January 13, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 7:00 pm

On Tuesday night I was stuck out reasonably late on another teaching job ( ….grumble, geumble,  GCSE students, grumble…) and  I’d decided that I’d be far too knackered to cook when I got back. So I decided to try and convince Goon to take over for that evening. To be honest, I’d expected a lot more resistance to this plan but he seemed actively keen.

Goon hadn’t done any cooking in quite a while, but since he had been progressing well up until the last attempt, I decided to leave him up to his own devices this time. I left him two free range chicken breasts (another bargain bin find) and let him decide what to do with them.

Although he’s learning fast, Goon still isn’t very inspired when it comes to cooking. He’s done very well in that he’s gone from mqking only microwave rice to being able to follow a easy recipe, but he doesn’t seem able to think up things for himself, nor is he able to spot obvious flaws/misprints in the instructions. 

The recipe Goon decided to try was this one from Saturday Kitchen on the BBC.  Not a bad idea, looking at the ingredient list but there were a lot of problems with it. For a start, how rich?! I’m not one to shy away from getting out the cream and butter but this was just too much.  It needed stock or something to give it less density and more flavour. Also, talking about flavour, Goon doubled the paprika, mustard and worcestershire sauce in the dish (looks like he’s learning :) ) and it was still edging on bland.

Paprika chicken

He was very pleased with how it looked but both of us agreed that it needed more flavour (even after alteration) and less double cream! Poor Goon!

I find this happens a lot if you follow recipes to the letter.  I only do this on occasion with Gordon Ramsay and  Delia Smith recipes and, even then, I sometimes find it doesn’t quite turn out how I’d like.

I’m not having a go at the chefs. With the variation you get in natural produce, it must be nearly impossible to write foolproof recipes. After all, 200g of liver could apply to three or four thin slices, or one massive slab. Ditto vegetable sizes, ages of spices etc.  For this reason, I take every recipe I read with a pinch of salt (oooh, I made a sort of accidental pun!) and more often than not, just completely re-invent them to suit what is in my cupboard  and/or the nearby supermarkets, using my own (admittedly gin-retarded) tastebuds as a guide. Zen cooking is the way forward!

Goon isn’t quite ready for that yet, but I guess he might get there one day.  Now that he’s ok with following recipes on his own, I’ll try to get him to start reviewing them. We’ll let you know when we’ve found some nice Goon-proof dishes! :D


  1. I’ve never tried Paprika Chicken and I feel inspired to now!

    I almost always vary recipes, according to my own tastes and style. And also ovens differ so much, so times need to vary too. The only exception is with baking recipes, such as cakes, when I do follow to the letter. I’ll end up with a right mess otherwise!

    This is why I try not to be too specific when I’m writing recipes on my blog and I encourage people to add ‘according to your taste’.

    Comment by Julia — January 13, 2007 @ 8:03 pm

  2. Mm I’ve never followed a recipe unless i was baking. I always add loads more garlic than it says I should, a quite a bit more chilli too!

    Comment by Schmoofaloof — January 15, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

  3. Paprika chicken is delicious - I tried it wrapped in crepes with sour cream in Hungary

    Comment by Sajini — January 15, 2007 @ 7:41 pm

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