One of my favourite blog posts to read each year is Lindsay from Pinch of Yum’s “The Failed Recipes Of…” It is comforting to see that a person who makes their living out of creating delicious and visually appealing food, has bad days in the kitchen.
I will be the first to admit that I like my recipes here on WFE to look pretty, and for my Instagram feed to give people food envy. I am a dietitian after all – food is my jam, and I want other people to get as excited about trying new things and enjoy eating as much as I do. And since we eat with our eyes, you kinda have to make things look nice if you want to entice people to give cooking/eating/experimenting a go.
But I am also well aware that, like Fitspo, picture-perfect Pinterest-worthy food photography can also have the opposite effect on people. It can put them off cooking and experimenting because replicating what they see online feels too unattainable for them.
I don’t hide the fact that I find meal planning a chore. And that for the most part, cooking is a drag. But to look at my food online, you might not get that impression (at least not without reading the posts or the captions).
So this post is me striking a bit of balance with my first annual collection of recipe fails. Welcome to my foodie reality…
Recipe fails 2016
I made these beef fajitas while I was trialling the low FODMAP diet earlier in the year and the recipe for the meat filling comes from one of Sue Sheperd’s cookbooks. I have no beef with that part of the meal (see what I did there?!) but my corn tortillas that went with them, even to this day, will repeat on me when I think about them.
Guys, I have made corn tortilla many, many times – I even have my recipe published on the blog! But I am TOTALLY being a chef that blames her tools with this one and attributing the thick, claggy, stick in the back of your throat tortilla on the different masa harina (aka the flour) that I used.
A bit of everything omelette
Omelettes are the thing you teach someone when they are first learning to cook because of their simplicity – it’s Cooking 101, right? But omelettes continue to be the bane of my cooking existence.
They fail on me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
See Exhibit A – seriously what is that?
On this occasion, I restrained myself from doing what I normally do when I make a dud omelette and that is to get my wooden spoon and scramble everything together, but really, there was no choice but to add this to the uggo food files. It’s one saving grace was that it still tasted delicious.
Roasted strawberry and caramelised white chocolate ice cream
After making The Brick Kitchen’s Passionfruit Raspberry Pavlova ice cream without a hitch, I got cocky and thought I would be churning out all of these innovative ice cream creations and become some sort of ice cream guru; akin to Gelato Messina.
I shattered those dreams pretty quickly with my attempt at a roasted strawberry and caramelised white chocolate ice cream. Don’t let the nice photo fool you. This did not taste great. In any way, shape or form.
I am pretty sure it was the combination of letting the strawberries cook just that liiiiitle bit too long in the oven and using an el-cheapo supermarket white chocolate which did not caramelise properly. The ice cream ended up studded with these weird grainy bits of chocolate and off-tasting vinegary pockets of strawberry.
I have not made ice cream since…
Given my history of baking (which I frequently document on Instagram), I am not surprised about this one. I should have known better than to try baking a cake for my sister’s birthday. Happy birthday, Ste – here is a Franken-cake I made for you!
Reflecting on this experience, I can’t remember what recipe I was using to make this chocolate cake to know where I could have possibly gone wrong. But clearly, I did. Not only did my cake sink, but it is also burnt around the edges AND has cracked. What a joy for the eyes!
All was not lost with this one. After discarding the burnt, crusty bits, I ended up getting my MasterChef on for this one and turning it into a deconstructed dessert of cake bits mixed with vanilla ice cream. And it was AMAZING.
Porridge with stewed strawberries and lime curd
You would think I would have learned with my attempt at roasting strawberries for the ice cream that this is not one of my strong suits. But no, I went back in for another round trying to make a fancy topping for my porridge. I don’t know about you, but the end product just does not look appealing to me. I ate it anyway…well, a few mouthfuls. I just couldn’t do it.
On paper, it sounds great. And the lime curd on its own was A+ (you can get the recipe here) but combined with my saggy porridge (porridge is just another dish I am yet to master!), it was not one of those breakfasts that kicks your day off to a great start. At. All.
So that’s me and my foodie reality…or my recipe fails to be more precise. I am sure there will be plenty more where they came from in 2017.
Tell me about your recipe fails in the comments below.