So while everyone else is planning new year resolutions that involve giving up food and getting healthier, I decided 2014 was the year to take a different approach!
Never one for being normal (in the past I've had resolutions of visiting a different friend in a different county every month)! So this year, along with my bake-off habit, I've decided to try and take on a Julie and Julia style blog. I've hunted through my vast collection of cookery books, and sadly not one of them seems to be a proper cookery course. However I have Mrs Beeton's Everyday Cookery book, which was my mums. I also have a number of Mary Berry books, who is my Julia Childs to Julie Powell, so I hope that these will give me the ideas, inspiration and support I need.
I also have amongst my huge array of book, Paul Hollwood, James Martin, Hairy Bikers, Stacie Stewart, John Whaite, Tospy & Tim (we all had to start somewhere), and my mum's own cookery book. Mum did a city & guilds in Manchester, and then went on to be a demonstrator for the electricity board (just like Mary Berry). I recently found out that my granddad on my mum's side was also a baker, so it's in the blood and I am determined to keep it going. Sadly mum is no longer with us, but am sure both mum and granddad are here in spirit when I bake.
So to get into practice, I cooked up a 3 course meal for my dad, brother and friend on New Years eve. It consisted on home-made dinner rolls (first time I'd attempted these), fried rump steak with chips, and greens with a peppercorn sauce, and then madly for desert I wanted to try Chocolate soufflé, and once I get an idea into my head it just has to happen! I had a friend's home-made Christmas pudding on stand-by just in case it didn't work out!
I was so pleased with the dinner rolls, although my first tip - always read the full recipe before starting anything - don't assume that because you can make bread that bread rolls will follow the same method! The recipe I used was straight out of the bake-off book from 2012, and too a lot longer than I anticipated (far too much proving, but worth the wait in the end). I also managed to mess up when I started to split the dough, and mis-calculated, so some were bigger than others. I used this opportunity to be creative and made a plaited roll as well as mini baguettes and normal round dinner rolls.
As I left these to cook (which I served up with shop-bought pate, as some things are really just not worth attempting to make yourself!!!) I then started the soufflé, (a Mary Berry recipe, from her complete cookbook) which I was then juggling with the frying of the steak and steaming the veg. Am still not sure quite how I managed, as to be honest I didn't really had a proper time management plan in place, but lets just say we nearly had steak soufflé!!
Anyway, it all came together beautifully, with the help of my brother stepping in to make the peppercorn sauce while I folded the egg whites.
So here are the before and after pics of the bread and soufflé, both were my first attempts (and the first time I'd even tasted soufflé!)