So this week I set myself quite a challenge! Feeding five adults and a toddler completing from scratch, nothing allowed from the freezer or jars. We had my parents to stay for the weekend so this was the perfect opportunity for me to test out my cooking skills….. on mass!! I know feeding five adults is probably fairly common for a lot of people, but usually my husband does the cooking due to my lack of confidence.
For the main I decided to go for a lasagna, salad, coleslaw and potato salad. As I had decided that jars were out of the question this meant I had to make my first ever white sauce for the lasagna, I followed this simple Béchamel white sauce recipe. I didn’t use a bay leaf (as I didn’t have any) and I also chose to leave out the salt- I don’t like to add salt to my cooking, just a personal preference. I was terrified the sauce would come out lumpy, however I found it fairly easy to get the correct consistency- stirring is most definitely the key with this sauce.
I didn’t follow a recipe for the meat part of the lasagna but used lean minced beef, an onion, tinned tomatoes (blended as hubby doesn’t like the texture of tomatoes), tomato puree, garlic puree, mixed herbs, Worcester sauce and an oxo cube. I really couldn’t tell you how much of each ingredient I used, I tasted as I cooked and then adjusted the ingredients accordingly. I’m afraid I didn’t make the pasta, I felt this might be pushing myself just that little bit too far!
I used this Coleslaw recipe, again I didn’t add salt and I used natural yoghurt instead of buttermilk- mainly because 1. I didn’t have a clue what buttermilk is and 2. I didn’t want buy something I wouldn’t use again. I actually put this together the night before our meal so it had plenty of time to chill before dinner, plus it was one less thing for me to do on the Saturday.
My second favourite part of the meal was the Potato Salad, I’m a huge fan of bacon so this recipe was right up my street. I did attempt to make this on the Friday but half way through boiling the potatoes I realised I didn’t have any soured cream or fresh chives- major fail! So I finished boiling them anyway and kept them in the fridge overnight until I could collect the ingredients the next day (or in my case, wait for Mum to arrive with the ingredients in tow!)
I just love this simple but delicious Balsamic and Honey Salad Dressing recipe. It is so quick to make, but may not be your cup of tea if you’re not a fan of Balsamic Vinegar.
And finally but by definitely no means least, my favourite part of the meal, and most challenging part for me, the pudding! My husband’s, Mum’s and friend’s favourite dessert Lemon Meringue Pie. This recipe has already been adapted from a Mary Berry recipe and I didn’t and wouldn’t change a single thing about it. Having never made meringue before, let alone a meringue pie, I was surprised at how easy it was to bake. My Mum said it took her back to her childhood and tasted just like one my Grandad used to bake, needless to say I think this will now be a regular bake of mine!
I am so pleased with how everything turned out and I am proud of myself for achieving something I didn’t think was possible. There were only a few things I would change if I were to cook this meal again, and I am happy with that, I believe its always good to have things to improve on. It makes me want to try harder with everything that I do. Next time I would add a little cheese to the white sauce, just for a little added flavour, and because I just love cheese! My lemon meringue pie also sprung a slight leak and I put this down to me not chilling the biscuit base for anywhere near long enough. My husband has requested a homemade pastry base next time so we shall see how that goes. I am loving how this week has introduced me to new ingredients that I have never used before or really kept in the house, I am now the proud owner of a bottle of Balsamic Vinegar and Cider Vinegar. I can’t wait to see what other yummy foods this adventure introduces to me.
This week I am going to challenge myself to ‘make’ something either for the house or the girls bedrooms! I am only on challenge three but I am already feeling more motivated and inspired, fingers firmly crossed that my journey continues in this way!
Thank you again for reading, if you’ve got any suggestions on what I could cook, bake or make then please comment or tweet me. See you in my next post!