Sunday, 1 March 2015

When cooking in bulk goes horribly, horribly wrong...

I'm a great fan of cooking in bulk when I can - what's not to love about only having to cook something once and the prospect of a quick tasty meal to be saved for another day?

A while ago I made a large batch of Million Vegetable Mince from my cookbook 'Mince!' by Mitzie Wilson. I've had the book for years and it's where a few of our staple meals are from. Plus quite a few of the recipes lend themselves to cooking large quantities to freeze for later.

I won't go into the recipe but it's essentially blending up tons of veges and adding them to the mince mix to bulk it up and make it go further (it's probably also to disguise the veg if you have a vege-phobe in the family!). I added the mince into pots with a few boiled baby potatoes and had it for lunch for a week. It was lovely but - look away now if you're eating - after tucking into it on the first day I noticed that the mince wasn't as good a quality as I'd thought and there were nuggets of fat and gristly bits. Eurgh.

I soldiered on as it was all I had for lunches but by the end of the week I was feeling a little ill.

A couple of weeks later I decided to make it again but I had the brilliant idea that I could swap the meat for Quorn. I tend to swap cold meats for Quorn slices as the thought of sliced meat gives me the heeby-jeebies sometimes, so I thought that it was a pretty safe bet that I'd like the mince even though I've never had it before.

I'd also had some celeriac mash at the dinner with my family the other week and thought it was quite nice so I decided to make the mince with a celeriac and sweet potato mash. I've also seen a lot of recipes on Pinterest about cauliflower mash. Now, I've never been fond of cauliflower. In fact I've been known to call it the 'Devil's vegetable' because I hate it so much but, as it's been a few years since I 'd last tried it I decided to be try it in the mash - thinking the taste would be disguised by the other vegetables.

I followed the recipe, just adding the Quorn mince instead of 'real' mince and blended the celeriac, sweet potato and cauliflower in a separate bowl after boiling. I tasted a bit of each and they tasted quite nice so I happily dished up the food into pots ready for lunches.

I was quite excited the next day to eat my lunch and was feeling rather pleased with myself...
...That was until I started to eat it.
I managed to choke down two mouthfuls but that was all.

The mince tasted like cardboard and the mash was bland. And it had lumps of cauliflower as A: I don't think I'd cooked it for long enough and B: that meant it didn't blend well.
I threw the rest away.

Now it left me with a problem. I hated the food but the Quorn was more expensive than even the extra lean meat that I could have bought - particularly as I bought two packets. So I was left with food we couldn't eat and I felt too guilty to throw away.

The yellow arrows mark all the pots I had!
In the end I had to admit defeat. I was so disappointed.

How about you guys? Any disasters with cooking experiments?

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