Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why do I only screw up dinner when we have guests?

This post is sponsored by McCormick
I never used to like cooking. The whole dishes thing that tends to happen afterwards put me off massively as did the buying of dozens of ingredients that the recipe would claim are “pantry staples”. Can someone tell me since when have Quinoa and Jaggery been pantry staples? I thought Jaggery was a way to describe someone dancing like Mick Jagger. No, I'm serious.

Then I had a kid. It was as though shooting a child out of my nether regions somehow switched on the gene that controls the desire to cook. Sadly, the desire to do the dishes gene remains completely switched off as does the "exercise-to-work-off-all-the-food-you're-eating" gene. But I digress.

I don’t really have the time to make everything from scratch, what with faffing about on Twitter, so I rely on recipe bases from all natural ingredients quite a bit. At least that way I can still feel kinda crunchy. I gave the McCormick Recipe Creations Beef Brew with Herb Dumplings a whirl the other week in an attempt to impress some friends because really, who couldn’t resist something with dumpling in the title?

I *ahem* had a few slight issues.

Firstly, I forgot to put the beer in. I slid my cast iron pot in to the oven with a bit of a smug “pfft that was so easy” grin only to turn around and see the bottle of ale sitting on the counter. Considering the recipe is called Beef BREW it was pretty appalling slip up on my part which could only be surpassed by forgetting the actual beef. It had only been cooking for about five minutes so I yanked it out the oven and added it in. Crisis over.

Secondly, as I started dishing it up I realized I’d been so busy putting Tricky to bed, talking to my dinner guests and trying to get the timing of the dumplings correct that I’d forgotten to put on the vegetables to serve with it. So my poor guests had the casserole on their plate, two dumplings and nothing else. My title of Hostess with the Mostess went down the drain immediately.

There was some slight redemption when I pulled the kick-arse white chocolate lava cakes out of the oven for dessert. Lava cakes make up for all manner of dinner party disasters.

Despite my failings, the results were awesome. I loved how the exact amount of herbs and spices needed were in the package ready to go - I may or may not have pretended to be a celebrity chef as I poured them in... interestingly the clock on the wall is in the exact position a camera would be in.

It was a little strong for my liking, but the others really enjoyed it. I put it down to the fact that I’m not a beer fan to start with and the others were, so I made it again leaving out the ale and put in the equivalent of stock and it was much more me. On a side note, if you buy just one bottle of ale because that’s all the recipe requires, your husband may look at you in disgust.

In an effort to redeem myself I made the Herb and Parmesan Crumbed Chicken a week later when more friends were coming for dinner. Unfortunately they had to cancel at the last minute, which of course guaranteed that the chicken came out perfectly because there was no one there to witness it. OF COURSE.

I’m gonna be putting this on my ‘serve to visitors because it looks and tastes fancy but actually takes two seconds to make’ list because all it requires is you to shake some chicken in a bag and bung it in the oven. If you make a double batch like I did, ZOMG the next day it tastes amazing in a salad. I know, I just said amazing and salad in the same sentence. There must be something wrong with me.

What’s for dinner tonight at your place? Ima have me some chicken.


  1. Tonight? We have rugby training so will grab a little something on the way home. PS Your dumplings are sublime xx

  2. You have such Jaggery kitchen prowess.

    Also - where's the pics of the white choc lava cakes? OMG that sounds like heaven. When do I come for cake? Cake and macaroons. Heh.

  3. I'm actually making that chicken tonight!! And the beer casserole on the weekend!

  4. White chocolate lava cakes? WOW! Tonight we're having corned beef with vegies and white sauce followed by triple chocolate tart. I'm excited.

  5. I tweeted them :P I made white choc and milk chocolate actually, served with raspberries. Nom nom nom.

  6. Soooo, you have chicken salad for lunch today???

  7. Triple choc tart!!!!! OMG I WANT!


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