve

Cut a sausage in half to check that it's cooked through

To make this dish extra exciting, try adding a teaspoon of ginger to the mash. It is a fiery supplement which – as long as you don’t go overboard and overdo it – really will spice things up a bit!
For those of you who don’t like the sound of apple sausages, try a simple change to this recipe and use cream cheese with parsley and garlic. This requires the same amount of time to cook however can get a bit messy as the cream cheese spills out during cooking.

Sausages with cream cheese inside instead of apple

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Filed under Hard Recipes, Level 4

The correct way to chop up an onion

It may sound like an easy task, but if you don’t know the correct technique you could end up wasting a huge amount of time and have unevenly sized pieces. First you will need a sharp knife to chop off both ends of the onion, cut in half, and peel.

These photo’s will guide you through the quickest and best way to chop an onion into even and small pieces.

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Filed under Easy Recipes, Level 1