Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A (cookery) lesson in pride...

I take pride in my cooking. I know I'm a pretty good cook, and I enjoy the process of creating tasty meals and snacks (especially cakes!) There have been occasional culinary disasters, but let's gloss over those for now, shall we? On the whole I'm a successful cook - nay, a good cook - and I'm proud of that.

Maybe Saturday's events were teaching me a necessary lesson in pride, then.....

Our church held a special event on Saturday evening: an International Supper, at which different groups of people chose a country to represent and prepared dishes native to that country, for people to come along and sample. Our house group decided to join in and as one of our members hails from South Africa that's the country we picked. And, naturally, I offered to prepare one of the dishes. J was in charge of allocating the recipes, and she asked me to make 'Malva Pudding', using a recipe she'd found online.

A combination of lack of time, lack of spare ingredients and a sense of confidence meant that I didn't bother with a trial run. I just carefully calculated the time I'd need to start cooking by working backwards from the time the evening was due to begin. And so, at 4.30pm on Saturday, I began to cook.

The original recipe was in cups and spoons, and of course in the UK we measure most ingredients by weight. That was OK though, I have a measuring jug that has cups marked on it, so what I tend to do is use that and then weigh the ingredient so I can note down the UK measurement for future occasions. The first indication that this may not go smoothly was when I realised that a recipe which serves 8 people required over 1 lb of sugar - not including the amount I would need later for the sauce. Not to be deterred, I double-checked the volume and then carried on.

The next indication of trouble was the fullness of my mixing bowl when all the cake ingredients had been combined. I looked at it doubtfully, took out my largest pudding dish and decanted the mixture into that, then kept my fingers crossed that it wouldn't rise too much.

It rose a LOT.

It became something of a Malva Volcano:


Do you want to see the roasting tin that (luckily) was on the bottom of the oven? (Apologies for the dodgy formatting - Blogger isn't responding to my gentle hints that this isn't the layout I intended...)


And because there was so much mixture, it took rather longer than the suggest 50 minutes - 1 hour to cook enough to be set in the middle! Which is why it looks a little browner round the edges than I may have liked. And is also why I arrived at the event a good 20 minutes late, having planned to be a good 20 minutes early.

Even when the cake was cooked through, the pudding wasn't complete. You see, you also make a sauce which you pour over the cake when it comes out of the oven, allowing it to soak into the sponge, adding flavour and a glorious stickiness to the pudding.

Even if the cake hadn't pretty much filled the pudding dish, there's no way it could have absorbed the amount of sauce I made by following that recipe. Here's the sauce left over once I'd soaked the cake right through:


About 3/4 of the amount the recipe asked for.

And that's a layer of butter floating on the top, because I couldn't get the suggested amount of butter to actually combine with the other sauce ingredients.

You know what, though? Despite all of that, the finished pudding actually tasted really good. I didn't know till later, but it's a South African version of sticky toffee pudding - and it tasted like sticky toffee pudding :-)

I would make it again, though I'd adjust the ingredients (the amount given was plenty more than enough for 8 people, and I reckon I could cut down a fair bit on the sugar and the butter without spoiling the taste). The amended recipe will appear on my recipe blog once I've been able to test it!



So I'm not sure that I learnt my lesson about being proud of my cooking skills - though I think I probably have learnt to test a recipe in future before using it for a special occasion....

This is my post for the 12th day of Blogtoberfest - 12 days and still on track!

20 comments:

Maria Ontiveros said...

Great story. I love that you had pix for each stage of it.
Rinda

Ruth said...

Great story of how you had to clean your oven! Still, the pud looks tasty and it was edible so I'd call that a result!

scrappyjacky said...

The pud does look tasty....look forward to the 'updated' recipe.

Beverly said...

What a mess and you'd probably get zero points on appearance but plated it looks nice and if it tastes like sticky toffee it has to be good :)

Cheri said...

with that much butter and sugar it HAS to taste good... but I wouldn't even want to venture a guess at the calorie count!

Linda said...

This sticky pudding cake looks beautiful served up on the plate. No one would ever know what happened in the kitchen and the oven had you not told us.

Can't wait for you to get the recipe figure out. . .except then I'd have to recalculate back into cups and spoons. Hmmm.

alexa said...

Oh my, how courageous to show something that felt less than perfect at the time! Looking forward to the New Malva, and glad it tasted fine. On the plate it looks wonderful :).

debs14 said...

It's all about the taste! I can imagine the mounting panic as the time to leave the house approached and the pudding still wasn't finished.
Looking forward to hearing about the new improved 'Mel-va' pudding!

Lynne said...

Seems like you kept your cool? It was great reading about it. And by all accounts it tasted great too.

Amy said...

Oh Mel, you did everything in an orderly manner and it doesn't seem so complicated that you would have to do a trial - having said that, my favourite lemon and polenta cake bubbles over like this if I forget to leave a couple of tablespoons of the batter out .... after about 15 years of making the cake I can still slop the whole lot in, or forget to make slightly less and the whole thing ends up like this!

Amy said...

PS
One of my ugliest dishes is one of everyone's favourite :-)

Denise said...

The proof of the pudding is in the eating! It looks like it was very tasty x

Karen said...

Although the mess in the oven was pretty ugly, the pudding looks very tasty. I think you can still be quite confident of your skills since the end result was so good. Good for you that you had a pan underneath it in the oven. I've forgotten that on occasion and rued the day!

Giselle said...

At least you attempt new recipes, more than I ever do... And even if it didn't turn out as expected, it still looks very scrumptious!!!

Deb said...

Oh my gosh, Mel, I can only imagine your frustration as you worked your way through this recipe. It made for a great blog post anyway! xo

Anesha said...

Love your post and your honesty! :) Have a great day.

furrypig said...

well done on capturing it all on camera when you must have been a wee bit stressed! I tried to make a dessert in my slow cooker and carefully followed a recipe for rice pudding.. it was a complete disaster was so runny so I added more rice then it went too thick! It had cream and really vanilla pods in and large amount so an expensive mistake and never used that book or tried any slow cooker puds since!!

Sian said...

What a great story! And a great reminder that getting things wrong is just fine! Actually I like really sticky, burnt sort of things, I don't think I would have turned down a piece :)

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Looks interesting! I've never had sticky pudding.

melody said...

ok...........that pud looks really YUMMY!